restricted access 43 Rebirth and Revenge
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237 In my insane desperation and self-pity I scorned the attempts of friends and acquaintances to ease my state of mind. My only excuse is that I was weak and ill from both the mental and physical shock of my experience. A bleak world was before me; life held nothing but misery. Then, into the misery again came Father Dwyer. The good man was born to be a leader. With a wave of his hand he cleared the room, then sat at the side of the bed and took my hand. “Tell me all about it,” he said in his low, kind voice. And I did. I began at the first, in St. Louis. The jumble of events, housed in my brain, poured from a tortured soul. Sometimes I paused from weakness, but he only sat quietly and waited for me to continue. I talked for hours, and related to him most of the incidents in this book, the horror, the fear, and my struggles. I told him of my efforts to make Gus go straight, and often my emotion made me pause. I told him how Gus had always advised me to go to Father Dwyer when I was heavy in spirit, and he only smiled, and the tears gathered in his eyes. My self pity must have been evident. “Dear child,” he said when I had finished, “you should not want to die, for now you are ready to live. “Everyonehasacrosstobearinlife—GusWinkelerwasyours.Now the cross has been removed. You have served your penance. What you havetoldmeisyourreasonforliving,andyoumustfightforlife.Youowe no obligation to God and humanity, for your life is an example of human 43 Rebirth and Revenge 238 al capone and his american boys errors. Your mission should be to teach others. If you could convince only one boy or girl who has dreamed of money, and money alone, that money and power is the least thing in life, then these years in your life were spent for a purpose. “Let me tell you my story,” he continued. And Father Dwyer did tell me his story, his early life, his own trials. He told of the cross he had to bear, and how he finally turned to the robe, that in his experience he might be able to lead others. And as his story was unfolded I realized how pitifully insignificant weremyowntroubles.Iwasconcernedonlywithmyself—FatherDwyer was concerned for all humanity. As he talked I painted a new picture of Georgette Winkeler, a picture of a coward, an unflattering picture in every respect. And when his story was finished late in the day, he talked not to the Georgette Winkeler he had come to visit, but to a new woman born of his wisdom. In the gathering darkness of the room, he turned his face to the last light of the autumn day seeping through the windows, and he said a prayer for me and for the world. When he was gone I shed tears—not the tears of selfishness, but tears of remorse at my own littleness. My emotion passed, I looked with new eyes at my situation. How trivialitallseemed—death,thesyndicate,thecoroner’sjury,clubs,cabarets , casinos, money. The syndicate would get it all, for I would make no effort to stop them. I would live. My life, the thing I had held so cheaply, now was as dear to me as ever. I was not afraid. The coroner’s inquest was being held up pending my recovery. After FatherDwyerleftanofficercamefromthecoroner’soffice,andalthough the doctor had told the nurse not to admit anyone, the officer pushed her aside and entered my room. It was apparent he had been drinking. The other officers in the house had made no effort to bother me. “I’ve come to run these cops out,” he leered confidentially. He started using the telephone and called the various government agencies that had officers in my home. He said the coroner wanted the Rebirth and Revenge 239 men removed. The Lincoln Park police squad, all friends of my husband, objected, but finally were ordered to leave. Left in sole charge, the officer made himself at home and rambled on in aimless conversation. My distaste was so evident the man finally said, “Say, what are you afraid of? You don’t even know who sent me here.” Then he started telling me how well he had known my husband and what a fine fellow he always thought Gus was. Since I was trying my best to forget, his...


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Subject Headings

  • Crime -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 20th century.
  • Murder -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 20th century.
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