Saturday, May 5, 2012

Grey Areas and La Grippe


After the 1909 Monterrey Hurricane.

Well, I do have the first rough draft of my story Diary of a Confirmed Spinster, the follow up to Threshold Girl, about women in 1910 Canada. I printed it out on hard copy and am  now editing it and integrating the Nicholson letters into it..Not an easy job... so maybe I still have a ways to go.

Yesterday, I listened to a BBC radio 4 broadcast of In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, an episode about the Mexican Revolution. Zapata and all that. That program is always excellent and features Bragg and usually three scholars discussing something, anything, everything in the universe and sometimes the universe.

I was hoping they'd mention something about Canadian Industrialists and water works. They didn't.

I also researched opium and Mexico and 1910, to find that in April 1909, the Americans created the Opium Exclusion Act, outlawing the importation of Opium and essentially giving birth to the War on Drugs which would eventually drive up prices and create vast criminal syndicates.

In 1910, Opium was legal in Mexico (and would stay so until 1927, I think). In Canada, as I wrote earlier, in 1910 for about a year, it was only illegal for Chinese, not Whites.

According to one source, most morphine addicts in 1910 were wealthy women (habitues) who no one really worried about. Edith Nicholson wasn't wealthy, but she sure liked her cold medicines. She was always getting a cold. In fact, if there's one theme dominating the 1908-1913 Nicholson Family Letters, it's 'colds' and 'la grippe.'


So anyway, it all fits in nicely to my murder mystery around Edith's fiance Charlie Gagne I am fashioning around the letters from 1910 I have on hand. The one issue, really, is that in early 1911, opium wasn't that expensive, so smuggling it wouldn't make that much money for anyone. But I'll assume there was some money to be made by white men, all 'legally' or in grey areas.