Some weeks ago, I was tagged on Twitter, in a question about design and COVID-19 and the future. Design is another interest of mine — in particular, design as a force for answering questions and making choices. And since I tend to frame things within historical contexts, I’ve been turning it all over in my head since then.
The summer of 1927 had been the peak of drama for Lady Bledzo. As part of her very public lawsuit against ex-fiance Darby Day, Jr., she had appeared in national newspapers. She garnered the support of sympathetic and powerful media. She had provided letters, photos of injuries, and compelling and dramatic testimony about abuse. Lady Bledzo had given it her all.
And yet it failed utterly.
Content warning: This post discusses domestic violence. It includes photos, discussion, and depictions of physical abuse.
The first half of 1926 was mostly thorns, few roses for Lady Bledzo. In just four short months, her boyfriend (and chief funder) “Yellow Kid” Weil went to prison; she was attacked by his wife; she moved from hotel to hotel; and her face was cut up in a car crash.
Whatever Lady Bledzo was trying to achieve in life, this was probably not it.
Just trying to hold it all together.
In early February, when All This began pulling its long shadow over our lives, I joked to my husband that I might be particularly well-equipped to handle the situation.
I’m a homebody by nature. All my hobbies are domestic, or can be done at home. I can already make bread or provide a decent chicken soup for the invalid. And I’ve read plenty about the influenza epidemic of 1918. I was made for this, I told him. We both laughed.
Poised on a spare desk in the Chicago Avenue Police Station, Lady Bledzo didn’t look like she’d just come from a fight. In her crisp white suit and jaunty tie, with a fur across her lap, she looked like she was ready to go shopping.
But excursions to Wieboldt’s or anywhere else would wait.
There had been a fight, right on the sidewalk, and now there were reporters eager to hear her side of things. Lady Bledzo posed for photos and smiled at their questions.
She was happy to oblige.