by Annie Amantea Blum
The Mississippi River has historically helped form the United States as a nation. In addition it has been a fascination to many people and especially to those living on its banks. The best place to experience the Mississippi is indeed from a riverboat. The author begins her story with a memoir of her years working on the steamer Admiral, an excursion boat at St. Louis, Missouri. The Admiral was a huge, beautiful all metal boat; not the usual kind, but one of Art Deco design with live bands providing fun and memories for over 35 years. The Admiral was also the master- mind and flagship of an historic family company by the name of 'Streckfus' that ran boats on two major rivers beginning in the 1800s. Using memories and historical data, the author tells the story of the family and especially, the story of how the admiral became the excursion boat she was. "Something on the Admiral seemed pleasing to every sense: the sights of moving river scenes, of other people, of the dancing lights in the city at night plus the sounds of good live music and of the machinery of a living, almost breathing steamboat..."