Throwback Thursday: Miss Rheingold

“I remember running from store to store, grabbing as many ballots as I could. In the neighborhood there sure wasn’t talk about the election for mayor or governor … but when it came to the Miss Rheingold Contest, everybody was involved. The talk was all about it. Everybody talked about it … and everybody voted.”
— John Corrado, resident of East Harlem, New York City during the 1940s and 1950s. As quoted by
Will Anderson in his book, From Beer to Eternity

The voting every year for Miss Rheingold was a huge event in Brooklyn
– in all the five boroughs in fact. It is said that more people voted for Miss Rheingold than any elections other than the presidential ones. Kids couldn’t wait until their moms had to go to the corner grocery so that they could vote . . .and vote . . . and vote. Some folks used up whole pads of voting slips to cast for their faves.

If memory serves the Miss Rheingold Contest always came at the start of baseball season. My cousin Linda and I would go to the store with my Aunt Mildred and stare hopelessly at the beautiful pale and mostly blond girls whose pristine purity was on display. No hope for us . . . or Italian girls, or blacks, or Puerto Ricans. Jinx Falconburg, a Spaniard and probably the most ethnic-looking of the Ms. Rheingolds, was the only one who held out some sort of hope (however false) to the boroughs’ browns and olives. Blacks and Asians were S.O.L.

The Rheingold contestants were always modest. They were rigorously vetted.It could just be me, but I don’t remember ever seeing a Miss Rheingold pictured with a can or glass of beer.

The contest ran from 1941 – 1964, so anyone from our region who came of age during that period will remember this event, some with more pleasure than others. The contest was genius marketing: I’ve read that for much of this period, Rheingold held a 35% market share. I couldn’t tell you what the beer was like.  I was too young to drink then. In any case, I’m a lifelong teetotaler.

The Miss Rheingold Contest evolved over time, originating from a print salesman’s marketing ploy. He showed the Rheingold folks some sample material that happened to have Falkenburg pictured. She became the first Miss Rheingold. Subsequently Miss Rheingolds were selected by a vote of the retailers. Ultimately contest voting was opened to the public.

There were lots of perks and benefits to be derived from winning, so there were thousands of applicants including Grace Kelley (she didn’t make the cut), Hope Lange (a finalist), and Tippi Hedren (a finalist). The  six finalists (selected by the entertainment industry, Tony Randell was one of the judges) were worked hard, paraded around town for every event (with chaperon) and the winners, of course, had lots more of the same. 1964’s winner was host at the Rheingold Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, which happened to be the site nd occasion of my very first date. (My mother chaperoned. Boy, haven’t times changed?)

Eventually the Rheingold company recognized that it had a diverse customer base. Hence, in the early sixties, it purchased advertising on the short-lived Nat King Cole Show. It used black, Hispanic and Asian actors in its ads, among the better known was Jackie Robinson. (Rheingold was the official beer of the NY Mets. Robinson, who broke the racial barrier in baseball played mostly for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Cleveland Indians, retired from baseball in 1954.) Because of this recognition, the Miss Rheingold contest ended in 1964. The concern was that blacks and Hispanics would be offended by the continued parade of six fair candidates every year, while whites would be offended by the entry of blacks and Hispanics into the contest.

In 1976 the company, no longer able to compete with the larger conglomerates, closed. In 1998, when the Rheingold label was revived by  Mitaro’s Rheingold Brewing Company LLC, the contest was reinstated. A new breed of contestant emerged. Consistent with the times, they were unabashedly bare-armed, tattooed, pierced, and had six-pack abs.

Thirteen bartenders entered the fray in 2003. Kate Duyn(27 at that time) won. The Village Voice declared the contest “the best marketing campaign co-opting hipster drinking habits.” The company was sold in 2005 to Drinks America in Connecticut. To my knowledge, there are no longer any Miss Rheingold contests.

2003 Miss Rheingold, Kate Duyn.

The Rheingold Bewing Company was headquartered in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.

© 2008, article, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Public domain photograph of Jinx Falconburg (January 21 1919/Barcelona, Spain – August 27, 2003/Manhasset, NY, USA), the first Miss Reingold, from the April 27, 1947 issue of Yank, The Army Weekly; The 1964 World’s Fair poster for Rheingold via eBay auction; Miss Reingold 1949 illustration is in the public domain; 2003 Miss Rheingold, Kate, Duyn, copyright holder might be Mitaro’s or Drinks America.

feast days of the heart

IMG_6835the gentle coasting of a blue dragonfly, and
this, the pulsing peace of a quiet afternoon,
Bach on the radio, dinner simmering
on the stove of my tranquility, my day
chasing night, my night chasing day,
rhythms caressing my face, love-bites
on the leg of my being, heart beating
at one with the ocean sighs and
only gratitude for the gift of life,
no more scandalized by the news of
death, baptism into heaven, whatever
that may be, but the reports center on
Kiev, Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan –
easy to foment flash-points for horror

easier to forget just how sweet it is
to breath with the sun and grow
with the cypress bending by the shore,
obeisance to the seas and sky and
living on the edge of Eternity: time to
give it up, give up strife for Lent, only
celebrate resurrections with steaming
sweet greens, scented with onion,
over shared bowls of rice, knowing the
ground of being* is a feast-day of the heart
stirred by the breeze of Spirit winging

– Jamie Dedes

* “being” as in Tillich’s third role of being: Christ manifesting as the “New Being,” the acutalization of the work of the Holy Spirit (as I understand it and I’m not a student of theology or divinity except in a most casual auto-didactic sense)

Excerpted from Issue 4 of The BeZine

To read the work of other writers and poets link HERE.

© 2014 poem, 2015, photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

The Be Zine, Volume 1, Issue 4, Table of Contents with Links


BE inspired … BE creative … BE peace … BE

Volume 1, Issue 4

a publication of Beguine Again and The Bardo Group

Biographies of our Core Team and our Guest Contributors are HERE.


Flower illustrations for this month’s header and table of contents page © 2015, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


The inspiration for this month’s theme is the Christian celebration of Lent, which involves a tradition of fasting and that in turn evolved into “Abundance or Lack of Abundance.”

You’ll find that our contributors have broadened the idea of fasting and also pulled out childhood memories to lend depth to their work.  Our lead pieces include features by Imen Benyoub on fasting in the tradition of Islam; Priscilla Gallaso, who looks to nature for wisdom; and Corina Ravenscraft who offers some ways to assist the hungry.

Included among those poets offering theme-related poems are Myra Schneider, Charles W. Martin and Joseph Hesch.

February is the month of romantic love and we’ve had some fun with it. Not to be missed is Karen Fayeth’s tale, Waiting for Betty. More than a few folks may find their funny bones tickled by because love poems are elegies and everyone will be moved by Imen’s sweetly romantic  poem, Stangers Meet.

Not least of this month’s treasures are Liliana Negoi’s Little Accidents, a morality tale; Joe Hesch’s poems; Ruth Jewell’s homage to the New Testament scholar, Marcus Borg; and Naomi Baltuck’s touching photo story commemorating the liberation of the prisoners at Auschwitz and her Drive-by in Detroit.  All this under General Interest.

Thanks for joining us here and for your stalwart support as readers, contributors and advisors.

Many blessings,

Jamie Dedes



The work done to publish this magazine and the work contributed is on a volunteer basis.  The ads you see are WordPress ads, not our ads. This is a labor of love and part of our individual and group effort toward peace through understanding the human condition in its beautiful diversity.  We hope that if you enjoy this Zine and benefit from it you will think of making a donation to one of your favorite causes.

This month we are sharing/suggesting a cause that has come to our attention and touched our hearts. It involves one small boy. If you are able and willing to assist, please let us know by email and we will pass your message on to the appropriate person. (

This special request for help comes from a loyal reader (some of you know him), Shakti Ghosal (ESGEE musing, I muse …. as I seek inner peace through Gratitude, Learning and Beauty), who also contributed to this effort when we were just getting started. Shakti is an executive who lives and works in Oman.

“This request comes from my sister-in-law whose husband died of cancer. Since that time, she has worked at helping those suffering from this horrible disease.  Now she writes on behalf of a father who is trying to save his five-year-old son’s life, Shivom, a bright little boy who is suffering from Burkitt’s Lymphoma since November 2014.

“The boy is undergoing treatment (intravenous chemotherapy) in Thakurpukur Cancer Hospital [India] since diagnosis.
The cost estimate given by the hospital is around INR 4 lacs. However, his father is not in a position to arrange the amount by himself.”

Our theme this month:



A  Celebration of Romantic Love:




“Abundance or Lack of Abundance”

Lead Features

Ego, Redundancy, Fasting and Abundance ~ Spiritual Lessons from Nature, Priscilla Galasso

The Month of Light: Fasting in Islam, Imen Benyoub

Bread as the face of God, Corina Ravenscraft


Oranges, Myra Schneider

Feast or Famine, Charles W. Martin

Feast Days of the Heart, Jamie Dedes

dealer’s choice, Charles W. Martin

Going Fast, Joseph Hesch




Waiting for Betty, Karen Fayeth


Strangers We Meet, Imen Benyoub

A Portrait in February, Jamie Dedes

because love poems are elegies, Jamie Dedes


Feature Articles

Marcus Borg . . . and gratitude for our teachers, Ruth Jewell

Flash Fiction

Little Accidents, Lilliana Negoi


Crunch Time, Joseph Hesch

A Natural Talent, Joseph Hesch

Photo Stories

Depth Perception: 70th Anniversary of Auschwitz, Naomi Baltuck

Drive-by Shooting in Detroit, Naomi Baltuck

Volume 1, Issue 1, November 2014

Volume 1, Issue 2, December 2014

Volume1`, Issue 3, January 2015

Finding Spirit in Flowers

“When I studied a spiritual form of flower arrangement called Ikebana-Sangetsu, I found I was discovering the connection between all life. I was inspired to create this visual contemplation on the power of flowers to lead you directly into the compassion that underlies the web of connection.” This story “Living Beauty” can be found in Pamela Bloom’s 
The Power of Compassion: Stories that Open the Heart, Heal the Soul, and Change the World (Hampton Roads, 2010).

A rose captured during a rare rainy evening in Central Park, San Mateo, California
A rose captured during a rare rainy evening in Central Park, San Mateo, California (c) 2014, Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day), All rights reserved

“It is important to develop and uplift human consciousness through beauty. For that purpose, I would like to encourage people to place flowers everywhere, as the best means of promoting the love of beauty.” Meishu-sama