Here’s a postcard from the sleepy little town of Oil City, Pennsylvania – but wait! In the lower right, you can clearly see three ex-convicts in drag preparing to rob the post office- doesn’t seem like that would be a lucrative target, but what do I know; the only thing I have stolen is my wife’s heart. The sender wrote, among other things;
“…Am working hard this summer. No joking, I am working 10 hrs. a day and most of the time with a pick and a shovel at that. It certainly does me good.”
He’s a better man than me, I would be whining like a loose fan belt if I had to use a pick and shovel for 10 yours, in the hot Pennsylvania August sun.
We haven’t been to the beach yet this summer, my mother psyched me out too much when I was a kid, she was so concerned the undertow would drag me out to sea while she was sneaking a Kool behind the restrooms. This is why we joined the Y, nice 4 1/2 foot deep pool, no fish or crabs, no sunburn, and you don’t track sand into the car. I think Elmer would prefer it.
Here’s a postcard from a young man training at Biloxi to (I presume) his girlfriend back home. Or maybe his girl friend. Back then I think a guy could be friends with a girl without complications.
I found it interesting that the post office would mail these letters for free, thus saving a copper penny, for him to drop somewhere, to the delight of a guy with a metal detector years later. It must not have been in the summer, or he would complain that it is “Africa hot” down there.
One of my favorite things about old postcards, the messages written on the back. When it’s not “The weather is nice, this place is beautiful, nyahh nyahh neener neener neener!”
This one someone sent to her mother, apparently they correspond only by mail;
Dear mom- Received your letter. Jim was to tell you about our moving, but your letter didn’t sound as if you knew. I thought he had called both you and Elsie and Frank. We are all packed, moving May 2nd. Will write to you from our new address as soon as I can. Love, Olive & Dale.
Teresa was thinking maybe Olive was mute, or deaf? But what are the odds that Dale was also? Obviously mom had a phone. Maybe they couldn’t afford long distance charges? Maybe Olive picked Oranges for a living?
We are so spoiled today
Sometimes the postcards I collect interest me more from the message written on them than the postcard image. For example, this young lady writes to her friend;
Just a quick note,
early or late, to say
happy birthday. I
hope the sky finds
you well, the train
sings you to sleep,
the whiskey tickles
your throat, & a firm
hand slaps your ass 26
Lots of love, D
Now look, I know this is a tradition in some parts, but isn’t 26 a little old for the “birthday spankings” thing? She’s nobody’s poet.
My name is John, so I know a thing or two about Dear John letters. One time my wife wrote me a John Deere letter, and ran off with a tractor salesman.
This guy made a serious tactical error, sending a postcard from boot camp to his girl back home, that says “From me to you if you’re not true- A ‘Bronx bird song’ from the boy friend.” the illustrated version of himself on the card, giving the girlfriend a very aggressive Bronx Cheer, such that his face turns red, and she is doused with spittle.
My experience is that the ladies don’t care for even inadvertent spittle, so I imagine that she will find this image and the implied distrust to be very offensive.
So my wife says, “Why did this lady take a tiger to the beach?”
I take the postcard and stare at it. “There’s a tiger in this picture?”
That’s when the trouble started.
Most of the text on the back of this postcard, presumably written from the New Bedford, MA. YMCA in February of 1913, reads;
“Did you think I wasn’t going to write- I had a cold and I thought you might get it if I wrote.”
Not sure if he was joking, or maybe just didn’t understand that his cold germs wouldn’t survive a trip to Dodgeville, MA, a distance of 40 miles. I guess it might have made his mailman sick.
Dodgeville does not appear on Google Maps, but there is a Dodgeville Country Store in Attleboro, which features “Rude and snappy ownership”, according to one reviewer. Personally, I like that better than “Friendly and Sedate ownership”, because I have things to do.
I know most people don’t care about my goofy postcard collecting hobby, but it’s a big internet, maybe somebody does. I like the whole “Jackalope” thing that went on in the 30’s, this is a variation on that, cowpokes riding jackrabbits, I guess the mustangs were all in the shop. One thing the sender wrote that I liked;
“Glenn & I will be so fat when we return that you won’t know us. We are being stuffed. I’ll tell you all about it later.”
Yeah, if you manage to escape your jackrabbit overlords.
I don’t see a problem with this. What is a lump of coal, if not an unripe diamond!