postcards

George Washington’s profile pasted to the corner of the cards says 1 cent , or in some cases 2 cents . He’s red or he’s green and he remains stern , or perhaps it is better said as stalwart and strong , in a one-dimensional way. Sorry , George .

I’ve been processing World War postcards . Some are scrawled with messages and some are blank . My mind wanders as I write descriptions of the cards and scan them into the data bank for the museum .

I have begun to wonder who these people are . I might say , rather , who they were , but for the moments I am with the cards I feel a little like a peeping Tom , watching when I shouldn’t be . None of my business .

I wonder how Gladis Hitchcock in Allegheny , N.Y. , felt when she read the card back in July of 1918 . Was she steamed or did she laugh ? Did she feel sorry for the poor dope who wrote :

How are you today . I am in Cuba today. There are lots of girls up here . It doesn’t take long to get acquainted . XXXX   Guess who its from . “

Another card has a photograph of a soldier and a girl hugging . She gazes at him lovingly . His rifle leans against a log . He wears a wide-brimmed campaign hat of the era . Printed words on the card say : I Believe In Being Well-Armed . 

Lots of the cards have sappy poems printed on the front .

When you’re on guard / and campfires burn / I’ll guard my heart / ‘Till your return .

Mrs. Ethel M. Howe , of Penacock , NH , gets a mere   ” best regards ” . Better than nothing , I guess .

One soldier writes : ” I guess you have a nice fellow to take you home from church now .” I see him over in France , perhaps , writing the forlorn note to his girl , and  wondering how things are at home , and worrying . But he wrote her , and he revealed his feelings , after all . Maybe she got the message , and I only wish the best for them . I think that they married later and had loads of children , and then grandchildren , and great-grandchildren . If he came back from the war, and if she didn’t stick with some other fellow , nice or not .

People were writing one another then , on daffy , melodramatic , romantic , and patriotic postcards . Often the cards were sent General Delivery , with no specified street address . To Jamie O’Grady in Tulsa , Oklahoma . To Mary Swartz in Brooklyn , NY .

And now a few of them wind up in a little museum in Arcadia , CA . Some nosey old guy reads them and inspects them and notes the date , the time of delivery , the cost of the stamp . He reads the scrawled messages and wonders how it all came out in the long run . Did the romances last ? Did she wait for him with love in her heart , or  was it all just a passing passion ?

One soldier writes from a hospital :  It is about time for dinner now . Don’t know what we’ll have yet . Last Sunday we had chicken and ice cream . My arm did not take at all yet and I don’t think it ever will . 

Good luck , soldier ! Don’t give up hope .

8 Comments

Filed under humor

8 responses to “postcards

  1. “I guess you have a nice fellow to take you home from church now.” Sounds like a line from a Hemingway short story, WWI.

  2. It’s like you’re working in a time machine Dan. You can only wonder what became of the people, the moments and the relationships, but it’s interesting to look back. I wonder if in 50 or 60 years, people will be reading our email…I hope not.

  3. DanH, This article is beautiful, and begs to be continued.

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