I have always enjoyed looking at my grandmother’s collection of vintage postcards. It is such a charming collection. Some of the cards were posted, and have short messages, stamps and addresses. Others were purchased and never used, or were perhaps received in exchanges with girlfriends. Fortunately, my grandfather saved many cards he received, too, and my collector grandmother took charge of these, as well. In the past, I’ve been more attracted to the fronts of the cards. Many are colorful, pretty, cute or funny; and some are black and white photo cards of towns, parks or monuments.
Of course, I’ve always loved the cards celebrating the holidays such as the Valentine’s Day card above. My mother and I have long enjoyed using cards in sentimental displays in our homes and in my tea shop. Recently, I have begun scanning the collection into my computer, and the project is taking more time than I thought it might because I have to look at every detail! While I certainly enjoy the front of each card, I now find myself really looking closely at the back of each. There are fascinating clues there; stamps, address, messages, cancellation dates. All bits of information are now part of our family history. In some cases the information on the postcards has helped my mother with her family geneology research.
The image above is the back of the postcard shown previously. One thing I love about the scanning process is how much more can be seen in a good quality scan. The message written in pencil was so difficult to read before and now I can see the sender actually went over the address in ink to make it more readable. The whole thing touches my heart and makes me smile. Look at the address! The card was sent to my grandfather, Johnnie Shotwell, and is simply addressed, “Port Angeles, Wash.” It was posted on St. Valentine’s Day in 1908 to Grandpa who would have been 5 1/2 at the time. The sender was very likely one of Grandpa’s older sisters, perhaps my Great Aunt Rose. I don’t imagine there was more than one post office in Port Angeles at the time, and it was probably pretty exciting to have the post master retrieve a little packet of mail from a pigeon hole. How delighted Grandpa must have been to receive mail of his own and to read, or be read, the message: “Dear Johnnie, May this clown carry all good wishes to you.” How thoughtful of the sender to take the time to send a greeting to a little boy. How fortunate we are to have such treasures. : )
Happy Valentine’s Day to you! May you be the recipient of sweet greetings in your mailbox, too.