Thursday, August 02, 2007

Really Dead Letter Office
Day 1.
I don't remember where these post cards came from, but I've had them for years. Although the postcard fronts are pretty plain, I've loved looking at them from time to time to re-read the little notes that were sent to a Miss Della Basil of Delta, Iowa. I've mentioned before about how the more things change the more they stay the same. In keeping with that thesis statement; these are fascinating little glimpses into a life I'm sure long forgotten.

The post card notes are interesting because they are so ordinary. Today, with e-mail, I'm sure that I've sent hundreds of these notes with little bits of 'talky talk' information: How are you, say hello to so-and-so, we had fun last night. In fact, most of the post cards in the collection are just notes thanking Della for writing a note. I was also struck by the how the structure of the post card writing hasn't changed for a hundred years; Start in the body, if you run out of space, go back to the top, if you still have more to write, start on the border of the card. I'll try to transcribe what I can of the post card notes, but people had some damn fancy writing back then.

There are several postcards, so rather than sweat to death in my kitchen (no air in here) I'll break up this scanning project over the next few days

This photos was in with the collection. I wish I knew which women is Della. It's one of my favorite photos.
Note: I remember every one of these girls by name. Deceased: Mabel, Lulu, Helen (I can't make out the last names)
Postmark August 25, 1908. Dear Della. I just found out that you were home, so will answer your postal I received so long ago. I thought you were still out west and I didn't know your address. Write when you get here. Della. (I'm not sure if there is another Della writing her or if that was a comma, Della.)

Post Mark: Aug 3, 1909
August 3, 1909 - Dear Aunt received your card a few days ago was glad to hear from you. How is Grace and Helorice? Was up to Delta yesterday. How do you like the country out there? I've been having some fine times. Now write soon and tell me how you are.
From Myrtle.

August 13, 1909
Dear Della, Received your card the other day, was glad to hear from you. Went to a social last night. Our S.S. class had a real nice time. Am sorry you are not satisfied. You ought to stay, have a good time and get your moneys worth. Grandma said to tell you if you did come soon be sure and bring Deloris home with you. Aunt Rosa said Cora would be too busy to care for her when they were (?) and don't want to leave her with strangers. Will write when I hear from you again. Answer soon. E.D.
August 2, 1909. Today the swastika is so shocking to see outside of being carved on a white supremacist's forehead. But around this time it was considered a good luck symbol. In the old Medina Temple the floor had them placed in the tile. I believe it was built around this time.

As the card says: "The Swastika" is the oldest cross and emblem in the world. It forms a combination of four "L"s, standing for Luck, Light, Love, and Life. It has been found in ancient Rome, excavations of Grecian Cities, on Buddhist idols, on Chinese coins dated 315 B.C. and our own Southwestern Indians use it as an amulet. It is claimed that the Mound Builders and Cliff Dwellers of Mexico, Central America consider the "Swastika" a charm to drive away evil and bring good luck, long life and prosperity to the possessor.

I'm not sure how well that worked out for Hitler... but I never thought there could be a pretty Swastika card.

Hello. How are you this morning. We are all well. Fine weather and good crops. Tell me more how Rose and Bet is getting along. ~ Leo Basil's address. Love to all. W.J.B.
June 19, 1911
Dear Della, Glad to hear you are having such a nice trip and hope you will have a good time all summer. I have not been well for some time. Hardly able to work, but I'm feeling better now. We had company today. Some relatives from Oklahoma. They want me to go home with them. We have been having real fleas and (?) for some time, but did have it very hot. You must be a in a pretty place from looking at the card. Write soon. From Ada.
If anyone else can make out that last line let me know.

Will continue this exciting story soon...


Frankie said...

I love these types of things. Looking forward to more.

About a year ago, I got an email from a lady in PA that I didn't know. I had left my email addy on a genealogy website stating I was searching for my family in a specific place in KS. This lady loved to buy postcards and collections, too, and she had a photo postcard of my great-great aunt and uncle. She mailed it to me. I was very delighted.

I have lots of these goodies, but mine are all family.

Can you imagine sending a postcard for only one penny!

Aaron said...

We found a bunch of old photos from the 40s-50s when we first moved into our old house in 1980. There were lots of photo negatives of this hot blond guy and they were labelled "Franz." It turned out that he was the nephew of Helen, the woman who'd lived there in the 50s, and that he and my uncle used to get drunk in high school together...

I never did ask my uncle if he and Franz ever did any drunken mutual guess, however, is not...