Friday, April 29, 2011

Stick out Your Tongue

I don't know who they are or where they are, but these children make me smile all the same.
Based on the stamp box on the back of the card, this photo would have been taken between 1904 and 1918.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Navy - Close Quarters

Oh, and what a message on the back!

The message to Giles D. Ahart reads:

July 30, '09
Dear Scrubby: -
You owe me a card but I will write you this one. You hav'nt got to write if you feel so much above anyone else.
Solong. Ducket

I don't know anything about Giles D. Ahart's life, but I do know that he was born in 1886 and died in 1967. He was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Spencer, New York.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Greetings From South Dakota

There's lots to see in South Dakota, including the beautiful scenery of the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore Memorial. And then there's the world's only Corn Palace. You'd think you were in Morocco, except for all of the American flags. What is a corn palace anyway? Well, it's an agricultural extravaganza of sorts, a tribute to corn. The whole place is decorated with  thirteen different colors of corn and redecorated every year based on a new theme.

If you visit in August, you can attend Corn Palace Festival, and if you visit in September, you can attend the Polka Festival. The local high school also holds its prom here, and there are graduation ceremonies and basketball games as well. What's even more noteworthy is that the Corn Palace has been in Mitchell, South Dakota since 1892.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Post Offices

I guess the days of monumental post offices are gone, as the U.S. Postal Service looks at closing 2,000 branches nationwide.  By the way,  in case you didn't notice, the cost of sending a postcard went up by a penny a few weeks ago. The rate is now 29 cents.  The cost to mail a one-ounce letter did not go up, and remains at 44 cents.
Here are some classic and monumental post offices.

And here's a not-so-classic mailbox in Portland, Oregon decorated by renegade artists:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Royal Engagements

There's a royal wedding that everyone's talking about, and there are souvenirs to be bought - from teabags to refrigerators! I am guessing that the souvenirs were a little more tasteful when H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten were engaged in 1946 - tea sets, candy dishes and what not. Here's the happy couple.

If I had been there at the time to edit this card, I would have suggested that they spell out Royal Navy or leave it off entirely. To me, R.N. always means registered nurse. Google agrees with me on this.

In 1981, Prince Charles and Lady Diana announced their engagement. Among other things, it was a souvenir bonanza.  Time magazine featured a picture of a coffee mug with Prince Charles' face on it and his ear as the handle. For some unknown reason I had to have one, so I enlisted the help of my brother who was studying at the London School of Economics. (I think my words were: "Get me one of those!") He claims to have walked all over London in search of this elusive prize. In fact he made it sound like a real chore, but as we all know it's good for a person to get up and walk a bit when he's been sitting at a desk for a long time. And don't you think it was worth it?

There's a verse on the back of the mug that reads:
Whatever beverage brims in this cup 
Thank God and Prince Charles when you pick it up. 
And as you quaff it bless that same Grand Planner 
Who gave him for a bride the fair Diana.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Carlos Dunkl

Recently I received a very nice email from Albrecht in Germany, wondering if he could send me a postcard to add to my collection. It's a postcard of the Viennese Parliament sent to Santiago, Spain in 1939, at the end of the Spanish Civil War, with a military censorship stamp. But what really struck me was the name of the card's recipient, Carlos Dunkl, aka Karl Dunkl...or was it supposed to be Dunkel?

Rudolf's message  in German wishes Carlos/Karl a right happy Easter, and discusses a package of books that was sent to him earlier, asking whether or not he had to pay duty on them.
The name of the recipient struck me because my great grandfather's name was Carl Dunkel. It took me by surprise, but as far as I know my great grandfather didn't spend any time in Spain. Here he is in Würzburg, Germany in the early 1940s. He was retired at this point, but had previously been Kriminal Kommissar (detective) in Berlin.  He does look a little bit like the German counterpart of Hercule Poirot, doesn't he?

This is not the first time Carl Dunkel has had a doppelgänger.  At one point, people he didn't know were greeting him on the street, but greeting him as someone else by a different name. Finally, he stopped one of these people and asked who they thought he was. I guess it must have been his natural instinct as a detective to track the other man down.  He knocked on the man's door and when the door was opened, both men were purportedly astonished at how much they resembled one another. Carl Dunkel was born in 1871 and died in Würzburg in 1953.

There are no doppelgängers over at Sepia Saturday, but you might find some rabbits.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The City of Algiers

Algiers was occupied by the French in 1830.  As French and other European settlers moved in, the city became two separate entities within one - the traditional Arab city on the hill and the European city below. In the 1930s, French architect Le Corbusier drew up plans for a redesign of Algiers, of which he said: “Here is the new Algiers. Instead of the leprous sore which had sullied the gulf and the slopes of the Sael, here stands architecture…architecture is the masterly, correct, and magnificent play of shapes in the light.” His plan was never implemented, but Brian Ackley has written an interesting article about the plans, entitled Blocking the Casbah: Le Corbusier’s Algerian Fantasy.

On March 26, 1962, at the end of the Algerian War, the street shown above became the scene of bloody riots when French soldiers opened fire on French colonists demonstrating against the French government. So many atrocities took place during the Algerian War.

Here's another view down at the docks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Bunny - See No Evil

Although I have a wide variety of Easter cards, I have a number of them that have a nearly identical Easter Bunny. In a few cases, girls are covering the rabbit's eyes. I don't know why.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Start Drinking

Most postcards that feature the inebriated also include a streetlight. There's often a moon too, but not in this case.

Then there's the guy who just soaks it up in the barrel. By the way, don't try this at home or anywhere else. There are reports of people dying from the fumes after going in to clean out empty brandy vats.

And then there's the guy in Portland, Oregon - did he die or just lose interest in drinking? He saved a whole lot of drink chips from the 60s and 70s from all kinds of taverns in Portland, most of which are not around anymore.  I bought these for 25 cents at a garage sale in a plastic Cool Whip tub with "Dick's Chips" written on the top in felt pen. It's part of Portland's history.

Here are some of the names of the old Portland taverns, in case you can't read them off the scan:
The Boondox Tavern, Y-Not Tavern, Mary Jo's, Little Apple Tavern, Ace Tavern, Spur Tavern, B&I Tavern, Spanish Inn, Hal & Thelma's, Hals' Tavern (uh-oh, what happened to Thelma?),  Pal's Shanty (still there!), The Table, Happy Days Tavern, Pakana, Picadilly Inn, Hour-Glass Tavern, Game Cock Tavern,  Hole in the Wall, Punjab Tavern, Hook & Ladder, Seahorse Tavern, Big Wheel, Snoopy's Tavern, Etc. Tavern, Red Star Tavern, Jakes' Paris Mugs, Tiny's Cafe, Side Show, and the Sandy Jug.

The Sandy Jug is still there, but it is now called the Pirate's Cove.  People still refer to it as the Sandy Jug, because it's on Sandy Blvd, it's shaped like a jug, and it's been there since the 1920s.  Here's what it looks like.
 Photo courtesy of Por Stanton.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Birthday

If today is your birthday, don't worry about paying your taxes. I'm sure the IRS will understand.

The message on the last card, sent to Lydia Spies, reads:

Dear Lydia
May Years be made of Sunny Days, 
And Lifes own sky be blue,
With friendship shedding full its rays on all your dreams come tue
from your friend
Caroline Plath   ...presumably no relation to Sylvia Plath

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Importance of Camels in Everyday Life

If you have never experienced Frankfurt, Germany's train station post-global-warming, you may not have seen the camels, elephants, water buffalo, and palm trees. Frankfurt is much more exotic than you may think. Watch for falling coconuts when you board the train.
I have been carrying this postcard, by collage artist Claudia Katz-Palme, around for years. Originally I probably intended to send it to someone, but then I couldn't part with it.  Is it because of the camels? I don't know.  But this is not the first time I have had trouble letting go of a camel.

Some years ago  I went to an auction in Watsonville, California when a department store was liquidating its store fixtures. I intended to look, but not buy.  That's right, I didn't go there thinking I might buy a camel. But then I saw this face...
Before I knew it, the camel and a number of other things were mine. Paying for them was relatively easy, but there was the unanticipated issue of transporting them. Luckily, a friend offered the use of a pickup truck with a camper shell. We arrived that evening to collect the camel (and other treasures), and packed everything except the camel itself into the truck. With camel tied securely to the top of the camper shell, we proceeded down the coast on Highway 1 towards Carmel - like a Viking ship with a majestic hood ornament.

Actually, I followed in my non-majestic tiny car to keep an eye on the camel. I continued to keep an eye on the camel through the evening fog, even as he launched into the air, momentarily weightless, before bouncing off the front of my car and landing in the middle of Highway 1. He stopped traffic in both directions. One of his ears was in the ditch. His plaster and papier mache face was also severely injured.  He had a red stripe across his side from the paint of my car.

Several home-schooled surgeries later, and he was looking much better. In the meantime, the camel has moved with me a number of times, always taking up a disproportionate share of the moving van. He has also been in a couple of parades after we attached wheels to the base. Most of the time, though, he was just taking up space and preventing a car from being parked in the garage. Over the years there arose a certain amount of resentment between the architect who steals my covers and the camel who takes up the garage.

My dear dromedary now has a new home with the Northwest Children's Theater.

For an adventurous ride, saddle up your camel and join the herd at Sepia Saturday.

The Camel by Ogden Nash
The camel has a single hump;
The dromedary , two;
Or else the other way around.
I'm never sure. Are you?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easter Escapades

I decided to post this extra card on a whim, because of the similarity to a card that Mark just posted at Postcard Roundup. The clothing on the boys is very similar on both cards, as is the style of the trees. Was it painted by the same artist? The boys on his card look sweet and good-natured; mine look like trouble.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Although this card is from about 1910, the photo is probably from thirty years earlier. There is still a market here - and also a skating rink. Unfortunately, there's no Google street view to show you what it looks like now, but if you want to see what's happening at Springer Market Square right this minute, you can look at their webcam. The first time I looked, they had set up an ice skating rink and you could see people skating around, but it looks as if that has been dismantled now.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

To Nettie Bee from Fife

Nettie Bee and her family lived in the Rosemount Buildings in Edinburgh, Scotland,  and sent and received some of the loveliest postcards.

The message on the back of the card, sent  to Nettie Bee from Fife in 1919, reads:
Dear Nettie, This is just a lovely spot + no need to walk far. Only I don't see much hope of any one nice to blick all  ____?_  compri: excuse the spelling, it's only the strong air. Hoping for  a letter from home tomorrow.  Love to All,  Yours,  _____

Click here to see lots more cards to and from the Bee family.

Easter Chicks

I think I have enough Easter postcards to start a separate Easter postcard blog. (Don't worry, I won't) Here are some postcards featuring chicks. See if you can spot the misspelling.

And here's the back of the second card.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Make Your Own Postcard

I recently received these postcards and several other beautiful pieces of mail art from Susanna Lakner in Germany.  These are some of her fascinating original designs.

Her cards reminded me that National Postcard Week (May 1-7) is just around the corner. Although you don't need to be as talented as Susanna to participate, you do need to be dedicated enough to produce and send about 150 postcards of your own creation.  It's actually pretty easy. The card can be based on a photograph, a drawing  - whatever you like - and there are lots of printing services that can print your postcard for you. You email them your design and they send you a box of cards.

Then, you have your name added to the directory, so all the other people can send you their postcards. You can find more information at And if you don't want to make that kind of a commitment, you can always just have a dozen or two printed and send them to friends and family.

Monday, April 11, 2011

National Library Week

National Library Week is an annual celebration of the contribution of our nation's libraries and librarians.  Celebrate libraries every day, but especially during the week of April 10-16, 2011.

Not all libraries are beautiful, but they all have books.


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