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Friday, September 3, 2010

Old Postcard Mysteries and Memories

Everything about old postcards fascinates me. I love being transported to bygone days by looking at scenes and messages, judging era by the price of a stamp when a postmark is illegible. Here are five from a handful I bought recently. No one ever mailed the postcard of the North Star; however, someone wrote on (signed?) the back:
Dewey Tofson
“North Star”

Are we looking at a bit of the Pictured Rocks in the background? Someone who knew the boat and/or the pilot might be able to shed light on this mystery.

Never mailed or written on at all, my second example today is a group portrait that includes animals and dolls but has no identifying caption. One woman is singled out with an X. Did she intend to mail this picture to someone? Who are these people? Don’t you want to know?

Postcards 3 and 5 might jog a few vacation memories, first an aerial view of Elk Rapids (perhaps the plane landed at Torchport after taking this shot, Gerry), then a happy beach scene at Idlewild. Were you there?

Lastly, a hand-tinted photo on a corner of what was then called the “Asylum Grounds” in Traverse City. A well-behaved dog sits patiently on the bank of the creek. “Down where the little Fishes grow,” reads the caption on the front, and there’s a note on the back from Mollie in Cedar (postmark) to friend (or sister?) Minnie in Provement (now Lake Leelanau), mentioning Traverse City, Kingsley and Leland in her message. The date looks like 1911.

Relatives of yours? Family stories handed down? Can you connect your life to any of these postcards or shed light on their mysteries? Or maybe, like me, you just love the mysteries that old postcards hold.


Anonymous said...

My dad collected old postcards for a while. I think he was as fascinated as you are about them. Our little restaurant in town (The Nite Owl) displays some of them beneath the glass table cloths. I love coming across old photos of the towns I have lived in (especially Yale) and imagining what it was like Back Then.

P. J. Grath said...

I'm not a serious "collector" but have a few unorganized boxes, all treasures to me.

Anonymous said...

Gotta watch this stuff. Next thing you know you'll be up to your eyebrows in old Census data and maps, traipsing around cemeteries with a notebook. It's addictive.

That ER photo must be post-1953, because that looks like the "new" US31--but I'm bad at aerial views.

P. J. Grath said...

Oh, Gerry, sometime we must have a conversation about my time spent working in the regional (southwest Michigan) archives at Western Michigan University. Tax rolls, census rolls, agricultural census rolls, plat maps--the whole, glorious nine yards! And then there were the country cemeteries I was inspired to seek out....

Anonymous said...

Yes we must have that conversation! Yes indeed.