August 31, 1912
To: An Entire City Block
From: Jane and Fred
Entering the Champs [illegible]. Views beautiful. High spirits. Low cash.
I’ve tried holding cars outside by hand. I’ve tried photographing on a white sheet of paper. I’ve tried gray backgrounds. Wood backgrounds. But I think this flat back works best. What do you think?
August 23, 1908
Hello Margery: Hope you will know these homely kids. I haven’t any thing better to send. Please accept it with my love. Ira.
Even Hawkeye likes to deliver postcards. Here’s a replace Pantone card for one I sent to Ohio that looked like it was dragged there on the back of a mule. Plus there are vintage cars from Nashville and Expo 67.
May 26, 1909
Hello, Bell. How are you? Am well, only a bit lonesome you know. Saw [Emil] go by today. Might be down Sunday. Answer please. Theresa.
Postcard: Lovers in the moonlight
As you remember, Emil wondered why Bell didn’t come watch him play baseball the Saturday before and sent a pouting postcard on Tuesday. Then he did what every red-hot suitor does: he got Bell’s friend to intervene.
In this installment of our postcard love story, Emil gets Bell’s friend Theresa to write a note the next day mentioning she saw Emil and using the words “a bit lonesome.”
May 25, 1909
Hello, Belle. I surely thought I would see you at the ball game. I don’t think I will play anymore because the game broke up in a row Sunday. I am going home Sat. morning but will be back Sunday. May be down Sunday-eve. I’ll bet you was pretty tired after that dance. Sincerely, Emil
Postcard: “I’ll be waiting for you.”
Our story picks up on a postcard Emil wrote on a Tuesday. Bell (which he spells Belle this time) hasn’t come to watch Emil play baseball the past Sunday. And he’s disappointed. Look at the little jealousy coming out when he mentions the dance. Also note, this card was sent two weeks after Bell sent Emil the spooning card and saying she was having a good time.
Might there be other boys? We’ll find out soon. One more thing…why do you suppose he wrote the letter upside-down?
Our story starts in 1909 with the courtship of Bell, age 15, and Emil, age 19. The lovebirds live approx. 10 miles apart in a mining area of northern Michigan. That’s a long distance at a time when there were very few cars and most transportation happened with horses.
As the story unfolds over their 3-year romance, we’ll see the frisky cards of the Edwardian Era. The message on the front – the selection of the postcard itself – is sometimes as important as the messages they write to each other. We’ll see them wooing. Being jealous. And filling their cards with innuendo.
I blanked out their family names. I struggled with this decision, but decided the family names didn’t advance the story.
Let’s get started.
May 7, 1909
Emil, I’m having a good time. -Bell
Postcard: “Spooner’s Delight. Oh Sweetheart t’would be fine to cuddle you, If you only would tell me that you’d like it too.”