My father was a prolific pack-rat, but he was not a hoarder in the popular sense of the word. When he wasn’t designing and building bridges and highways, he was collecting antiques and vintage stuff to sell. He actually sold tons of antiques–earning supplemental income. The problem was that the intake of fresh inventory far outstripped sales of the balance of old inventory.
A few years ago, I arranged to liquidate dad’s estate. There was a large auction that required the entire gymnasium floor of Wayne, Nebraska’s National Guard Armory. We sold probably 98-percent of his things, not including real estate property. The other two percent of stuff did not spark the interest of buyers, so my sister and I divided it up and claimed it.
Some of what remained were paper goods like photo albums, maps, books, magazines, and postcards. My sister did not want want to bring home most of the paper because she lives in a studio apartment and is short on storage space. Meantime, I haven’t had a lot of time to shuffle old paper. There are a couple of leftover, small boxes filled with miscellaneous postcards that I added to supplement the postcard collection I started as a teen.
This week, I decided to look through one of dad’s boxes of postcards that he had acquired over the years. There are the usual assortment of tourist “evidence” cards plus plain cards saved because the messages are of families’ importance. Part way through the stack, is a small stash of cards from World War Two. I separated them in order to examine them very closely. I’ll share the most interesting cards in this post.
The B-17 formation card was postmarked March 7, 1942 from Fort Pickett, Virginia. There’s a short note of sympathy about the passing away of a great aunt. The card was sent by a then recent recruit named Keith and was received by his family in Delphos, Kansas.
The color illustration of a “Flying Fortress” was postmarked before U.S. entry into the war, June 9, 1941 from Pendleton, California. A young soldier named Darol wrote to his parents in Norden, Nebraska. He was “just keeping in touch with friends and family”.
The aerial view of Hamburg, Germany is postmarked the 25th of July, 1938 from Hamburg. The message, in German, expressed appreciation for birthday gifts. The sender’s name was scrawled and hard to make out. The recipient was “Frl. Anita Gorsh in Weisbaden, Erbenheim Strasse 15”
The “Gasthaus” postcard was a simple “Hallo” greeting from someone named Georg Hegendorn in Augsburg. The recipient is Axel Trautman who was stationed at Schönwalde near Berlin. The card is postmarked “(smudged day)Juli, 1938 from München.
The card showing Hitler with his inner circle had no message, nor address written on the back. There is the name “Karl” written in a childish scrawl. I assume a young child owned the card.
The Graf Zeppelin flies over Friedrichshafen near Austria and Switzerland. It was postmarked 2nd of August 1935 from Berlin. The sender, Theodor Schäfer apparently was a passenger on the airship for his vacation. The card was addressed to Ewald Weiß who lived in Gelsenkirchen, Westphalia.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the children’s author, Mary E. Pearson. “The world before us is a postcard, and I imagine the story we are writing on it.”
So these weren’t to or from members of your family. How curious! Seems your curiosity about the world is something your dad passed on to you.
Yes, it runs in the family. My paternal grandfather was probably the most curious of us all.