Postcard Magic

Today's random mix of RR postcards starts off with this rifle bullet penetrating an apple. Look at the blowback on the right side- the reverse inertia from a ballistic object passing thru softer material at 2,000 feet per second. Pretty cool, huh? The card was sent to "Dr. L. Hensacker" of Ann Arbor, MI, on November 18, 1978 and reads, Dear Laval, Sorry to have been uninformative re: St. Louis. I plan to get in the evening of the 28th so why not book for the 28 and 29th? I hope to leave late on the 30th. You can book for both if us. Happy TG. Jim. Hmmm- cryptic stuff, yes indeed. We wonder what kind of doctor the recipient was; hopefully not an emergency room surgeon, given the number of gunshot wounds those guys look at. We're guessing Dr. Hensacker had a PhD in physics or mechanical engineering and his friend knew this image of velocity vs. mass would be well recieved.

Here's a blast from the past: FLORAL DESIGN, "IN DETROIT LIFE IS WORTH LIVING," GRAND CIRCUS PARK, DETROIT, MICH. The printing on back reads, Detroit, like other progressive cities, has a slogan, which is "In Detroit Life is Worth Living." There is no date or postmark so the exact date is uncertain, but the one penny stamp dates back to the 1940s. Now let's jump ahead to 2008: Grand Circus Park is still there, but the area is known as "skyscraper graveyard" as so many of the adjacent buildings have been abandoned. The slogan expired long ago.

This one has us scratching our heads. The print reads GREETING FROM PORTAGE LAKE, WIS but someone scratched off WIS and wrote PINCKNEY, MICH. The postmark reads Pinckney, MI, and Google says there is no such place as Portage Lake, Wisconsin. So maybe it is Portage Lake on the Huron chain? Perhaps a shot of what is now the DNR boat launch? Sent to Carol Cousino of Toledo, OH, on August 8, 1946, it reads, Hi kid. It's been rather cool!! up here so we haven't been swimming yet. These cards are sharp. They don't even resemble the lake but anyway. Love Pinkie. Ya know, Pinkie has a point: it doesn't resemble Portage Lake. We don't what we're looking at. A mystery of history, this card is.

This card was published by the Hiawatha Card Company in Ypsilanti, MI. THE HUNTER AND HIS DOG- A thrilling and expectant moment in Michigan following Indian Summer and the opening of the bird hunting season reads the small print on the back. Waiting for a bird to emerge from a clump of oak leaves so it can be shot and eaten is obviously an overwhelming thrill for this hunter and his springer spaniel.

Here's another thrilling moment: woman catches big fish. Man grabs tail. Both attempt to row boat with one hand. No doubt they're yelling at one another to let go of the oar and get the damn fish in the boat. Sent to Ford La Noble of Lansing, MI, in July of 1949, the message reads, Dear Ford: Are having a grand time. Have covered most of Minnesota, leave for St. Paul on Thursday. Your carrier certainly has made our trip a lot more enjoyable. Many thanks and hope you have a dandy vacation. Fred. Click here if you want to see Ford's 1922 high school yearbook picture. His motto: mildness rules the earth.

Closing things out for today is a postcard of a hillbilly family, shoeless and clad in tattered overalls, walking down a hard scrabble Arkansas road. The flipside reads, Back to their home in the "holler" goes this happy little family of Ozarkers after a shopping trip to the crossroads general store. Paw and the boys can't carry much because they have to open gates and chase hogs and cows out of the road. Postmarked in 1963, the card reflects a time when barefoot children smoking corn cob pipes was considered quaint, in a down home, ah shucks, kind of way. If this photo was taken in 2008, social services would place the kids in foster homes and slap endangerment charges on the parents. Times have changed, yes indeed.


Postcard Madness

Holy Cow! Did we ever harvest a bumper crop of random postcards over the weekend. Our source for these nuggets of obscurity is moving and with prices marked down to a third of normal, we loaded up for weeks to come. If you're alarmed about our collectors' obsession with this hobby, well, so are we. But were having fun with postcarding and hope you are as well.

It's cards like this one that amuse us to no end. Sent to Kirk and Lance of New Bremen, Ohio, the message reads: This is a clown on water ski's at Cypress Gardens. Disney World was great. We'll be home by Wednesday, July 25. Your friend, Jeff. Our imagination runs wild and to us, this image conjures up John Wayne Gacy impressing his friends with his deft barefooting skills on a summer day at the lake. Maybe that's why we get such a kick from looking at these things.

We found another lost gem, a companion to an earlier card of the Catacombs at Cappuccini. It's remarkable, simply because you don't see this kind of stuff anywhere else but postcards. That the catacombs were destroyed during World War II Allied bombing raids makes it all the more unique. Now we can only imagine what it was like to visit a tomb where thousands of skeletons look like macabre mannequins at some hellish JC Penney's. No doubt the people in this picture never envisioned their remains would someday be immortalized in a postcard dated 1906 or a blog dated 2008. Which brings about this existential question: so how will we be remembered five hundred years from now? A deep thought for you to ponder as you go about your frenzied existence.

Some postcards are momentos of disappearing Americana. Like this shot of Ronald Reagan in front of the Frontier Hotel in Vegas. Here we see the Gipper, wearing an apron with asking Jas vils Du Haben? above a Pabst Blue Ribbon emblem (We're assuming the English translation is What are you having? and not something like Want to drink cheap American skunk water? Herr Joel- help us out on this).

A search of biographical data revealed this shot was taken in February, 1954, when Reagan was an unemployed actor and took a short-term job at the Last Frontier as an emcee for a nightclub act called The Continentals. Coincidentally, the Last Frontier was the first Vegas venue to book Elvis Presley (1956) and the last place Diana Ross played with The Supremes (1970). In November of 2007, the Frontier casino was demolished to make way for a new casino. An obvious parallel can be made to the Catacombs of Cappuccini postcard: both places are forever gone, but a moment in time captured a long time ago lives forever.

This card of an Army ferry transporting a truck across the Big Piney River at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, was sent by Private Floyd S. Wood to Mr. Vandenberg at Eaton Manufacturing in Battle Creek, MI, on September 17, 1944: Hello. Just a line to let you know where I am what I am doing. The combat engineers boy do they work you hard. If anybody cares to write I will be glad to answer. Thanks for everything. Woody. Thank you, Woody, for your service to your country and we hope you enjoyed building Allied bridges and dynamiting Axis bridges during the waning days of WW II.

This card from the customer-void Shrimp Box restaurant in Pensacola, FL, was sent on January 7, 1955, to Wesley in Harrisburg, PA. The message was typed: Dearest Wesley. Here's another card for your collection. Hope you had a nice Christmas. Guess what we sent didn't amount to much as we've had no thanks from you or your mother. We are well and had a wonderful Christmas even though our new television did not arrive. Love, Grnadma Hollowell. Thanks to the power of the internet, we were successful in locating the recipient and had a nice conversation. The card is in the mail to him and we hope to report back with more on it's history during a later posting.

Our last card today is the Overland Limited Crossing the Great Salt Lake at Sunset. What a scene to behold. We suspect this picture was taken immediately after one of the 928 nuclear weapon tests conducted between 1951 and 1992 in neighboring Nevada. Western sunsets are always picturesque but when you add a one-kiloton warhead, well, then they become spectacular.


Junque Shop Postcards

Deltiology - The study of postcards; the person doing the research, a deltiologist. It means (from the Greek) the science or study (logos) of small pictures or cards (deltion).

Today's research specimens come from the Junque Shop, a southwest Detroit antique store owned by a couple of retired city firefighters. While lamps and model train cars and patina-covered WWII medallions comprise most of their inventory, a small postcard collection can be found inside a faux crystal punchbowl below a stringer of old fishing lures. Our quest got off to a great start with this shot of canoeists, Shooting White Horse Rapids- Yukon. The card does not have a divided back (you know, the line separating the message from the address), meaning it was likely issued prior to 1907. For certain, it was printed before 1958, when a hydro-dam neutered White Horse Rapids into Schwatka Lake.

How about this postcard from when the Crazy Horse monument was little more than an idea? If you want to see how it looks at present, click here. Progress is going slow but hey, let's not forget that Rome wasn't built in a day either.

Sometimes, we'll find a card that indicates an enigmatic aspect of the human psyche. Like this King Cobra Eating Black Snake from Jungleland Snake Farm. Sent to Jean Robinson of Marquette, MI on July 12, 1964, it reads: Hi Jean. I thought I send this one to you, please put it in the middle of the cards you are saving for me as I can't stand looking at it. Mimi. Psychologists would say Mimi's request to save something she abhors is an example of human behavior known as attraction/repulsion.

Big guns are a common sight among military cards (along with shots of hospitals. Discuss.) Taken at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, the print on back reads "Anzio Annie" This caputred (their typo, not ours. It's fun to find these) famous German railway gun poured fire into the American forces on the Anzio beachhead in Italy in World War II. In the right is a U.S. 280mm gun, M65, the Atomic Cannon. Guided missiles made these big guns obsolete a long time ago but they remain intimidating nonetheless.

The last find of the day was this postcard of James Oliver Curwood (described on back as the very young explorer for the Canadian Government). Actually, he was much more than that: before his death in 1927 from an infected spider bite, Curwood wrote over thirty novels about the Pacific Northwest. Some were made into early Hollywood movies, providing Curwood with a measure of success that allowed him to build an 18th century french castle. Now a museum dedicated to his accomplishments, the castle overlooks the Shiawassee River in Owosso, MI.

BIG NEWS: We just got a tip that Kaleidoscope Bookstore is having a moving sale and cards are priced to go. Yeehaw. More postcard madness soon to come, for sure.


Eastern Market

Did a little shopping at Eastern Market, your BBQ RIB HEADQUARTERS!

Got some chicken feet for stewing and assorted voodoo rituals.

Pig's feet- only .99 a pound.

Carp on ice.

Speaking of BBQ's: this Detroit recipe is called St. Aubin style, EXTRA CRISPY.

View My Profile