Sunday, November 1, 2015

Postcards to Pen Pals

The sun came out and colors came to life.
We were on our way up I 44 toward St. Louis, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a green highway sign saying, "Mexico near." 

An arrow with a mile sign pointing to Mexico, Missouri caught my full attention, luckily Jack was driving, because I suddenly remembered a childhood connection to a Pen Pal who grew up in Mexico, Mo. Somewhere before we stopped for the night I shouted out, "Her name is Susan Kuhlman."  "What?" Jack curiously turned toward me.  "Tee hee hee," I laughed. "I just remembered my Pen Pal's name. I wonder where she is now?"

The Peters family
The trip to Monticello, Indiana, meeting a new family of cousins once removed and sightseeing, took my attention away from a lost pen pal.

Ironically, it was postcards from one hundred years ago that brought our distant families together.  My grandmother Pearl saved her postcards, and they eventually found their way into my hands and onto the web.  One by one Pearl's story in postcards united nearly all of the grandchildren from her sister's side of the family and her side, too. 
1909 view of Indianapolis
Her sister, Mae, died one hundred years ago, leaving behind three small children, who would be raised by a less than kind and loving step-mother and their father.  My grandmother's story was that of following the oil fields, as her husband was a geologist. 

The Boat House, Chicago, Illinois  1912
For four days in June, the Peters family, Jack and I shared stories of our lives and connections.  Genealogy is so much more interesting in person, rather than from the tombstones.  We realized that not only did the postcards connect us, but that four of us are librarians. Our
3rd st Bartlesville, Ok  1914
grandmother's would be so proud.  What great connections the past offers us, when we take the time to look back and begin asking questions.  

Two family stories that I discovered in postcards are already on my blog:   When They Were Young and  Consumed by a Story

As for my Pen Pal, that's another story.

What about the art of sending notes and sharing our lives through postcards?  Postcards are still being sold at state tourism departments and in a few old souvenir shops.  I still send postcards, do you?  Christmas is coming, how many of us will send Christmas cards with a note of happenings in our lives?  

So much to read, so little time.  Why not make it easy and send a postcard?

Check out these stories for more thoughts and pictures in postcards. The Postcard is Alive and Well: The Iconic Muse

Biloxi before Hurricanes Camille and Katrina.  Biloxi, Mississippi

History of postcards Smithsonian

***This is like Christmas, only early.  Look what just arrived in my mailbox from Dori and George, who spent some time this fall in Vienna.  

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your essay about postcards. I have a stack that I sent home to my parents, and another from friends who sent them to me from my childhood -- wonderful old images and memories of people that I have lost contact with for the most part. Thanks for your story!