One of my favorite things to do is to sit or stand at the antique mall and go through all the postcards. I’m sure they were bought by the pound or bundle at an estate sale or yard sale for pennies a piece and brought to the antique mall where they can sell two or three and get their money back. The best I can tell, I’m one of the only ones who sit and go through them.
They go back to the early 1900s and have beautiful pictures from places I’ll probably never get to see. I like to think of them as “Poor Man’s Art.” Usually, I’m only interested in those that have not been used. Yes, there are a lot that have been written on, with penny stamps and more. I suppose some people would buy them for the stamps if they collected such things.
On this particular day, I was finding a nice handful of linen postcards from the 40’s and 50’s with some really cool things on them. I use them. I don’t frame them. I don’t store them. I put a stamp on them and send them to my children.
The other nice thing about the antique mall are the folks that work there and the conversation. Studying one card from the 30’s for a long time, I asked a group of ladies who they thought the picture of the little girl in the corner of the postcard we were discussing was. One lady said, “Shirley Temple.” Another said, “No, it couldn’t be.” My Mama just loved Shirley Temple and I wanted it to be her. When I got it home, I looked closer at the description,
Sure enough, the postcard of a house with the little girl in the corner had a description I had not noticed before. It said, “Bungalow Dressing Room of Shirley Temple.” I was happy. I can’t remember what I paid for it, but it was a steal.
Another card I bought on this day was of the monolith at Chimney Rock State Park, which is around Asheville, North Carolina. The monolith is a 315 foot mountain formation that gives the park its name. They say you can see 75 miles once you get up to the top. On the postcard from the late 50’s, there was an American Flag on the top of the monolith, as there still seems to be today. The scenery seems to be just amazing, with the park being used to film the movie, “The Last of the Mohicans.”
This postcard had writing on it and 4 cent postage stamp of Abraham Lincoln. Mailed from the Asheville Post Office in July of 1963. I liked this, because it made me feel young, almost not even born yet…
This postcard was addressed and successfully mailed to a lady at “Route 1, Sheridan, Pennsylvania.” No zip code, just a name, route and city. Pretty impressive that the address got the job done, with a lot less information.
It was from “Mabel,” no last name, because I’m sure the lady receiving the card knew who Mabel was and probably knew her well. I love sending postcards and I love writing on them. It makes me feel like my words will live on… Just like Mabel’s. Over 50 years later, I paid a dollar for the postcard and Mabel’s words. It was worth it.
What did Mabel say? She wrote, “Boy – what would a fountain look like up here!” Not too exciting, but I’m sure she thought it was funny, and she was serious. However, what she was more serious about was the other line she added below her name. She wrote, “Keep an eye on my tomato!”
Figuring she meant her tomato plant and that it possibly was a cherished tomato plant, I had to see if I could figure it out all these years later. After connecting some dots and using the lady’s name she was sending the postcard to, I figured out Mabel’s last name. It seems that Mabel and this other lady were often in the entertaining part of their local newspaper.
You know newspapers used to print important stuff like who was visiting who and who was entertaining folks and what they had for dinner. I found those papers and sure enough, Mabel was known for dishing out fine tomato dishes.
I could be worrying about politics, potholes on my morning commute or other “important” things, but Mabel’s tomato really made me happy on this day. I wish she were around to tell her, but she is not. I even know where she is buried, but her words and tomato still have eyes on them.
CMT Column from the week of March 20, 2017, All Rights Reserved and Stuff like that..
Cranks My Tractor
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I'm BN Heard and I like semicolons, dogs and basil on my tomatoes.
I will be back on stage April 30th hosting the Better Said Than Done show at Jammin' Java in Vienna, Virginia.
Below is a video from Better Said Than Done's January Show where I told a story about my Papa and going to Vernon, Florida.