This weekend, our ornate downtown theatre (circa 1928) held an Antiquefest. What a great setting for vendors to set up their booths stuffed with antiques. Fred and I volunteered at the event so I made the rounds of the various rooms several times and did some browsing while directing people to the bathrooms and coffee. I was on the lookout for pens but only saw a few that were in exceptionally sad shape. No luck there.
But amongst the furniture, furs, jewelry, linens, and books, I spied a box of carefully categorized vintage postcards and started leafing through them. I skipped to the “New York” section, thinking that there might be some familiar attractions. It didn’t take long before I selected the card shown above. $1.00. Sold.
I should note that I’m not a collector of postcards, but this one tugged at me. It’s from a time when postcards were little works of art, not kitschy souvenirs. This one was made in Germany, then sold here in New York, out in the Finger Lakes region, a prime location for vacation and relaxation.
On the front, the writer has scribbled, in pencil, “This is the boat we did not take.” I hear frustration in that single line. This vacation, it seems, has hit a snag.
“We cannot go across the lake. Boats have not been running for some time. We are at NY Central station Watkins waiting for a train to Geneva. Have walked about forty-eleven miles.” T. (or F?)
More frustration. The need for Plan B. We’ve all had vacations like this.
“Have walked about forty-eleven miles.” What an interesting phrase. A quick Google search turned up a number of references all explaining that this means “innumerable” or “a large amount.” Why have we stopped saying this?!
Addressed to Miss Hatty Harding of Waverly, NY, this penciled postcard was written and posted in September 1910. This postcard—my postcard—is 106 years old, and still perfectly legible. No fading, no smearing, no discoloration.
That’s impressive for forty-eleven years.
For a modern take on the same subject, check out The Purl Bug’s postcard/pencil experiment HERE.
I recently picked up this giant box of postcards. Once I start sending them out, I’m going to write exclusively in pencil. Will my messages survive until Antiquefest 2122? Could be.