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  • Carolyn E. Cook

A Saver’s Treasure Trove — Postcards

My Grandmother Stoddard was a Saver, not to be equated with Hoarder, someone who keeps everything, important items as well as junk. Savers keep things that are actually meaningful in some way. For Grandmother, that meant articles relating to family history or her own life. She saved locks of hair, baby shoes and clothes, school papers, photographs, postcards — the list could go on. She and I had a strong bond and I ended up with all her Saved Stuff, becoming the next family historian.


Her stack of postcards is astounding. I counted 326! Some were sent to her by friends and some she sent to us when she took trips. They’re postmarked from the late 1940’s to the late 1960’s. Handwriting is often very hard to figure and messages in almost every one touch on the weather and people’s physical well-being. My guess is, for those who came of age before the era of antibiotics, concern about health was always present.



Here’s one that wasn’t mailed and the back is blank. I have no idea why it landed in Grandmother’s postcard stack, but the house appears inviting and I appreciate the information about “Beautyrest Mattresses” and “Hot and Cold Baths”!

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These others display the oldest postmarks.

Dear Mother,

I keep wondering how you are feeling & hoping you’re pretty good. Today we went through the Metropolitan Museum of Art and St. John’s Cathedral, saw Harlem from the bus and tonight expect to see an hour’s lecture & pictures at the Hayden Planetarium. That will let us get to bed early. Ate a dinner at noon & a large one tonight at a French restaurant. Friday will be here soon & we expect to get in about 4:30. Then we can take the 5 train home.

Love, Sara


Since the postmark is 1947, I’m sure “Sara” is my mother and she was writing while on honeymoon with Dad in New York City. What a great view of the old skyline!

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Dear Sara,

Does this look familiar? We are 11 squares from it, in direction of Ship Battarie [not sure of that word]

Mother

I have to conjecture as to why Grandmother was at a beach. She had several women friends, so maybe they had gone together for a seaside vacation. I love the look of that old Post Office. Had it been someone’s home before then? And what about the “Honor Roll” on the left? Names of local men lost in WWII? Or WWI?


Dear Sara,

Do you remember this entrance? I did not. It is just as quiet as it was three years ago. Perhaps a little more so where we are. Nothing in front or sides. Bring a ball string, can opener & paring knife. Have to tie up newspapers for man to take away.

Affectionately,

Mother


Both of these postcards were mailed the same day, June 20, 1950, from Surf City, N. J., and probably at the old Post Office. On the back, this card tells of the roadway, described as a “modern traffic circle” and “entrance to the six happy, healthy family resorts of Long Beach Island.” Some people might like those “modern” traffic circles, but I can’t stand them. Give me a regular, old stoplight any day!

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