Friday, December 23, 2011

Reader comments: Christmas edition

A month filled with Christmas-themed and holiday-themed ephemera posts has brought out the best in the readers. So I turn it over to you today...

Awkward Christmas card idea from the past: A lot of responses to this one:
  • Mel Kolstad of Ephemeraology writes: "I LOVE this card! We can think of it as analog Photoshop!"
  • Someone with the user name "Indiana Medical Insurance" writes: "Great idea. We have plenty of old pictures so I'm tempted to use some that are 10-15 years old. Maybe put everything in black and white as well."
  • (Note: If anyone attempts to replicate the sheer awesomeness of this card in the future, please send a copy to Papergreat.)
  • Anonymous writes: "Previous comments like the Christmas card idea. Personally, I think it's creepy!!"

Christmas recipes from The Betty Crocker Recipe Card Library: Mel Kolstad writes: "WHOA - SO weird that we both posted stuff about vintage Betty Crocker holiday recipes today on our blogs!!! Do do do do...do do do do...." (Here is the Ephemeraology Betty Crocker blog entry she's referring to.)

Postcard: Wishing Thoma a Merry Christmas in 1913: We got a nice, research-based exchange going in the comments section on this one:
  • Mel Kolstad wrote: "What a gorgeous postcard, Chris! I wonder, though - may the grandaughter (sic) from Schuykill (sic) have possibly misspelled "Thomas"? She certainly doesn't have a great track record in spelling, at least judging by this postcard!"
  • Blake Stough of Preserving York wrote: "In the 1910 and 1920 United States Federal Census records, there are several 'Thomas' and/or 'Thomas J.' Miller's listed in Harrisburg, but none on Schuykill Street. There are also no "Thoma J. Miller" names listed in those years. As Mel mentioned, this may be meant to say Thomas."
  • I responded with: "Interesting, Blake. Appreciate the research. ... Were you looking up 'Schuykill' or 'Schuylkill'?"
  • Blake responded: "There was actually no need to look up an individual street name. In the census records for those years it lists the street names along the edge of the pages. The house number is usually included as well for each household."
I would have to agree that the most likely answer here is that this person's name is actually Thomas J. Miller. But I still enjoyed the tangental avenue I went down in researching the use of Thoma as a first name.

A handy Christmas cape that doubles as a tree skirt: Mom had this comment: "Green bean and almond molded salad...more frightening than the RED JELLO." (Hmmmm.)

In addition, Bruce Thiel, the assistant news editor at the York Daily Record/Sunday News, added this fun anecdote: "My grandmother always made Jello salads at Christmas. One was strawberry, which was a hit. The other was lemon with shredded cabbage and carrots. It was an acquired taste."

Saturday's postcard: Sami girl and a reindeer: Mel Kolstad (who lives in Wisconsin) writes: "I had to laugh about the 'What's with all the dead deer photos?' part, because we have the same dilemma here! Deer hunting is HUGE but there is the faction who'd rather not see the hunters with their dead 'trophy'. We don't have ANY snow either! I'm crabby about it too, especially when I learned today that parts of TEXAS may have a white Christmas and we most likely won't. How is that fair?"

"I never thought it was such a bad little piece of ephemera.": Anonymous has a good thought: "Perhaps it is a greeting from or for someone in the Southern Hemisphere, where it would be summertime and 'beachy' during the Christmas holidays."

Manger scene at St. Mary's Episcopal School for Indian Girls: Justin Mann of Justin's Brew Review writes: "I love this post for so many reasons. First of all, I love that Sarah puts the figurines to bed. I also love that you intentionally left the footnote blank and followed up with a tertiary footnote. Third, I love that you posted the Food Center's Facebook page. I could go on, but mostly I want to tell you to keep up the great work!"

Thanks, Justin!

Christmas 1971 and a vintage greeting card: Mom writes: "Uh oh. Scary clown."

Yes, because it's the holidays and all, I wasn't going to bring up the scary clown in this 1971 photo of me (at right).

Somehow, I survived the childhood trauma of having my face inches from said clown. But now that the topic has been broached, here he is in all his glory (not exactly a vision of sugar plums dancing in your head):

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