Saturday, June 7, 2014

A pair of century-old apologetic postcard replies

We aren't the only generation that has trouble keeping up with everything, including correspondence. People were overwhelmed with responsibilities or procrastinated — or a little bit of both — in the early 20th century, too, as these two postcards featured today can attest.

Swinging bridge over Codorous [sic] Creek, York, Pa.

This first card (above) was mailed to Miss Georgia B. Klinefelter of East Orange, New Jersey. It was postmarked on June 12, 1911, and it states:
"Dear Friend:
I certainly appreciate your card and that you should remember me. Would have answered before but have been so busy and tired, that I was unable to write. My card in Sunday school has quite a few holes caused by Mother's illness. Will be glad to hear from you at any time. Love from Cordie."

Drive to Stanton Avenue, Highland Park, Pittsburg, Pa.

The second card was sent to Mr. Emerson Lanning (care of Chas Lanning) in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania. It was postmarked on July 30, 1909. The note states:
"Dear Friend. - I guess I don't have any manners anymore as I should have sent you a card as soon as I got home. We are all well and was all at the picnic on monday. How is the rabbits, pony, Etc.? John."

Friday, June 6, 2014

Farewell Salem, a cat who only ever really wanted a lap

Salem, our 16-year-old tuxedo cat and ball of ever-purring love, shed this mortal coil this afternoon. He was quite a large cat, but I don't think he ever envisioned himself as anything but a tiny kitten seeking a lap (or stomach) to take a nap on.

As I do enjoy my naps and lounging around, the two of us got along quite well.

Past pics of Salem

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Modern ephemera: Advertising cards for summer fan conventions

Earlier this week, Joan contributed some modern-day ephemera to the blog. Now it's my turn.

These advertising cards for some fan conventions in the Northeast this summer also double as gorgeous works of art.

A half-century from now, I'm sure there will be people with prized collections of these glossy cards. Maybe I will tuck these inside a book for some future ephemeraologist to stumble upon.

As an added bonus, you can still attend all of these cons, if you wish...

Monster Bash
"The Classic Monster Conference" is being held June 20-22 in Mars, Pennsylvania, and guests will include MST3K's Joel Hodgson, Judith O'Dea and Tom Savini.

This celebration of science fiction's golden year of 1939 will be held August 7-10 in Columbus, Ohio. If you are thrilled by the idea of tables upon tables stacked with detective magazines, science-fiction digests, vintage paperbacks and comic books, this is the place for you.

The Great Allentown Comic Con
This pop-culture cavalcade is slated for July 12 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. If you've ever wanted to meet the second Yellow Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, here's your chance, as Karan Ashley (her name is misspelled on this card) will be there.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Brighten your summer with vacation specials from Lit Brothers

This is the cover of an eight-page, fold-out brochure that is advertising the "Vacation Specials" of Lit Brothers, a Philadelphia department store that was in business from 1891 through 1977.

The brochure is undated; I'm guessing that it's from the 1920s.

Lit Brothers was, according to Wikipedia, a moderately priced store that "positioned itself well as a more affordable alternate to competitors, Strawbridge and Clothier, Wanamaker's, and Gimbels."

The brochure's pitch to potential customers starts like this:
"Your Vacation will yield additional pleasure if you go properly prepared. The articles in this folder are merely suggestive of the huge stock of vacation necessities that are now ready for you approval, and the abnormally low prices make it advisable to buy now. Act promptly. These articles go on sale immediately. To avoid disappointment, we suggest that our customers should select whatever they may need at the earliest possible moment."

Here are some of the sale items and their prices:
  • Brownie Camera No. 2A, $3.50 (this camera was produced from 1907 through 1936)
  • Auto lunch kit, "for automobile parties, and vacation trips by train, boat or trolley," $11.98
  • Genuine cowhide traveling bag, $4.98
  • Genuine cowhide suitcase, $6.98
  • Attractive wash skirt, "gabardine or surf satin of splendid quality," $4.98
  • Child's wool sweater, $1.98
  • Man's pull-over sweater, $9.49
  • Man's life guard bathing suit, with Navy "Cherry Valley" pants and Web belt, $1.79

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

In which my wife comes up with a new category of ephemera

"Grocery lists left behind in shopping carts
at the supermarket"

I, of course, would never leave my shopping list behind in the cart.

I would take it home and tuck it gently into an envelope for safekeeping.

Enjoy a couple "Best-Loved Pennsylvania Dutch Recipes"

Here, for your potential culinary pleasure, are a pair of recipes from Best-Loved Pennsylvania Dutch Recipes, a 32-page staplebound booklet published in 1971 by Vincent R. Tortora and Photo Arts Press of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Boova Shenkel
(Boy's Legs)

Cut 3 LB. STEWING BEEF into cubes. Cover with water. Add SALT, PEPPER, simmer 2 hours, or until tender. Drain meat and hold broth. To meat add 10 DICED BOILED POTATOES, 1/3 C. MINCED ONION, 3 T. BUTTER, 2 T. CHOPPED PARSLEY, 3 BEATEN EGGS. Mix lightly. Set aside and prepare dough. Cut 2/3 C. SHORTENING into 2 C. FLOUR, 2 t. BAKING POWDER, 1/2 T. SALT, until mixture looks like coarse corn meal. Add 3 TO 5 T. COLD WATER (enough to make dough right consistency for rolling). Roll out dough and cut 4-5 inch squares. Put about 2 T. potato mixture in center of each dough square. Fold dough over, shaping like boy's leg. Pinch edges together. Drop into boiling broth. Cover. Simmer 25 minutes. Arrange "legs" on platter. Pour broth over all. Serve.

(Besides having a creepy name, the above recipe isn't too different from the Real Dutch Lunch that I wrote about back in March. For more about this recipe, see this 2010 article in the Reading Eagle.)

Dandelion Greens
Fry 5 SLICES BACON until crisp. Drain, reserving small amount of fat. In meantime, cook DANDELION GREENS as you would spinach. When tender, pour mixture of 2 T. VINEGAR, 2 T. SUGAR over top, along with small amount BACON FAT. Crumble bacon over top. Garnish with SLICED, HARD-COOKED EGG.

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Related posts

Monday, June 2, 2014

Terry S. McMahon's 1967 QSL from Merritt, Michigan

Terry S. McMahon and his spiffy ham-radio setup are featured in a photograph on the front of this QSL card that was mailed to an address in Pennsylvania back in December 1967.

McMahon, using call sign WA8OUP, was stationed in Merritt1, a small unincorporated community within sparsely populated Butterfield Township in Missaukee County, Michigan.

In the note on the back, Terry acknowledges a QSO (contact) and adds "Hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a good year."

The card is addressed as follows:
It took me a little bit, but I finally figured out that "Norton" was supposed to be "Morton," which is a borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.2

Part of what confirmed my research is this tidbit from the March 31, 1964, edition of the Delaware County Daily Times.
"A Morton couple, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Burke of 265 Waverly Road, also are relaying messages by ham radio. One of the first replies the couple received was that all military personnel at Kodiac [sic] are safe."
That's a reference to the 9.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Alaska in March 1964. Ham radio was one of the best ways that people in the mainland U.S. were able to contact those in Alaska during that natural disaster, which claimed 139 lives. (For more on that topic, read the August 2012 post "Radio to the rescue — Ham operators establish link with world after earthquake" by Clark Fair on The Redoubt Reporter.)

1. Merritt was, for a couple of years, a childhood home of Burt Reynolds.
2. Morton was named after Sketchley Morton, son of Declaration of Independence signer John Morton.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Great reads: Ta-Nehisi Coates' masterpiece and much more

Library of Congress photos. Links: Left, Right.

My typical approach to this space is to collect some recent links that have caught my eye and then present them for your browsing pleasure.

But, this time around, I want to take a bit more of a forceful stance, perhaps even a strident one, and strongly urge you to read this recent piece of outstanding American journalism in The Atlantic:

The Case for Reparations
Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts,
America will never be whole.
By Ta-Nehisi Coates

Set aside some quiet time to read it. Absorb it over the course of a few days. Plan to finish it before the end of June. But just read it.

It's an important, thoughtful piece. Set aside any preconceived notions. It relates more about American history, and who and why we are what we are in 2014, than any textbook you ever had in high school or college. (And it doesn't hurt that, as a friend said, it's just "gorgeous writing.")

I would love to see efforts by people in true positions of power and influence to get Coates' work in front of as many readers as possible. Get everyone talking about it. Make it part of the curriculum in high schools. Let it be the launching point for the kind of critical discussions and debates we need in this country.

That's my hope, anyway. Probably all that I can do is get it in front of a few new eyeballs that might have missed it. But if every one of us brought just two new readers into the fold...

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More links for your browsing pleasure.


History, language and learning

Images and photography

Arts and entertainment

Animals and nature

Technology and culture


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Finally, take three more minutes of your time and watch this video: "Mr. G and Jellybean." You'll be glad you did.