Saturday, April 17, 2021

Saturday's postcard: "Dearest Mother & Emma"

Here's the first old postcard I've purchased in Arizona. I picked it up last night at a modest little shop with mostly coins, plus some other collectibles, in downtown Florence. (Also in Florence at dusk: Many bats.) The friendly proprietor gave me two Eisenhower dollars as change.

The Curt Teich & Co. postcard features the ornate fireplace in the West Lounge at Chicago's Edgewater Beach Hotel, which was built starting in 1915 and demolished between 1969 and 1971. The aforementioned President Eisenhower was among the many famous guests during its heyday. 

The Edgewater was also the site of one of baseball's more ghastly stories. As Wikipedia sums up: "On June 14, 1949, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Eddie Waitkus was shot and nearly killed by an obsessive fan at the hotel, 19-year-old Ruth Steinhagen; this later would be a large part of the inspiration behind Bernard Malamud's novel The Natural." (Barbara Hershey essentially played the role of Steinhagen in the movie version of Malamud's novel.) I recall Phillies color commentator Richie Ashburn, who was a second-year outfielder with the Phillies when Waitkus was shot, talking about this incident during 1980s and 1990s broadcasts.

This postcard is postmarked December 5, 1929, and was mailed from Chicago to Mrs. G.N. Chambers in Lexington, Kentucky. The note, written in neat cursive and shown below, states:
Dearest Mother & Emma
Guess you will be surprised to hear that I am in Chicago. We are here to an Alemite Convention. Will be here until Friday. We are sure having a good time.
Lots of love
You're probably wondering how I got Alemite from that scribbled cursive word. First, I had a lot of failed Google searches for different guesses on the combination of letters. Finally, I searched for Chicago convention Edgewater December 5, 1929. Success! The December 5, 1929, edition of the Chicago Tribune, on Page 26, has a small item labeled "Business Sessions Today." Under "Conventions, Expositions," it notes that Alemite Mfg. Corp. is at Edgewater Beach. 

Alemite is still around today and provides lubrication systems. It was apparently one of the pioneers of the grease gun for automotive service shops. Read more about it here.

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