Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Ponders on a postcard

My paternal grandfather was 21 years old when he received this post card. The year was 1913 and Ellwood Avery Slater was a young man who would soon go to war, then later return home to marry my grandmother. At that time, the U.S. postal service held the monopoly on communication with correspondence consisting of beautiful picture post cards washed in soft colors. I have a handful of these precious letters, when words were written in pen and ink with style and a refined hand.

I'm not sure who the author of this card was; my assumption is that he was a buddy from back home. He writes about harvesting wheat and working in the fields with his horses, Billie and Barney. The tone is one of camaraderie; a note to check in and reach out to an old friend.

The detail and intricacies of these old cards fascinate me: the decorative scrolls and flowers on the back, the small stamp, and the simplistic addresses of those years ago. Part of me longs for the moment captured in this picture, when chivalry wore a suit and there was time for walking in the garden.

Our past holds many treasures and should be safeguarded for our future. With the birth of modern conveniences and the immediacy of our advances, much of the loveliness and simplicity of earlier days has been lost. Though everything is faster and more instant, e-mail, faxes and phone calls can't compare to the beauty of script as pen meets paper.
Perhaps if we slow down a bit and ponder where we came from, we'll discover what our ancestors did: The secret doesn't lie in how we lose time, but how it is spent in the first place.


Mike said...

I totally agree with you. There is something special about the extra effort and care that a handwritten letter brings.

I love how nice the handwriting is on your photos. being a lefty....I must admire that skill! :-)


bernie kasper said...

These are very special, they are a form art as well, you will treasure them forever.

Chad Oneil said...

Very good post. Romance has always been alive and well ;)

alan said...

Just the treat of a grandparents handwriting...I wish I had more of it, or any of my Dad's!

I do have some cassettes I recorded of his Mom telling stories about Mission work on the Navajo reservations. I need to burn them to disc...


martie said...

I have a few postcards that were sent to my father when he was in the service back in the 1940's from his Uncle, and I treasure them as a link to my past! Yours has a lovely photo on it! What a great item to have and pass on to younger family members eventually!

Wonderful post!


Chad Oneil said...

...glad you enjoyed what I wrote in my latest post.

Martin said...

I love old things, those objects redolent of another age and seeming so lost in this one. Everything has it's story. Some of the stories are lost or hidden, and some of them are like this and much more obvious and plain to see.

Life should be savoured, take it slow... I'm reminded of that whenever I am in Spain. It's good to be reminded, very good.