Remember when messaging was not a verb?
A few years ago I scanned almost all of my photos and threw away the originals. I kept a few to make hands-on albums and I also ended up with some post cards that I had had for years. Several of them I had pinned on bulletin boards because I thought they were funny or appropriate. Recently I decided to scan those and as I looked at them more closely, I realized that this is how people ‘messaged’ so many years ago. A couple of the post cards are from my grandmother, a few I bought in Istanbul, and several are addressed to various people at the various addresses in Toronto. Those last post cards were in an old drop front desk that my mother bought many years ago. I remember it had been painted an awful shade of pink but it was full of these old post cards. At the time I collected stamps, so I steamed off some of the stamps and kept some of the cards. I imagine the postal service was much better then so that the messages would arrive sooner than later. I could also see the sense of humour in the often unknown sender. I want to share them here. Since they are hard to read, I will also type in what they say.
The oldest card is from 1902. It wishes this person happy new year. At the time I believe Egypt was still under the Ottoman Empire. Since it was sent to Sister Jeffcott at the military hospital, I wonder if she was a nun or a nurse or both and of course I wonder if the sender was a man (I tend to think so) and if he was a friend, colleague, soldier, patient. This is one of the cards I bought in Istanbul some years ago.
Another one I bought there was this one from Ceylon. Ironically, I ended up knowing several people from what is now known as Sri Lanka. This card was sent in 1907 and the sender at the end joked about having to go for a shave.
The next few post cards were in the desk. The first one is from 1907. It was sent from Fergus, Ontario, a small town in Southern Ontario. Now it probably takes an hour to get there from Toronto, but I am guessing that at that time it took several hours or more. This is what is says, as best I can make it out:
a line to let you know that we are all well and hope you are the same I have see those picture and think they are fine I want one of them when you get them love from Laura and Stanley
Dear sister I got your letter to night and picture to
The next post cards are to people in the Bond family, including James Bond. Little did he know…
Quebec. Thursday. Royal George Delayed. Fogg + snow. Fine + dandy. Have one. WCBullock
I actually really like this card and have used it on my facebook page because I have many old friends across the sea.
Just a line. I will not go down to Will’s on Sunday as I have several things to get for babe + do not want to spend the time to go down town.
Presumably the above-mentioned Will is her brother.
French River Muskoka
having some very pleasant sailing up the Muskoka Lakes. G.M
Prince Albert Ont. June 1 1914
Dear Aunt Jane + Uncle Jim:
I am sending a few lines to let you know that Mrs Neal is here and dangerously ill with “Inflammatory Rheumatism”. The doctor says it will be sometime before she is able to start on her journey. He took her ticket to see about having it extended. She came back from Cartright last Wednesday and had been sick all the time over there. Has been in bed ever since she came back. We were doing the best we can to get her well again. Are you coming to the “Old Boys Reunion”? Sincerely yours– Effie Bond
Poor Mrs. Neal! I am sure they have all succumbed by now…
Dear Rossie– So glad to get your note. Poor child you must be dead. It is simply lovely of Mrs. Start to have you there. Joyce and Allan dropped by for ten minutes at noon + had a quick lunch. Please phone Mrs. Reid + ask her to note (?) Peter. + have the H.S. Come for him. I will give her the $1.00. Mother
Now I know there were phones then, but old habits must have died hard. Strange to see my dear grandmother’s writing here.
This was a pretty interesting history lesson for me. I can see how we overlook familiar things but when we look more closely we can see how they tell a story. There is nothing earth-shaking here, but interesting nevertheless.