Gallery in the French Quarter | New Orleans

“One of the many typical gallery scenes in the Vieux Carre section where balconies over hang the narrow and picturesque streets.” –Description from postcard back

Doesn’t this look like a lovely place to be, “to escape thoughts of the Corona Virus?” as one of my friends commented when I shared a photo of this postcard with her this morning.

The “French Quarter Gallery” is one of many, many vintage New Orleans postcards I received from a blog reader I encountered just a few weeks ago via email. After visiting my blog–perhaps after reading my “About Me” page–April C contacted me and told me she had some antique New Orleans postcards that she would like to send to me. Of course, I said, “Yes!”

I expected 10–no more than 20–postcards to add to my “Vintage NOLA” collection, but I was shocked when my hubby returned from the Post Office last week and placed a package filled with postcards in my hands. 120 postcards, to be exact!

About 10-15 of the postcards are from a road trip April’s grandfather took in the 1950’s. The rest are from her Aunt Dixie who collects things “labeled Dixie” because of her name. I haven’t combed through the postcards carefully yet, but it seems the earliest postcard is dated 1930. Some have notes and postmarks and others are blank. I’m looking forward to diving in a bit deeper over the next few weeks.

According to my preliminary research the “Genuine Curteich-Chicago C.T. Art-Colortone Post card” above was printed in 1937. It is attributed to A. Hirschwitz of New Orleans, Louisiana.

I’ll be “showcasing” more of the postcards here on Pics and Posts–little by little–over the next few [or several] months, so be sure to tune in.

Until then, enjoy a few older posts featuring vintage postcards:

A million thanks to you, April, for this phenomenal gift!

Let’s Take a Drive (or a swim?)

I’m back with more happy mail! This time, I’m sharing the photos Gale D (grstamping) shot for the “Take a Walk” photo series hosted in the A Thousand Words Group on swap-bot.

Gale’s July “walk” took her to the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario where she has been asked to photograph exhibits to make cards for the museum gift shop. While there, she takes her time noting the details of each object, as you will see from the photos in this post.

“Car Lamp” by Gale D.

I don’t know much about old cars, but I’m drawn to them, especially the vintage elements and features like the lamp (above) and the steering wheel (below).

“Steering Wheel” by Gale D.

Here’s a fun “don’t touch me” sign sitting on a car seat.

“Don’t Touch Me” by Gale D

And what would a photo walk through an automobile museum be without a whole car?

“Amphibious Car” by Gale D.

According to Gale, this amphibious car has never “seen water. The collector kept it dry and clean.” She did a little work in Lightroom on this one to give it an [even more] vintage feel.

Wouldn’t you like to learn more about this car and see it on water? Thanks to YouTube, you can!

I ❤ museums and museum shops, so it’s nice to take a brief “walk through the museum” and find the cards I would have purchased in my mailbox! Thanks, Gale! 🙂

Enjoy your ride!

Vintage Bears Need Love Too!

Do you want to see some vintage bears? Nope, not teddy bears. Regular, real life bears. Because of my ❤ for bears, my postcard pal, Fran B, sent me a nice set of seven vintage bear postcards she found at estate sales and antique shops, and I’ve been looking forward to sharing them.

The first five postcards feature bears from Yellowstone National Park. The postcards are undated, but three of the five were copyrighted by Haynes Picture Shops, Inc., St. Paul, MN and Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Based on the one-cent postage required, they were printed either before World War I or immediately afterwards.

Take a look!

From the postcard back: Twin Cub Bears, Yellowstone Park. The black bear exists in the park in a number of color phases. The commonest type is black with a brown nose.  Others are dark and medium brown, reddish brown and dull buffy brown. Even cub bears resent being teased and are usually treated with the respect they deserve.

From the postcard back: The Woman Bear, Yellowstone Park. “The most remarkable wild animal picture ever taken” (Ernest Thompson Seton), as photographed in the mountain wilds near the Grand Canyon by E. W. Hunter, master wild animal photographer of the Haynes organization.

From the postcard back: The Grizzly Bear, also known as the silver tip, is the most respected of all of the family of bears, not alone by men but by other bears. They are inoffensive if not molested, but when attacked they become extremely dangerous.

I’m not sure if the other two Yellowstone bears (below) were published by the Haynes Picture Shops or if the three bears above were part of the same series. There’s no company name on the back, but there is a symbol or logo and an arrow with letters–company initials, maybe???

Notice the letters in the arrow?  HHT CO or is it T CO?

“Brown Bear Waiting for Garbage, Yellowstone National Park”

From the postcard back: A Yellowstone Park Bear. The bears of the Park are objects of peculiar interest. No sound of gun or bark of dog is ever heard, and the bears, though wild, have become so tame that they give only curious notice to the tourists as they pass. Some of the bears are wrapped in robes that would command a fancy price. They come down in the evening from their home in the hills to feed around the hotels.

From the postcard back: Bears in Yellowstone Park. With each succeeding year the wild animals in the Park become a more interesting feature of it. Here is really the only place where the public in general can freely see the animals of the forest and the wilds in their natural state. The bears are found near the hotesl and it requires no exertion, beyond the walk of a few rods, by tourists to see them.

The postcard below was printed circa 1950 and features a Polar Bear at the Forest Park Zoo in St. Louis, Missouri.

“Polar Bear Pit,” Published by Paul Monroe Company

From the postcard back: Polar Bear Pit, Forest Park Zoo, St. Louis, Missouri. The entire zoo occupies 77 acres in Forest Park. At a cost of $250,000, these famous cageless bear pits were built. The bears are separated from nearby spectators only by a wide moat banked by a concrete shelving which the bears can’t climb.

This final postcard warns us to watch out for (bear) hitchhikers. They’re not as innocent as they appear.

Seney, MI, Published by ColourPicture, Boston, Massachusetts

From the postcard back: Black Bear Hitchhiker. Although sometimes thought of as a big lovable clown, don’t let this panhandling act fool you. Bears are dangerous animals and should be viewed from a distance.

So they’re not fluffy, cuddly bears we can take home with us, but we can still love them–from a safe distance.

Thanks to Fran, the cards are now part of my vintage postcard collection. When time permits, I will work to find out more information about the postcards, but for now, I’ll just enjoy them.

Note: Information from the postcard back was typed as it appears on the back of the postcards. I wouldn’t call a “female bear” a “woman bear.” 😉

Vintage in My Mailbox

It’s “hump day,” and as usual by midweek, exhaustion has a strong grip on my mind and body, so I’m dropping in with a quick post to share the vintage photography postcards I received yesterday.

The postcard below tells the story of my life–a book in my hand, glasses nearby, ever mindful of the time.

This one speaks to the creativity breaks I’ve purposefully taken to maintain sanity and balance–photo walks, capturing the splendor of autumn and the intriguing sights in the places I travel throughout the day(s).

Christine B sent both to me–the first one because she thought I’d like it, the second one because the camera and photos remind her of me. Of course, I love both because…there’s something about vintage photography. 😉

One of the things that attracts me to vintage and antique things is they have stories, and even if I don’t know the stories, I make them up. –Mary Kay Andrews

Until tomorrow…

Mama Is a Saint!

snapseed

I woke up this morning thinking about my mom and the absolutely beautiful woman she is. Today is her 80th birthday and I am deeply grateful that God continues to gift us with her life.

I hear it over and over and over again.  “Your mom is a saint.”  She’s not simply a good, good person.  She’s a saint.  I’ve learned to accept that perhaps she is, and unlike many women, I wish I were more like my mother.

My mom carried 10 children in her womb, delivered us naturally, and took care of all of us.  As far as I’m concerned, this alone should be enough to qualify her for sainthood.

I lived in the house with us.  And it was a wonderful, noisy house with loads of love and fun, but it also had its fair share of the typical sibling rivalries, squabbles, and kids who always needed something or had a question that just had to be answered.  In my mind, I’m thinking my kid times 10.  No way!

Can you imagine this type of person who has enough love and patience for 10 individual personalities trying to find their way in the world?  Can you imagine worrying and fretting over not one or two or even five but 10 children? Parenting is scary, scary business, and I shutter to think of the challenges ahead for my one kid.  I can’t imagine having to walk with 10 heartbeats floating around in this world.

Mom with my sister Karlette (RIP) and nephew Eric

Mom with my sister Karlette (RIP) and nephew Eric

I distinctly remember my mom taking all of us kids on the bus to Canal Street in New Orleans [Canal Street was the shopping center of New Orleans then].  There might have been only eight or nine of us then, but we’re all pretty close in age. How did she do that?  With nothing less than amazing organizational skills and child management skills.

This explains why our house was impeccable at any time of the day–even with 10 kids.  Unexpected guests might have been met with an apology for her “messy” house, but they probably looked around confused.  My mom’s house was [and is] always clean.  There was no scrambling to clear the clutter when uninvited guests arrived. I don’t even know how she managed that with all of us running all over the house?

And just like our home, we were always clean and dressed and fed well with home-cooked meals every day.  This is no overstatement.  My mom cooked every. single. day. for twelve people. My mom’s version of fast food? Burgers and fries she made herself that were way better than anything we could have purchased at a restaurant.

Mom let us grow and gave us wings.  No matter how many times we came to her with a problem or situation, my mom never directed our actions.  She may have made a comment or two about the situation, but she never told us what to do or tried to manipulate us into doing what she considered the “right” thing.  If we made the wrong decision, she let us fall and learn from our mistakes.  She was still mom, loving us without judgment and allowing us to become.

My mom sacrificed for us in ways that continue to impact our lives. I once asked her what was her dream career. She answered that at one point she wanted to be a nurse. That would have been the perfect career for her. She has a calm and comforting nature that others are drawn to and that would have been so beneficial in nursing. She chose, instead, to nurture the 10 of us into productive members of society.

I know, nowadays, we celebrate mothers who juggle family, careers, community obligations and still find time for themselves, but there was an incredible amount of security for us in knowing that mom was [still is] always there and would always find a way for the things we wanted/needed.

Besides qualifying for sainthood because she put up with us crazy kids, mom is a saint because she put up with my dad.  My dad is a wonderful person, but he and my mom are almost complete opposites.  He is always ready for a party while she prefers the quiet of home.  He spends a lot of time on Facebook baiting his friends and watching CNN and the other news channels while she sits quietly reading.  He loves long debates. She’s not having it.  She says “her piece” and nothing more.  She’s not having the back and forth for too long.  My dad goes on and on and on.

Mom and Dad in the early years.

Mom and Dad in the early years.

I think God chose my mom for us because only a person with her character and spirit could love us all to health and wholeness.  With her quiet spirit, she’s not easily unsettled, so people’s issues (read: craziness) don’t faze her.  She has a heart of gold and always sees the good in people.  She welcomes all and listens without judgment.  She is the embodiment of forgiveness.  She forgave our “wrongdoings” without making us feel rejected or small, and taught us how to forgive.  If we went to her with some “offense” committed against us, she’d basically tell us to shake the dust off our feet and move on.  That bit of her is so ingrained in me that I can’t hold a grudge if I wanted to.

My mom has a fierce, uncompromising faith that is simply inspiring. It is this faith that got her through the most difficult moments of her life and that prays her children through almost unbearable circumstances.

Of course, she’s not perfect–she is human after all–but I’ve not encountered anyone in my life whom I want to emulate more.

Happy Birthday, Mama, with all my love…

 

My Mailbox Speaks French: “Les publicités anciennes” (Old Advertisements)

Though my skills in other languages are minimal, my mailbox is multilingual. Just a few days ago I retrieved a happy envelope full of postcard goodies from France.  Louise of Drops of Everything sent me the package thanking me for a kindness.  Of course, this was unnecessary, but I’m learning not to stifle people’s desire to give or my mailbox’s right to be happy. 😉

Louise sent a note via Instagram letting me know that “a little something” was on the way. I had no idea what, but since I love surprises, I didn’t even try to guess. Therefore, I was thoroughly pleased when I opened the envelope and found five glossy vintage French advertisement reproductions.

The postcards are from a collection of vintage postcard reproductions.  I’ve done my best to find out more about the collection, but my French is beyond rusty (an understatement).  No matter. There was a lot of great information on the backs of the postcards.  The collection is called “Les Publicites Anciennes,” roughly translated “old advertisements.”

Reproduction of a beautiful lithographic poster executed about 1900 (anonymous author) for cocoa "Van Houten." Printing works F. Champeois, Paris. Source: private collection

Reproduction of a beautiful lithographic poster executed about 1900 (anonymous author) for “Cocoa Van Houten.” Printing: F. Champeois, Paris. Source: Private collection.

 

Reproduction of a famous and original charm-lithography of 1893 designed by the artist Firmin Bouisset for the "Chocolat Menier." Printer: Offices Camis Paris. Source: Private Collection.

Reproduction of a famous and original chromo-lithograph of 1893 designed by the artist Firmin Bouisset for the “Chocolat Menier.” Printer: Offices Camis Paris. Source: Private Collection.

 

Reproduction of an original chromo-lithograph of 1897 designed by the artist Firmin Bouisset for "biscuits Lu" (Lefevre Utile). Printer: Offices Camis Paris. Source: Private collection.

Reproduction of an original chromo-lithograph of 1897 designed by the artist Firmin Bouisset for “Biscuits Lu” (Lefevre Utile). Printer: Offices Camis Paris. Source: Private collection.

 

Reproduction of a beautiful chromo-lithograph produced at the beginning of the 20th century for Ets Vendors which at that time made "Calais" biscuits. Printer: F. Champenois, Paris. Source: Private collection.

Reproduction of a beautiful chromo-lithograph produced at the beginning of the 20th century for Ets Vendors which at that time made “Calais” biscuits. Printer: F. Champenois, Paris. Source: Private collection.

 

Reproduction of a famous illustration (first half of 20th century) produced by the artist Germaine Bouret (1907-1953) for the Paitissiers de face collective, found on pastry packaging and cake boxes. Source: Private collection.

Reproduction of a famous illustration (first half of 20th century) produced by the artist Germaine Bouret (1907-1953) for the Pâtisserie de face collective, found on pastry packaging and cake boxes. Source: Private collection.

Aren’t these delicious? And they arrived in time for the holidays. 🙂

It seems the postcards come from a collection “Les Authentiques et les Imaginares.” In my search for more information about the postcards, I discovered that there are a number of counterfeits of Germaine Bouret’s work and some vendors continue to sell the postcards even though it is illegal to do so.  I’m baffled by the lengths people will go to profit off someone else’s creative and intellectual property, but I’m curious about the Bouret counterfeits.  In my curiosity, I was led to an original sketch of the illustration above: Bouret Advertisement Illustrations.  In fact, on this site the particular collection from which this postcard comes was listed as an offender (but not this particular postcard).  Interesting, right? When time permits, I’m going to uncover as much as I can about this collection.

So…Louise, thanks for sending me a bundle of gorgeous postcards AND the unplanned intrigue!

 

There’s Something About Vintage Photography

Not too long ago, I printed an “oddly sized” photo with my printer that left me with top and side borders and a slightly larger bottom border.  Instead of trimming the borders, I  kept them and wrote a description and date at the bottom.  It reminded me of Polaroid prints. The nostalgic moment compelled me to purchase a set of vintage photo reproduction postcards from Amazon for pennies–literally.

Vintage Polaroid Postcards from Spectrum

“The Impossible Spectrum”

The collection is called The Impossible Spectrum Collection: 100 Instant-Film Postcards.  The postcards, as you can see from the image above, are simple and elegant, reminiscent of times long gone. The box sits on my desk and I look at the postcards almost daily.  There are two of each design in the box and I have been having a hard time sending any of them just yet.

Because of my recent obsession with vintage photos, I’ve been playing around with my own photos in various apps, adding vintage effects, and searching for an app that would make my photos look like Polaroid photos, frame and all.  Of course, no matter how much I try to “replicate” a vintage photo, there’s little I can do to fully capture the experience of what is now vintage photography.

My friend Cy, on the other hand, can.  She has this cool Argus 75 her grandmother gave to her many years ago. Before I even saw the camera, I decided I would feature it in a postcard design. So when she brought it to campus for a quick visit last week, I had a only few seconds between student conferences and classes to take some shots.  Jasmin, my student and mentee, was killing time in my office and kindly agreed to be my model.

The camera is the cutest! I captured at least 15 shots of it and then edited it in various apps.  Here are a couple of the ones I like best:

img_4652

Discovery: The Argus 75

I wanted the image to have a vintage feel, so I edited it in Snapseed using the retrolux effect.   This one (below) uses a different retrolux effect.

Discovery: The Argus 75

Of course, I had to create a landscape postcard with a different quote. I edited this one in Pixlr.

Vision: The Argus 75

Vision: The Argus 75

Jasmin and Courtney (one of my other students) weren’t impressed with the “vintage look.” They prefer little to no tampering with the original photo, so this was their pick:

Vision with Diamonds: Argus 75

Vision with Diamonds: The Argus 75

I don’t know much about vintage cameras, but I love the look and feel of them.  In my search to learn more about the Argus 75, I found a detailed blog post on the camera that featured some images shot with it.  If you, like me, are curious about the Argus 75, you can see the post here: Random Camera Blog: The Argus 75–Toy or Tool.  Or, if you just want to see shots captured with the camera, go to Argus 75 1958-1964 (also referenced on Random Camera Blog).

I’m seriously considering putting this camera on my Christmas wish list! 😉

 

Happy World Post Day!

I just found this gorgeous postcard in a stack of mail that came while I was away at a conference. Amy, Eclectonote on Swap-bot, sent this postcard for a World Post Day swap.  I almost forgot about World Post Day! Gasp!

Mailbox

Mailbox

The swap called for sharing postal-related postcards.  I

My “send-to” partner, Maria–who lives in Moscow–probably won’t receive her cards for a while, but when she does I hope she loves the postcard featuring the vintage postal boxes in our campus post office.  When I returned as a faculty member to my alma mater four years ago I was tickled pink that the mailboxes I knew as a student were still there!

Vintage Post Office Boxes, Photo by Me!

Vintage Post Office Boxes, Photo by Me!

My box was #57, so I made sure to include it in the shot.

World Post Day is celebrated on October 9.  According to the Universal Postal Union, its purpose is to “bring awareness to the Post’s role in the everyday lives of people and businesses, as well as its contribution to global social and economic development.” You can find out more on the UPI’s website.

I have a busy Sunday ahead of me, but that won’t stop me from taking a few minutes to write some happy mail!  Will you join me?

There’s Just Something About New Orleans: Vintage New Orleans Postcards

A few days ago, I received the latest vintage New Orleans postcard to add to my “vintage NOLA” collection.  I’ve received at least a dozen over the last couple of years via swap-bot swappers.

The linen postcards which follow measure approximately 3.5 x 5.5 inches. None of the postcards bear dates, so I can only judge the printing date by the postal instructions: “Place one cent stamp here.”  The cost to mail a postcard was one cent from 1898 to 1917, which means most of the postcards were printed during this period.

New Orleans Vintage Postcards Back

New Orleans Vintage Postcards Back

Like this one, each bears the line, “New Orleans–America’s Most Interesting City” on the back. Forgive my bias, but  I couldn’t agree more.

Courtyard, Little Theatre 616 St. Peter

Courtyard, Little Theatre, 616 St. Peter, New Orleans

From the postcard back: “Le Petit Theatre du Vieux-Carre” is considered one of the leading Little Theatres of the country.  It occupies the former home and courtyard of Don Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, the last Spanish Governor of Louisiana.  The courtyard is one of the most beautiful in the city.

Here’s another view of the Little Theatre Courtyard:

Courtyard of Little Theatre, New Orleans, Louisiana

Courtyard of Little Theatre, New Orleans

Here’s one of the iron lacework so popular in the French Quarter:

Lacework in Iron in Old New Orleans

Lacework in Iron in Old New Orleans

From the postcard back: These delicate lacework patterns in wrong and cast iron, characteristic of the Vieux Carre give the quarter of New Orleans its atmosphere of old France and Old Spain.

Jackson Square, showing the Cabildo, the St.Louis Cathedral, and Pontalba Apartments, New Orleans, Louisiana

Jackson Square, showing the Cabildo, the St. Louis Cathedral, and Pontalba Apartments, New Orleans

From the postcard back:  Jackson Square, originally known as Place D’Armes is a monument to Don Andres Almonester y Roxas, whose funds built the St. Louis Cathedral in 1794, and Pontalba Apartments, flanking the Square.  The building to the left of the religious edifice is the Cabildo, best known monument to the age of Spanish domination, and storehouse of historic treasures.  The building on the right of the church is the Presbytere, housing the Natural Science Division of the Louisiana State Museum.  In the center of the square is the Jackson Monument unveiled in 1856. Jackson Square has been well-preserved and is under excellent care.

Pirate's Alley, New Orleans, Louisiana

Pirate’s Alley, New Orleans

From the postcard back: Pirate’s Alley extends for one block from Royal Street to Chartres Street. Through this alleyway pirates were taken to the Cabildo Jail.  It is also known as Old Orleans Alley and separates the Cabildo from Old St. Louis Cathedral.

The Old Absinthe House, Bourbon at Bienville, New Orleans, Louisiana

The Old Absinthe House, Bourbon at Bienville, New Orleans

From the postcard back: The Old Absinthe House is one of the oldest buildings in New Orleans’ internationally famous Vieux Carre and was the headquarters, during the latter part of the 18th and the early part of the 19th centuries, of Jean Lafitte, the pirate-patriot of whose prowess and wrath volumes have been written.  Today, after the span of three centuries, it is still catering to connoisseurs and discriminating drinkers from every part of the world.

Napolean Bonaparte House, New Orleans, Louisiana

Napolean Bonaparte House, New Orleans

From the postcard back: The Napoleon Bonaparte House, situated in the heart of New Orleans’s famous View Carre or French Quarter, is located at the corner of St. Louis and Chartres Streets.  This building was erected with the idea of providing quarters of refuge for Napoleon Bonaparte after the bold plot in which the story says the noted LaFitte band of pirates was involved to kidnap him from exile in St. Helena and bring him to New Orleans.  The plot failed because Napoleon died before it could be executed.

March 2014 Incoming Mail-1-31

Fan Window in Governor Claiborne’s House, Toulouse Street, New Orleans

From the postcard back: In many of the old homes in the Vieux Carre, huge fan windows like this one, the finest n the city, na still be found.  Claiborne, the first American Governor of the territory of Orleans, was nominated on Friday, October 5, 1804.  In 1812 the territory of Orleans became the present state of Louisiana.

St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans

From the postcard back:  St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans, La.  Accommodating 1000 Guests.  A Dinkler Hotel. Carling Dinkler, Pres.

This postcard depicts the third St. Charles Hotel, built shortly after fire destroyed the second building in 1894.  The first building was also destroyed by fire–in1851.  See here for more information and images of the first two buildings.

Vintage New Orleans-5

Canal Street

From the postcard back: Canal Street, one of the widest, most beautiful, and best lighted streets in the world, is the center of all activities in New Orleans.

Azaeleas in Bloom.  City Park, New Orleans, La.

Azaeleas in Bloom, City Park of New Orleans

From the postcard back: One of the beautiful plantings of azaleas to be found in New Orleans. The city has recently completed a floral trail of over 25 miles in length, making thus one of the most colorful winter garden spots in the United States.

March 2014 Incoming Mail-1-37

Unloading Bananas, New Orleans

From the postcard back:  New Orleans is the world’s greatest banana port.  More than 700 ships arrive each year laded with 25,000 to 50,000 bunches of bananas.  Each individual bunch is carried from the hold of the ship tot he door of the refrigerator on mechanical conveyers.

These last few, though vintage, are a lot more recent than the smaller, brightly colored linen postcards above.

An updated image of Jackson Square:

Jackson Square, New Orleans

Jackson Square, New Orleans

And the Pontalba Apartments:

Pontalba Building, New Orleans

Pontalba Building, New Orleans

From the postcard back: Pontalba Apartments.  Built in 1850, the two red brick structures on either side of Jackson Square are believed to be the first apartment buildings in the United States.

Vintage New Orleans-4

Bourbon and Bienville, New Orleans

From postcard back: Crossroads of the historic French Quarter.  The corner is also the home of the Absinthe House.  Photo by Don Ceppi.

Vintage New Orleans-3

This postcard features postcard images I remember purchasing many, many moons ago when I was working on a project for my Louisiana History class (in junior high school).  Featured on the postcard are: at The Superdome, Jackson Square, Bourbon and Bienveille, Cafe Du Monde, Bourbon and Bienville signs, The Dickson’s Place, Lace Balconies, Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral, Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, St. Charles Street Car, and Aft-Deck Oyster Bar.

Judging by the postcards, the things that made New Orleans dear to the hearts of individuals nearly a century ago are still drawing individuals to the city today.

If these postcards have piqued your interest, take some time to look into the history of these buildings and sites of New Orleans. You will be intrigued.  There’s just something about New Orleans…

I’m not going to lay down in words the lure of this place.  Every great writer in the land, from Faulker to Twain to Rice to Ford, has tried to do it and fallen short.  It is impossible to capture the essence, tolerance, and spirit of south Louisiana in words and to try is to roll down a road of cliches, bouncing over beignets and needs and brass bands and it just is what it is–It is home.   –Chris Rose, One Dead in the Attic

 

 

Pause for a Poet

I’ve had a busy, busy week as I’m experiencing a major transition.  I thought I wouldn’t have time to post again for at least another two weeks, but today’s fun mail compelled me to pause and share.

I received three postcards today for bookish swaps, two from Eric, who typically sends two postcards. Every now and then a postcard makes me squeal with glee. This one certainly did.

Longfellow Home

Longfellow’s Home, Portland, Maine.

Perhaps, if you’re not a lover of poetry or of American poetry, you have no idea why this excites me. Maybe, you assume it’s because this is a vintage postcard.  That would be a great guess, but that’s not exactly it.  I thoroughly appreciate having this card in my possession, one that, as Eric pointed out, was printed just 30-40 years after Longfellow’s death.  So this truly vintage postcard adds to my excitement that this is a literary postcard that features a poet of old.  With the exception of reading Hiawatha last summer with my little one, I have not studied Longfellow since my graduate school days.  This was a a nice way to remind me to add him to my reading list.

The postcard back reads:

Longfellow’s Home.  The Longfellow Home, erected in 1785, is situated in the business center of the city.  The building and precious relics are in care of the Maine Historical Society, and is open to visitors.

Interesting (and irrelevant) tidbit–when Longfellow was born Portland, Maine was a part of Massachusetts.

Since the back is just as wonderful as the front, you might as well take a look.

Longfellow Home. Postcard Back

Postcard Back

Did you notice the postage? Take a closer look.

Longfellow Postage and Handstamped Postmark

Longfellow Postage and Postmark

My utter delight was magnified by Eric’s matching of the postage with postcard theme!  And don’t you love Longfellow’s portraits, all that beautiful wild, white hair?

The postcard took a little beating as it traveled through the United States Postal System.  Some people are bothered by the “damage done” to postcards sent “naked” through the mail, but I like the visible “scars.”  Something about them makes the postcard feel more “authentic.”

If you read the postcard, you’ll notice that Eric ends with a question:

If you had the choice, would you prefer being celebrated during your lifetime like [Longfellow] was or after like Dickinson?

Tough, tough question.  I’m on the fence.  My volumes–literally boxes full–of unpublished writings suggest that I subconsciously eschew the limelight.  While, perhaps, some celebrity would be tolerated, I’d probably be more comfortable with anonymity.  Posthumous popularity would benefit my family, I assume, and that’s a good thing. But beyond notoriety and (perhaps) financial gain, there’s also something wonderfully satisfactory about bearing witness to the light your work brings to others.

How would you answer?  Popularity while living or when you’re dead?

Think about that. I’ll leave you with a poem that I’m going to read tonight to my son–The fun-loving, mischievous daughters remind me of him.

The Children’s Hour by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Between the dark and the daylight,
   When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
   That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
   The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
   And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
   Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
   And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
   Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
   To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
   A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
   They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
   O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
   They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
   Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
   In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
   Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
   Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
   And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
   In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
   Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
   And moulder in dust away!