“Will write a letter soon…Mother”

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Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: Sometimes I wonder about photos like this – in person it appears to be a homemade photo postcard, although the image did strike me as potentially professional. The bow on the cat, the reflection below – but then again, it is so poorly printed, over exposed and under-developed (Kim has actually given it a bit of a lift in Photoshop and darkened it some). There is the sense that it was some sort of pre-made card with the image supplied by the individual. What a fine looking fellow (or girl?) this is! Such a nice bow and well-defined stripes – if you look carefully you will note an extra toe on the left paw. I have written before about my polydactyl cat, Winkie, (blog post Tom the Bruiser and Good Doggie) and I have long held the view that they are special indeed. (You may remember I mentioned that Winks actually taught herself to use the toilet – my mother woke me up one night to show me and to make sure she wasn’t imagining it.)

For me it is always surprising when someone uses a photo postcard like this and does not refer to the image. You know, “Here’s Kit and we miss you…” sort of thing. Strange. I guess it went without saying that this was Kitty. Did a pile of these sit on her desk? Was it the only one? Instead she has written (sans punctuation), We are all well will write a letter soon hope you are well and having as good weather as we are Mother. It was mailed from Newport on December 18, 1905 at 9:30 AM and received in Louisville, KY on December 20 at an AM time I cannot read. It was addressed to Mr. J. Herbert Shaw, 2510 First Street, Louisville, Kentucky. (Today Google earth shows that as an extraordinarily anonymous brick building, although on a leafy street. I will spare you the image however.)

This postcard lived in a time of US residential mail delivery twice a day – businesses four times. (In Victorian England mail delivery peaked at 12 times a day! Not a wonder that so many postcards come from Britain.) The second residential mail delivery was dropped in 1950. While email today has taken a huge bite out of mail – certainly postcards are an anachronism let alone letters and occasionally those cards I send do take a week to travel from New York to New Jersey – the chattiness of early letters and postcards has returned with email. The snippets of news that my mom and I pass back and forth with our, mostly evening, emails reminds me a bit of these newsy missives. More immediate and without the middle man delivering – but sometimes even with photos of Cookie and Blackie, the grandkits!

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