Dated October 9th, 1968, this postcard from Florence makes me jealous as well as nostalgic for a time I’ve never known. Hailing from Dayton, OH, Vivien cruised the Mediterranean, and this postcard back home to Noie tells that she has spent a week in Florence, acquainting herself with just about every 13th,14th, and 15th century artist she could. She is on her way to a week in Naples, after which the ship departs for the coast of Africa, then Turkey, Greece and Yugoslavia.
My wife is reading 1968 by Mark Kurlansky, a book that paints a picture of turmoil, resistance and unrest worldwide during that pivotal year. I guess someone had to be takin’ it easy, right?
It’s gonna be OK.You’re going to be OK.
From mystery reader Leilian - “Books are educational adult”
Snapshot, on the back of which is written:”Hockey Hall of Fame” Toronto, ONT 07/01For me, it’s the Hall of Shame!”How sad.
Their large, irreverent friend Chip always has to do something stupid in thevacation snapshots, doesn’t he? In the Vatican it was rabbit ears behind the Pope, and now this.
This hand-written agenda is hard to read, I know. I’ll fill in the highlights of this strange,cascading Pride Week schedule: “beach”, “beach”, “beach”, “beach et al”,culminating on Saturday with the entry “gay”, followed directly by “leave.”
That’s a mighty big banner the happy couple made, but their cat does not look impressed.
Billy, how strange that your levitation skills have waned so precipitously?Billy, how strange that your legally blind grandfather just drove by?Billy, how strange that your lesson plans include french kissing?
Lindsay, if you’re reading this, I completely agree, and I think this is a very good book report. I especially liked the middle part, where you talk about his time in the RAF. Exciting!
“How is this object like my life?My lifeis a frazzleslinkynervesjumbled togetheron the BlueBirds back.”
This ticket stub for The Museum of Communism in Prague brings back a memory of my time there with my wife on our honeymoon. As you enter the building that houses the small Museum you find yourself ascending a red-carpeted grand staircase that divides itself at the first landing. The sign on the left points the visitor to the Museum of Communism, the sign on the right to the casino.
Jess, we’ll always have that short film about the Velvet Revolution. I love you more today than when we learned about so-called Socialist Realism under Stalin.
For those among us who remember that terrific little cookbook shop that was oncejust around the corner, here’s a bookmark from the good old days.
COOOOOL, we found an insert that fell out of Yogi Berra’s “Get To Know Your Yankee Clubhouse” information packet, which used to be presented to all rookies during orientation weekend.
Big interview at the State Department. Poor kid loses his checklist. Misses his chance to be a spy.Probably better off.
J. Titov from the past? from the future? maybe j. will return one day and take me with him.
“Leah, You are the beautiful urchin that lights up my day.”
This newspaper headline is enticing - “Trojan War Portrayed with Over 100 Pupp”Puppets? Puppies? Puppeteer Activists? We’ll never really know.
“UGLY CHAT”“My Daddy owns a Dealership!”“I Have a fat face”
This Grateful Dead trading card features Phil Lesh, and says, “These days he spends most of his time being happily married and the father of two handsome sons, Graham Hamilton and Brian James. He also works on encouraging the development of out-there jazz and contemporary classical music on a monthly program called “Rex Radio” on the Berkeley station KPFA.”
“Book Mark, Courtesy of Reuter’s Soap, for the Complexion and Toilet”
This is a picture clipped from a newspaper, headlined “Kennedy Spares the Life of a 55-Pound Gift Turkey” with a caption underneath that reads, “Charlie, one of the Kennedy pets, taking a judicious look at the big turkey yesterday.” Perhaps what is most noteworthy about this find is that someone clipped the picture, glued it to a piece of brown paper, dated it, and strung a piece of yarn through the top so they could display it. On the back of the paper is written, “This ‘picture’ hang in my office. 1/14/89.” Folks, someone kept this picture for TWENTY-SIX YEARS.
This week we found a little ad for a Lobster resaurant, which isn’t very noteworthy until you notice that it’s in the heart of Puerto Vallarta. Lucky for us Yanks, the host, Benito, speaks English. And he’ll give us a free drink, or 10% off.
The UBC find of the week is a postcard of the U.S. Custom House in Boston. It was mailed in March of 1943 from a Lieutenant to his mother in New Hampshire. It reads: “Cleveland. For now no news to report. Cold along the line, but not snowing now. Train running about an hour late. Nice night’s sleep. Was glad to see Bellis and to have her go back with (??). Enjoyed seeing you all. Love to Walter and you both. Roger.”
“She had the experience of an older woman, the morals of a she-wolf - and a whole high school for her wanton playground!”
The morals of a she-wolf?
This week we found a page from an old encyclopedia which describes the Chinese Water Deer. Genus Hydroptes: Among the tall reeds fringing the banks of the Yang-tse-Kiang, there occur numbers of a small deer differing from any of the species hitherto noticed in that while both sexes are totally devoid of antlers, the males are provided with long scimitar-like tusks in the upper jaw, as shown in the figure on the next page.
I’m guessing this made the Chinese remake of Bambi a lot more interesting.
This index card is like some Johnny Carson-esque enigma. Why would somebody write these two things on either side of the same card? And what does it mean? And where are they now?
This is a subscription card for Nursing Made Incredibly Easy. Excuse me? Raise your hand if you’d want someone sticking a needle in your arm who subscribed to Nursing Made Incredibly Easy. My hand is not up.
This scribbled-down phone message comes with the clarification that the “so” is “more a needle pulling thread than a fifty.” I wish all phone messages came with footnotes from classic Broadway. Although technically, the syllable that the von Trapps define as “a needle pulling thread” is “sol” in musical terms, and “sew” in linguistic terms. Basically the clarity of this messge is spiraling out of control.
I chose this picture as the find of the week because it is a very Tolstoyan scene - two women working side by side in a field - and Saturday was Tolstoy’s birthday. What’s strange is that the message written on the back is a congratulatory note to two newlyweds. Who would give a picture of two people doing manual labor to newlyweds? Tolstoy, that’s who. Happy Birthday, Lev.
“Mummy arrive au QueenMardi 8 septembre…episode n 1”Le Queen is a club on the Champs Elysees, according to the back of the card,and this woman must be their DJ.
This week we found an old book cover printed for Harvard University in 1947. The front has a picture of John Harvard (I’m assuming, and if I’m wrong I’m sure I’ll be rightly e-flogged), and the back carries an ad for Old Golds ciggies. “We give medical claims the old soft shoo!” it says, “But Old Golds always give you a TREAT instead of a TREATMENT.” This makes me nostalgic for the simpler times when Harvard would condone ignoring scientific testing in favor of nicotine (perhaps because the scientists were women).
I’m assuming this is the picture he sent in with his application to be one of Bob Barker’s Beauties.
This is an advertisement for a Weldon Roberts Tri-Ply eraser, which can eraser typewriting and ink as well as pencil and carbon copies, and even has a built in whisk to brush away eraser crumbs. “Tools of Expert Workers.”
This guy looks upstanding.
This week’s find is a small flyer for a revolutionary new woman’s brief - Be-Free, the only “patented for comfort” brief of its kind! “ The listed garment features are:-Perfect fit - 4-way stretch-Perfect freedom-Skilled workmanship-Laboratory-tested, quality fabrics-Elastic guaranteed to “Stay-on” for life of garment-Nylon seamed for longer wear!
Won’t ride! Won’t bind!
Someone, apparently a Pasternak aficionado, had these two newspaper clippings from the 1960s tucked into their books. The first is about the struggle of Pasternak’s friends to hide their devotion to him from the Soviet police after his death, and the second is about the Italian ex-communist editor who published Dr. Zhivago in Italy even though it was going to be banned in Russia.
One one side, a Mr. T logo; on the other, “Buy a gift at the Shopping Center for your overseas pal.”
Beachgoers and Bird Coexist: A Snapshot
In our UBC Find of the Week, a photograph, a moderately well-dressed man stands idly in front of a copy machine and recycle bin.
Our UBC Find of the Week is a page from a This-Day-In-History calendar. It informs us that Britain’s first census was conducted in 1801, and some of the answers to “rank, profession or occupation” were:- artificial scone-maker- decayed publisher- emasculator- rust attendant at lavatory- proprietor of midgets- beef-twister- separated from head- fatuous pauper- fifty-two years an imbecile- examiner of underclothing- knocker-up of workpeople- supposed to be a lady- sampler of drugs- hand in Hartley’s Jam- turnip shepherd- gymnast to house painter
Our UBC Find of the Week is a postcard described as “Beach Party, 1950s.” I am including it here for two reasons. One - somebody obviously bought this postcard quite some time ago and never wrote a single thing on it or sent it. Apparently they just thought the aesthetic value was that high. Two - I thought it might be educational for all of us to think about what “summer” is supposed to be like. All the pleasant activities they’re enjoying - wearing skimpy outfits, grilling and eating outside, holding their arms straight above their heads, tossing a beach ball - are possible because of what is termed “nice weather.” In the event that the heavens are not relentlessly pouring buckets of water on the earth for weeks at a time, people have been know to enjoy the out of doors, and pursue activities that will keep them there as long as possible. I will understand if this concept is too foreign for you to grasp, but in the meantime, mull over these images and try to expand your understanding.
Our UBC Find of the Week is a Pedigree Certificate from Hudson Kennels in Hudson, MA. The certificate was completed for a Boston Terrier whelped in August 1935, and includes the dog’s name, sex, stud-book number, color, and breeder. The certificate also lists the dog’s lineage back to its 16 great-great-grandstuds and granddams. I can decipher almost none of these names, but I believe one of his great-great-granddams was named Ben Horton’s Peach, and his dam’s name was Silk. The one piece of information conspicuously missing from the certificate is the dog’s owner, who apparently held Boston Terriers in very high esteem because they kept the proof of pedigree tucked into their copy of The Ideal Boston Terrier, described above.
Our UBC Find of the Week is a postcard mailed on April 30 1953 from New York, NY. Mary wrote to her friend Annie, “This sky line looked very nice when we came into the harbor. (Staten Island Ferry) Saw 9 TV shows already - besides Radio City Music Hall. Have tickets for Guys & Dolls. Will need a rest after this vacation.”
I’m fascinated by Mary’s recounting that she’d seen 9 tv shows. Would this be because she didn’t have a tv at home and was watching television for the first time in her hotel? Or was she visiting tapings? Either way, at least she didn’t have to put up with prescription drug commercials. And I hope she enjoyed Guys & Dolls.
Our UBC Find of the Week is a little pamphlet put out by Filenes that illustrates the Arlberg Technique, “the only correct ski technique.” It illustrated 5 dry ski exercises, so that you can practice your form from the comfort of your living room. You can perfect The Schneepflug while not missing one episode of Lost! Each page includes an illustration of how to practice the posture by yourself, how the posture would look on skis, and a disastrous example of someone who obviously did not practice enough. Full of helpful tips like “It’s all in the knees!” this pamphlet will ensure that, with careful practice during the warmer months, you’ll never fall on your face again
Our UBC Find of the Week is a traffic violation issued on August 17 1968. Although prosaic and overly civic-looking at first, a delightful little piece of history unfolds when you piece together the details. The first thing that struck me as odd was that the operator is listed as William Groper, but the owner of the car is Joyce Groper. Wouldn’t the car usually be listed under the man’s name in 1968? Ah, but then I saw that William’s date of birth was May 31 1951. Seventeen years old and driving mom’s white Mercury through a red light at 10.05pm - boys will be boys. To add insult to traffic violation, William’s license had been issued on July 3 1968. Oh, Willie, you have a license for 6 weeks and you’re already running reds. Luckily, Captain Gordon McMullin was sympathetic to the boy and let him off with a warning. Not that a real ticket would have been tragic, however, as we can see from the back that the fine for this violation is $5. Five lonely bucks.
To answer burning questions such as, “What is the difference between jelly, jam, and marmalade?” our UBC Find of the Week is a pamphlet of recipes from Elderberry Jelly to Rhubarb & Strawberry Jam put out by Certo Fruit Pectin in 1974. I’ve made my own applesauce, but that’s about as far as me and homemade fruit products go. Perhaps that is because I’ve never had Certo, which appears to be the key ingredient to all 61 recipes.
Our UBC Find of the Week is dedicated to those of you who will spend Friday night doing your taxes. The front is a typed note, dated Monday April 14, 1975, which reads, “Dear Pat - Here are a couple of the form you are missing - the Federal Tax Form. Please fill one out and return it to the Art Dept. Humanities Division (rest of address is on envelope). Your check will then be processed and sent to you at NIH.” Let’s hope Pat got that check 31 years ago, and that all Pat’s Federal Tax Forms are in line.
Pat obviously had other things on his/her mind, though, because on the back of the note is a shopping list, which lists
Doesn’t seem like Pat really had Federal Tax Forms on the brain that April.
Our UBC Find of the Week is cut out from the October 6, 1940 New York Times. On one side is a series of 3 pictures of “Glories of the Ancient World.”
On the other side is a layout of pictures from the World’s Fair. They show a man being shot out of a cannon, members of the Art Students League painting bathing-suit clad models at the Perisphere, and a group of motorists raing early model cars in the Court of Peace.
Underneath them is an advertisement for Beech-Nut Coffee, illustrated with a picture of Mrs. Pat O’Brien sitting at the breakfast table (in her wedding dress?), exasperated at her husband’s dislike of their mediocre coffee. Buy Beech-Nut Coffee today!!!
Our UBC Find of the Week is a little unique this time around. Usually we find scraps of paper, photos, old bookmarks, et cetera, but this find came inside a tub of books. The customer dropping it off was rather eager to get rid of the tub en masse, citing a “breakup thing.” So we took the tub of books, and lo and behold in the bottom was this Kirkland holiday bears Christmas ornament collection. These holiday bears are playing Santa, pushing strollers, eating apples, riding a sawhorse - you name the zany fun, these bears are having it.
The things is, we’re not Christmas Bearsmith, and we really don’t need these ornaments. So if you’d like to give these eight delightful bears a home for the holidays, come in and get ‘em.
This particular UBC Find of the Week is extra close to my fiction-lovin’ heart, because I found it last night in a copy of Ghostwritten by David Mitchell that I had recently picked up in the UBC. David Mitchell is far and away my favorite author writing today - he makes me believe in fiction again. I strenuously suggest you read Ghostwritten, Cloud Atlas, and the soon-to-be-published Black Swan Green. But first enjoy this little poem, written down and tucked between the pages of Ghostwritten.
“If only, if only,” the woodpecker sighs,”The bark on the tree were as soft as the skies.”While the wolf waits below, hungry & lonely,crying to the moon, “if only, if only.”If only, if only, the moons speaks no reply;Reflecting the sun & all thats gone by.Be strong my weary wolf, turn around boldly.Fly high, my baby bird, my angel, my only.
Please join me in loving our UBC Find of the Week. This little square(esque) scrap of wrapping paper was obviously cut out to be used as a gift enclosure tag. The paper is cute, and the cutting job quaintly abstract, but I love the inscription on the other side.
“To: IMT; From: A bunch of folks who like to run around on stage in underware.”
A) The irony that the wrapping paper shows little kids bundled up for the cold, and the inscription is about being in underware.
B) The suspicious lack of the word “their” in front of underware. These folks are running around in underware, but it might not be their own.
C) Who/What is IMT? A person’s initials? A government organization? A secret club?
Luckily, we have a clue. This note was actually found in Ballet Art, the book I described a moment ago. Presumably, these were ballet students taking a self-deprecating jab at themselves. Ballerinas can be so wacky.
The UBC Find of the Week is this postcard from Atlantic City. It seems harmless enough - the blue sky, peaceful seashore, “Greeting from Atlantic City, N.J.” But I find the picture a bit troubling. It appears that the little tyke has pushed someone underwater, and is doing nothing about it other than waving her hands in some sort of fluster. The bottom of the card says, “Hoping to see you again soon,” and Andrea theorizes this is supposed to mean that the girl who pushed her companion underwater hopes to see them again soon - i.e. hopes they don’t drown. Don’t you find this troubling? Why doesn’t she lend a hand? Why can’t the person get up? Nothing says “I’m in Atlantic City and I miss you” like “Oops, I think I just drowned someone, I’ll wave.”
On September 2, 1941, however, someone thought this card was quite appropriate and mailed it to Walter in Chester, PA. It cost $.02.
At first sight, our UBC Find of the Week is just a plain pink paper placemat. An alliterative treasure, I grant you, but nothing to put in a hope chest. Really just a pink placemat.
But then on the back, we find hand-drawn guides to musical conducting for a variety of time signatures, expressivo and non-expressivo. One wonders if two men, slightly bored at an 8-year-old girl’s birthday party, began to debate over the best way to conduct Canon in D.
Our first UBC Find of the Week is this business card from a restaurant in Paris. My high school French doesn’t permit me to tell you the name of it, but I can tell you that “Restaurant de Poissons” means Fish Restaurant. Whether this is a restaurant that serves fish to its patrons, or a restaurant where fish are its patrons is unclear, especially because of the large fish, with a red waistcoat and general look of savoir faire, pictured eating from the lavish table.
But, according to the map on the back, there are three convenient locations in the city of lights! If you ever go there, drop me a line and tell me how it is.