What's on the Back?
A big part of the fun of postcard collecting is the automatic license it gives one to be a snoop, a voyeur.... to blatantly pry into the lives of strangers. The “fronts” of postcards may contain pretty pictures, but the “backsides” of the cards invite you into a whole interesting world of their own. After all, in how many other hobbies you get to read other people’s mail?
Every postally-used card holds a story. The stories are seldom exotic, are usually short and to the point, and rarely reveal anything wicked or titillating. Yet, the tales they tell, in as many words as the writer’s penmanship style permits for such a small space, can be illuminating, educational, and even sometimes heart-wrenching. My Route 66 postcards let me in on little bits of the writers’ lives as they travel across the country at different times and under diverse circumstances. I learn much from the few words I read. I am transported back to the time of the writing, and the small bits of information I glean from these jottings add to the big picture of what travel on the Mother Road was really like back when it was the main thoroughfare through the West.
You’ll see what I mean. Instead of any more explanation, I’ll just let you read a few from my Oklahoma and Missouri collection for yourself. And check back again, because periodically I will change the postcard messages on this site.
“Free garage under same roof. Air conditioned in summer, steam-heated in winter.”
October 1940 --
Long but pleasant all day drive across the panhandle of Texas to the capital of Oklahoma. Country so much prettier than I expected. Foot not bothering me (much) and sweet Packard her old dear self. On to Tulsa to morrow. This place opposite the capitaland was a surprise here. Fred
“11 cabins, completely modern”
June 1953 --
Amarillo, the Panhandle, Oklahoma City to Tulsa -- and no cowboys. In fact, no cows. I guess this drought is killing ‘em all. Love, Frank
Dear Folks, Made about 400 miles again today. Will be travelling on Highway #66 to Williams, Arizona. Scenery did not amount to much to-day. Staying an a nice tea room with rooms for tourists to-night. Had guinea for dinner. Was not quite so cold to-day but snow is predicted for tomorrow. Love, Marion
Sept. 1961 --
Dears, We just came over this bridge. Coming back, we intend to bypass this dumb bypass!! It’s all torn up and took up 1 3/4 hours to go about 30 miles -- and it is about 95 degrees in the shade only we can’t find any shade. Finally found an air-cond. Holiday Inn with a soda fountain and Mobil 24.9 cents/’gal. Whee! Love and Kisses, G and M
Greetings! Boy, are we having the weather. Last Saturday in Port Lavaca I bought a pair of shorts and have been wearing them every day for travelling (except for Sunday) since then. Hope we’ll have a house full of furniture when we get home. Usually start travelling around 6 in the morning and stop at suppertime. Awfully hard to roll out at 6!! With Gum Drops, Irma and Bud
“A ‘Class A1’ Motor Court for motorists who demand the best. Popular haven for women and children. Open year round.”
Dec. 1946 --
Arrived here 6:30 pm. and from here on will be stopping in these motor courts. I wish you could see how lovely they are and we step out one door right into the heated garage and car. The trip through the Ozark Mts. today was very interesting. Came across the state of Missouri. It is down to 12 degrees tonight. Had snow squalls but not bad . Is clear and moonlight tonight. Wish you would all keep the cards I send. I can’t carry more things with me. Love to all, Mary
“At the Crossroads of America -- 14 units each with tile shower, floor furnace heat thermostat control, air-conditioned, Beautyrest mattresses -- television and garage. Good Cafes across street”
Here we are for the night. $6 for nice room, two beds. We’ll get up early and start out. Jan has to fix the car. No lights. Otherwise we are O.K. In Haste... Mom
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Route 66 | What's on the back?
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