Commentary, Military Postcards

Gory, Gory, what a Hell of a… National Airborne Day

Curtiss : C-46 : Commando

In honor of National Airborne Day, here’s a bit of dark paratrooper humor.

Presumably intended to instill proper respect for the grim dangers of jump school, Blood on the Risers has been sung by U.S. Army Airborne trainees since WWII and follows the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Have a listen.

Blood on the Risers

He was just a rookie trooper and he surely shook with fright,

He checked all his equipment and made sure his pack was tight;

He had to sit and listen to those awful engines roar,

“You ain’t gonna jump no more!”

(CHORUS)

Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,

Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,

Gory, gory, what a hell of a way to die,

He ain’t gonna jump no more!

“Is everybody happy?” cried the Sergeant looking up,

Our Hero feebly answered “Yes,” and then they stood him up;

He jumped into the icy blast, his static line unhooked,

And he ain’t gonna jump no more.

Continue reading “Gory, Gory, what a Hell of a… National Airborne Day”

Postcards

Greetings from the “Land Down Under” [1971 – Australia]

1971 Travel Postcard Image - Sydney, Australia lg

A description of jet-lag, the superb inflight service, and the quirks of Australian plumbing & electrical fixtures fill up this traveler’s early 1970s message back to the states.

1971 Travel Postcard Message - Sydney, Australia lg

Sydney, Aust. 7-14-71 2:45 A.M.

Hi Neighbors,

Greetings to you from the “Land Down Under.” I hope this reaches you before you leave. Here it is early morning & I’m wide awake (it is about 11:45 A.M. there on 7-13. It was an 18 hour flight down here on Qantas with excellent service – 1 stewardess & 5 men stewards to serve us. The weather here is sunny & bright even tho it is the dead of winter. Where we have the yellow pages in the phone book – there are pink & the hot & cold faucets are opposite ours & the light switches work upside down. The people are friendly. Have a good trip.

Sincerely, Walt Neiman

Sent to: Kalama, Washington

Postmark: Potts Point, Australia – July 14, 1971

Image: Sydney Harbor Bridge, view of Express Way and North Shore


Postcard Context

Qantas introduce the “Jumbo Jet” into their fleet in September 1971 (Qantas.com), just after the above postcard was sent. Take a look at this meal service.

Boeing : 747Image source: Flickr Commons https://flic.kr/p/7ZCzr7

Further Reading:

Daily Mail: The Golden Age of Australian Airline Travel

Save

Postcards

Greetings from Xochimilco [1920 – Mexico]

1920 Scenic Postcard Image - Xochimilco, Mexico lg

Reasons why I find this particular postcard fascinating:

  • Name: An addressee name I’ve never heard before: “Alphild” (a traditional Norse forname)
  • Uncommon date: Postcard popularity slowed in the 1920s, so this is one of the few I have from that decade.
  • Place: Xochimilco is a fascinating location. This postcard was sent before Xochimilco was incorporated into Mexico City in 1928, and retains its distinct identity today. Chinampa is the type of traditional agriculture practice here along the canals, and is a tourist attraction as well.
  • Content:  I always enjoy reading about how the sender got to their destination, and here William H. mentions a pleasant train journey. What a train ride to Mexico City must have been like in 1920 is fascinating to imagine.

1920 Scenic Postcard Message - Xochimilco, Mexico lg

Greetings from Xochimilco Mexico. Had a very pleasant train trip to Mexico City. The weather is Simply Magnificent. How was your trip home? And how is little Alphild?

My Best William H.

  • Misses Alphild & Evanna Larson
  • 5100 S. Cornell
  • Chicago, Ill
  • U.S.A.

Postmark: 17 April 1920 – Mexico


More about the location:

Xochimilco, Early 20th Century

Xochimilco, Mexico.

Ca. 1910-1919 Source: Flickr

Image from page 154 of

Further Reading: Xochimilco Wikipedia

Postcards

Too much English in Paris [1950 – Paris, France]

1950 Paris Notre Dame Image lg

It’s so much fun to imagine Rilla’s trip across the pond and stay in Paris (minus being surrounded by seasick passengers). I’m not sure whether I admire her desire to integrate herself into French culture, or if she’s instead a little self-impressed with her own mastery of the local language.

Here’s a bit of historical context: The French Line in the 1950s.

1950 Paris Notre Dame message lg

Sept 30, 1950

Dear Margaret,

The ocean trip was wonderful. I love the French line. The food was out of this world. 6 courses for each meal. I was fortunate enough not to be seasick in spite of a storm the first three days which got most everybody.

I love Paris, but haven’t seen many of the sights yet. I’ve been room-hunting for a place in a private home. There’s too much English spoken at the Maison Américaine, a dormitory where I am now. It’s very cold here. Write.

Love, Rilla

To:

  • Miss Margaret Paschall
  • Route 2
  • Clarksville, Tenn.
  • U.S.A

Postmark: Paris XIV Av du General Leclerc – Sept 30, 1950

Stamps: 5 franc & 10 franc

Save

Save

Save

Commentary, Postal History

Is National Air Mail Week still a thing?

It seems that the “National –insert cause here– Week” concept has been around for much longer than I thought.

At its introduction, one had to pay a premium for air mail service (24 cents) compared to regular first-class mail (3 cents). With the serious occupational hazards the first air mail pilots endured, I think the price was justified.

According to Edward A. Keogh, 1927, the earliest Air Mail service in the United States carried many more postcards than other type of mail, by a landslide, though the dates over which this tally was amassed is unclear.

Postcards 32,415 87%
Letters 3,993 11%
Circulars 1,062 3%
Total 37470

Though postcards are becoming rarer, we are now more dependent on air transport of mail than ever. How could we get our online purchases “over-nighted” without our packages continuing to take to the sky?


 

Side note: Philately is far too competitive for my taste, but I recently learned more about the famous “Inverted Jenny” stamp, the holy grail of stamp collectors valued at about $1 million. The stamp came about because of the rush to produce the 24 cent air mail postage. I much prefer the humanity that is revealed on vintage send postcards, but it’s also a hobby that’s much easier on the wallet than stamp collecting.

Postcards

Anne in Olympia [Washington, 1932]

Anne in Olympia, WA 1932 rw.png

For some reason I picture Anne as being very stylish. She definitely seems to be fond of hotel hopping.

anne-in-olympia-wa-1932-mw

Jan. 15, 1932

Hello John!

Just moved over to this hotel. It’s better looking. We have been having snow & plenty.

Toodle-lo

Anne

  • John O. Hunt
  • Tennessee City, Tenn

Postmark: Olympia, Washington – January 16, 1932

Image: Hotel Olympian, Olympia Washington – Western Hotels Inc.


More postcards from Anne to John:

Anne in Everett [1931, Washington]

Anne’s Boss [1932, Washington]

Postcards

Anne in Everett [1931, Washington]

anne-in-everett-wa-1932-rw

Anne is a girl with some spunk. I wonder what traveling around Washington State was like after the market crashed only a few years earlier. And she and whoever she’s with seem to get around with no trouble. And all these years later, we still talk about the weather.

anne-in-everett-wa-1932-mw

Hello!

How is the weather down there? We’ve crossed the Rockies now so we have no snow, but plenty rain & it’s cold.

Love, Anne

  • Mr. John O. Hunt
  • Tennessee City
  • Tenn.

Postmark: Everett, Washington – December 1931

Image: Hotel Monte Cristo, Everett, Wash. – Western Hotels Inc.


Other postcards From Anne to John O. Hunt:

Anne’s Boss [1932, Washington]

Postcards

Rabbits [Indiana, 1909]

Indiana 1909Indiana 1909 back

This postcard from Horace has pretty good penmanship and I find the spelling errors charming. I am curious what was going on with those rabbits, though.

-23 -09

Dear Karl – I am going to school and Rabbits are very [sharp?]. Mr. Jackson is common down for for Xmas. I hope you all hapy Xmas. And a hapy new yr.

Respectfully yours. Horace F. Budd.

To:

  • Mr Karl Reiman
  • 2635 Northwestern Ave
  • Indianapolis, Indiana

Postmark: December 24, 1909 – Morristown, Ind.

Save

Postcards, Uncategorized

Quiet Island Trip [St. Barts, 1974]

St Bart 1974 front

This postcard is somewhat standard for a vacation message sent to a friend, but I like to think there’s more than meets the eye.

I’m not sure Paula has embraced “island time” if she’s racing about, but it still sounds like a pleasant trip to the Caribbean. I wish I could join her on the lovely beaches with crystal clear water. Or, maybe she already has a companion that she’s too polite to mention, a well-tanned American gentleman with whom she’s enjoying the evening breeze and a rum cocktail on the weather-worn patio of an ocean side cafe. It’s the 1970s, after all.

St Bart 1974 back

To:

  • Mr./Mrs. M. H. Galbraith
  • 2217 Johnston Road
  • Columbus, Ohio 43220

Tues, Aug 20, 1974

Arrived here last Wed. after a rather quiet and not too interesting stay on Nevis. St. Barts is quite small but very lovely – good beaches and crystal clear waters. Weather has been fantastic, even if a bit warm. Most guests are French (and not overly friendly), but I have been able to meet some nice Americans. Have rented a car and am racing about. Love, Paula

Postmark: St. Barthelemy

Postage: Republique Francaise, 15 franc and 65 franc Stamps

Save

Postcards, Uncategorized

Managed to get to the show ok [1944, KS]

Colorado&Kansas 1944

Lloyd Marress WWII Postcard Series (#5 of 5)

I wonder if this soldier is writing to his mother or his wife. Either way, I hope the show was enjoyable, and that he made it home to see her in Tennessee.

Colorado&Kansas 1944 back

Friday Night (Saturday)

Dearest,

It surely is a [fine?] nite out here but I managed to get to the show O.K. Things are running as usual, still on the job. hope you are still O.K. I’ll write a letter soon.

Lots of Love

Buddy

Postmark: 9 AM April 9, 1944 – Topeka, Kansas

From

  • Cpl. L.H. Marress
  • 25th. Adr’m. SQ. (S).
  • Army Air Base
  • Topeka, Kansas.

To

  • Mrs. Gladys Marress
  • P.O. Box 114
  • Linden, Tennessee.

Other postcards sent by Lloyd “Buddy” Marress

 

Save

Save