I have mentioned, hereintofore, that the postcard was the text message of the day, something quick and brief, which one could expect to get answered almost at once. Yet, in another way, the postcard was that era’s Instagram post or Tik-Took video, because it included a picture, and that picture, as we are often told, was worth a thousand words. This image (which, in the eyes of the post office and postcard collectors to this day, is on the BACK of the postcard, the address side being the business side) might tell people where you were or how you were feeling or just what entertained you.
And yet there are always those who have to push the envelope, and not just philosophers like Klarenc Mak, discussed in an earlier column. At the top of this one, you find an example of the Certificate postcard, an official document to let the recipient know he or she is now a member of a group invented by the postcard artist. (“Sons of rest” was actually a mythical brotherhood to which anybody who didn’t have to or didn’t want to work belonged; the joke is older than the various postcards which codified it.)
Obviously, such an organization had to be spelled out in some detail, so people understood what their rights and privileges were.
Even if the name of the society pretty much carried the full idea.
Another popular dictionary-inclined postcard was the Coupon postcard. Which had a tendency to flourish around Valentine’s Day.
But one of the champion word-users in the genre was a bit of free verse which developed from the autograph rhyme. Witticisms to be inscribed in the autograph album and, later, the yearbook, had circulated for generations, and not all of them were in the quick, brief spirit of “Remember Me When This You See”. The Linked List inscription grew wild until it found its true home on postcards. It did not often rhyme, though it did make use of a refrain, which poets of the period liked to use at the end of every line or stanza.
This one was popular enough to call for a second version, aimed at the opposite sex.
As well as sequels with a slightly different angle.
Yes, frankly, I DO believe the recipient would actually read through every word of the printed text, interpreting it, of course, in light of whatever message was written on the other side: sometimes the card expressed the inner hopes of the sender and sometimes it was simply a shared joke. Sometimes, as noted in the lines, the sender signed no name and sent no message, and how that worked out, one can only, well, wonder.