Sun ‘n’ Fun

     I am, of course, the first philosopher in the history of mankind to observe this but, man, things used to be easier.  In grade school, I was taught every year that autumn began on September 22.  This was not especially, um, true, as it depends on certain phases of the moon and other useful data, so sometimes it was September 21 and occasionally even September 20, but our teachers were going for information which could be easily assimilated, and I was taught that seasons always began on the 22d.  Even then, we felt that summer really ended on the first day of school, while today, we are told that Meteorological Summer ends August 31, while businesses and society generally in the United States end summer with the Labor Day weekend.  It’s a matter of holiday convenience, since summer “starts” on Memorial Day weekend.  (In my days at the Book Fair, we discouraged donations between these two holidays, thinking that would be easy to remember.  The number of people who somehow worked the Fourth of July into this….)

     In any case, I thought we might bid bye-bye to the summer of 2022 with a glance at vacation postcards.  After World War II, most individuals sending postcards did so to show people they were out of town.  The quick communication offered by a postcard were superseded by the telephone and, anyhow, the Post office had pretty much dropped having two mail deliveries a day.  But a postcard was still cheaper than a long-distance call.  (Those of you who are confused by the phrases “long distance call” or “mail delivery” may stay after class.)

     Many of these postcards involved pictures of the sights you were seeing (this, plus the postmark, verified that you HAD actually been there.)  Others stressed what fun you were having.  But, um, there were others.  Lots of others.

      Some, like the one at the top of this column, and the one below, stressed, and I do mean stress, how hard it was to set out on the fun-filled trip.

     Others referred to the joys of experiencing nature in whole new places.

     Please refer to previous blog about mosquitoes for much more on this subject.  Not that our ancestors neglected other insect encounters.  (I am NOT going to do a blog on all these hotel bedbug postcards.  I am NOT.)

     There were plenty of postcards dealing with other sources of excitement.  A vacationer weas in peril in the forest

     On a stream

     Or even at the beach.

      The whole experience was obviously one of fun and frolic unconfined.

      The end of the vacation was practically a relief, provided you could deal with the exhaustion.

     And it wasn’t just your energy that was exhausted.

     To some people this was an elderly joke, but to others it was stark reality.

     One postcard artist came up with this mathematical equation to calculate the whole experience of a summer vacation.  This was immediately copied by dozens of other artists at other companies, so perfectly does it express the dark side of summer.  Well, anyhow, see you in September.

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