Sunday, June 16, 2024

Flea Market Postcards

Mailed from Singapore Airport, Jan. 2, 1964

"Malay Kampong, Malacca. The Malay word 'kampong' means village. Picture shows a poor Malay household doing their daily laundering around the community waterwell."

"Dear Alla: It's too hot, it's running down my back. All I want to do is sleep. It's much too hot to go shopping. We have all been down to Singapore at the week end staying with friends but I couldn't go out in the sun. So haven't done any shopping up to now. Been down the market at ten o'clock at night, the only time I've been comfortable. You ought to see George lying about in his shorts, he's lapping it up. Everybody fine here. When it rains it pours. Wendy lovely only half the size of Steven. Love from all here."

Mailed from TS/S (transport ship?) Stefan Batory, using a Polish stamp, Aug 17, 1970:

"Dear Mrs. Douglas & John, Enjoying our holiday on the ship very much, although it's not yet sunny enough for swimming or lazing on the deck. We've been dancing every day -- tonight we're going to the cinema. Food is marvellous & drinks very cheap. Hope you enjoyed your holiday. Love, Trish & Dave"

This ship was originally built in 1958 for Holland-America, which operated it for ten years as the Maasdam IV before selling it to the Polish government. It was renamed the Stefan Batory, for a 16th Century king of Poland, and continued operating as a cruise ship until 1990. It was briefly used to house asylum seekers in Sweden before being scrapped in Turkey in 2000. According to Wikipedia, Lee Harvey Oswald sailed with his wife and daughter from the Soviet Union to the USA on the Maasdam IV in 1962.

Mailed August 26, 1960 from Monte Carlo.

"Reflets de la Cote d'Azur: Monte Carlo. Le Casino et les terrasses."

"Dear Mum: Here we are Monte Carlo. They have just changed the guard and the sun is still hot. It was a beautiful drive from Finale. See you next Saturday. Gordon"

Written July 10, 1978, and mailed from Lusaka, Zambia

"Dear Mum: Two T/chests have gone today with my Polish china etc in. They will be delivered to you, but they are very heavy so don't you try lifting them. Perhaps you could just see they don't 'throw' them through the front door! as they do contain breakable things. I hope when they do arrive John will be there to lend a hand! Will be writing a letter later. Love, Shirle"


Yael said...

Lives of others. Who were these people? It seems that the people of the great world.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Interesting slices of other lives.

Sue in Suffolk said...

I'd never thought about old postcards of unknown people and places being interesting. but I see they are!

David said...

Intriguing slices of life! Tantalising suggestions of other people's doings. Whoever thought that would be interesting? Amazing.

Frances said...

When I volunteered at the Oxfam Bookshop we used to have old postcards and I spent ages one afternoon reading through a lot of cards from a father to his young daughter when he was away at war.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Fascinating and it is great you have rescued this evidence from and of another world. I saw postcards for sale in Portugal and wondered who buys them these days.

Bob said...

All those different kinds of trip in different kinds of places.

Ed said...

I like these better than the rescued pictures because they come with a slice of life of those there at that time.

Elle Clancy said...

I love these. My daughter sends me postcards whenever she travels, and sometimes just fun ones she picks up from home. It is a lovely, old-fashioned way to keep in touch, I think, when you unfortunately live far apart.

Ellen D. said...

These are so interesting, Steve. A person could create such stories in their mind from reading these! Thanks for saving these and sharing them.

Debby said...

I love these little glimpses of other lives in other places and days.

Tasker Dunham said...

The writers would later have returned home and lived the rest of their lives somewhere with their memories, which have then been discarded. I find it baffling how no one has wanted to keep them. Or perhaps like I do they have scanned them first. They could be from house clearances.

ellen abbott said...

I think the first one is my favorite. "It's too hot".

Sharon said...

These are fascinating. If the person who wrote the first card was from England, I can imagine that the heat of Singapore would be very hard to take. The story of that ship is also interesting. And, that last one sounds like someone is moving back to England after living in Zambia for a while. I wonder where that Polish china is today.

Allison said...

I miss postcards. When we went to the Vatican, we sent cards to our Catholic neighbors with the Vatican postmark on them. They loved that.

Kelly said...

I always enjoyed sending postcards and will still buy them occasionally. I love seeing these!

I stayed in an Inter-Continental Hotel in the early 70s. I think it was somewhere in Switzerland.

The Bug said...

I sent trunks home from Zambia too! But mine definitely did NOT contain china. Also, some friends and I had a "family" membership to the Intercontinental pool (that very hotel - this was in 1987, so I'm sure it was the same). We were Mr. and Mrs. Damawallace (although we were 3 single ladies). Ha!

Colette said...

Very nice.

roentare said...

The retro feel from these photos is the type I love the most. So much history and stories embedded in them

Susan said...

Little views in to the lives of others are always very interesting. And where are these people today?

Margaret said...

Very cool! I almost always sent postcards when I'm on a trip--just for a fun way to keep in touch. I'm sure the folks I send them to eventually throw them away so they will be lost forever, along with my "profound" words. LOL

River said...

They are beautiful. Postcards aren't seen much these days with everyone taking photos with their phones and emailing them. I have a few old ones somewhere from years ago when my mum visited Germany where she was born and Denmark where she visited the Lego factory. They are in a suitcase inside a bigger suitcase up in the top-of-wardrobe section so I can't get to them without a long ladder and help from someone with more upper body strength.

Steve Reed said...

Yael: It does make you wonder about all these individuals and where they are now.

Mitchell: I think so! Well worth a pound or two.

Sue: Oh, absolutely. I like postcards that have been sent much more than pristine ones.

David: They're like capsules of someone's experience, long ago and far away.

Frances: I've never seen them in an Oxfam shop! I should look!

YP: I haven't mailed a postcard in years. I honestly can't remember the last time!

Bob: People do have some interesting experiences, don't they?

Ed: Yeah, the narration gives a bit of context!

Elle: It's great that she still does that. This makes me want to send a postcard or two when we travel.

Ellen D: They sort of come with their own stories, don't they? I love reading other people's mail! LOL

Debby: Yeah, traveling in both time and space. It's fascinating.

Tasker: I suspect that's exactly it. Someone died and had no descendants, or none who wanted this stuff anyway, and it wound up in a flea market or boot sale.

Ellen: That first one really is a moaner, isn't it? LOL

Sharon: Yeah, I wonder if it all arrived safely! I find it fascinating that we can look up almost any ship online and find information about its past.

Allison: I bet they did!

Kelly: They were the fancy hotel chain throughout Africa, as I recall. I can't remember if I ever stayed in one. I did stay in a swanky Novotel in Abidjan once.

Bug: How funny! When I found this card I thought of you and wondered if you'd been to that hotel!

Colette: Thanks!

Roentare: Yeah, I love the stories. So many stories, all around us!

Susan: You gotta wonder! I imagine these are from an estate, so perhaps the main recipient is no longer with us.

Margaret: Modern postcards often look so cheesy, with overproduced graphics. I much prefer simple cards with a picture like these.

River: Yeah, nowadays it's so easy to personalize our greetings with e-mail. But there's something about sending a physical object from thousands of miles away, using a stamp, that's still pretty cool.

Jeanie said...

I collect old postcards and I just love reading the messages! I might have to do a post like this someday!

Ms. Moon said...

Just like messages from the beyond, aren't they?