From Twin Peaks to the Grand Canyon, it’s all in the mail

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"More on the Map" 2008 calendar

Thanks to K-Tea van Geel for sharing a copy of the “More on the Map” 2008 calendar from her new home in western Massachusetts. Each month, this calendar from Florence Savings Bank features antique postcards of local communities like South Deerfield, Hatfield, Williamsburg, Hadley, Amherst, Belchertown, and Granby enlarged and placed over sepia-colored map backgrounds. I liked the layout so much that it became this year’s calendar for my office. Filling the front cover is a two-part folded postcard for Easthampton, which looks “easterly from gymnasium tower” according to the caption.

A few months ago, I bought a container of Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt. On the protective inner foil lid, I spied a one-year subscription offer for Organic Gardening magazine if I sent in four of these proof-of-purchase lids. The yogurt proved tasty, so I continued buying this brand and met the free subscription deadline. A few weeks before the first issue arrived, I received this mailbox surprise: a recipe postcard for Organic Harvest Carrot Soup.

Being a collector of Last Supper postcards, I found this German postcard appealing as it combines the table setting with an Easter greeting. The card can be seen on the Austrian site www.osterkartenausstellung.at, which dubs itself the “world’s most famous exhibition of Easter postcards.” It sponsors annual Easter postcard exhibitions; this year, they’re scheduled in Estonia and Austria. The site shows Easter cards for such topics as colored eggs, curios like drunken eggs and a mandolin-strumming bunny, flowers, landscapes, religious and egg transportation. After checking my collection, I located this rendition but without the “Gesegnete Ostern” (Blessed Easter) greeting. Published in 1994, my example came from the National Book Store in Manila, Philippines.

As 2007 wound down, my husband George and I drove southwest through Illinois for our second visit to the state capital. We partook of First Night Springfield, an annual event that filled a cold New Year’s Eve afternoon-to-midnight with music, dancing and walking on treacherously slick sidewalks. The sponsors advertised 66 performers at 17 venues. We watched couples in 1850s-era costumes waltz in the Old State Capital (where Abraham Lincoln delivered his “House Divided” speech), marveled at a young juggler who kept aloft an axe, scythe and bowling ball at the local high school, sang along in a bank lobby with an Elvis impersonator and cheered for a troupe of exotically outfitted belly dancers at the arts center. Alas, neither the First Night celebration, nor the Inn at 835, our elegant and spacious bed and breakfast on Route 66, issued any postcards. However, I did find them elsewhere.

Springfield socialite Susan Lawrence Dana commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design her new home as a showplace for entertaining. For his first “blank check” project, Wright built a Prairie-style house that all but swallowed up her father’s Italianate mansion and for which no expense was spared. Started in 1902, the 35-room house on 16 levels was completed in 1904. Lauded as the most complete of Wright’s homes, it still contains 93 percent of his original oak furniture, fabrics and intricate art-glass windows and doors.

The Sumac Shop, in the former carriage house, sells 10 continental-sized postcards of Wright’s Dana-Thomas House. There are two views of the arched front entry; two of the house’s leaded glass including the famous sumac motif; two shots of the butterfly-inspired art-glass chandeliers; the Victorian room in which a fireplace from the original house remains; the gallery west end; the long duckpin bowling alley; and the living room where a double pedestal lamp is the centerpiece. Five years ago, Christie’s auctioned another such Wright lamp and it exceeded expectations, selling for $1,989,500. Amazingly, that’s nearly double what the state of Illinois paid for this entire house and its furnishings back in 1981. The 4 1/8-inch by 5 7/8-inch postcards cost 54 cents each but for all 10, send a check for $5.39 and an appropriately sized self-addressed stamped envelope with 58 cents postage affixed. Write Judie Hyde, Merchandising Director, Sumac Shop, Dana-Thomas House, 301 E. Lawrence Ave., Springfield, IL 62703.

Just outside the gates to Oak Ridge Cemetery where President Lincoln was buried in April 1865, is the Museum of Funeral Customs. It sells four postcards that picture the museum’s exterior, a horse-drawn hearse, a recreated 1920s embalming room and this replica of Lincoln’s black, fringe-lined coffin (it’s on the left side of a washed-out gray background which is actually a representation of his funeral). These four postcards cost $1.40 plus a SASE to fit their 4-inch by 6-inch dimensions. Write Museum of Funeral Customs, 1440 Monument Ave., Springfield, IL 62702.

GrandCanyon PC MarApr08.jpgThe Twin Peaks postcards described last time (PCC Jan/Feb 2008, page 10) really are limited edition. It was reported that groups of 12 would be enclosed with the first 60,000 sets of definitive gold box edition DVDs sold. Back in October, I started an amazon.com customer discussion based on these postcards. Three of the respondents commented that the set they purchased came without them. I’m indeed glad to have ordered early. Among the 61 postcards, I received numbers 1 and 61, which is Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) pictured here “dead, wrapped in plastic” as she was first seen in the series.

In the 1996 self-help book Make the Connection: Ten Steps to a Better Body – And a Better Life, Oprah Winfrey told about her yo-yo battles with losing and gaining weight. To celebrate completing her first half-marathon, she and Bob Greene (her trainer and co-author), Stedman (her longtime beau), Gayle (her best friend) and Beverly (her assistant) hiked for 5-1/2 hours down into the Grand Canyon. The next day, they discovered that the hike up was “twice as hard.” Even though she was pleased with her accomplishment, Winfrey wrote, “But next time, I’ll buy a postcard. Because let me tell you, the canyon looks exactly the way it does on the postcard. It’s no different. Those postcards are really good.” So here’s a good view of the South Rim from a photograph by Dick Dietrich on a postcard published by Impact.

Rochester PC MarApr08.jpgLast April, on the day I had to rent a car to drive to my Uncle Bill’s funeral, I awoke with a red, inflamed face that resembled severe sunburn. Since my route took me near the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., I figured that stopping at the emergency room was a good idea. Although unable to diagnosis my mysterious condition, a doctor prescribed some medication to reduce the facial swelling. For some reason, their pharmacy was sold out; I was instructed to go to the drugstore downtown. Not only did the friendly old-time pharmacy promptly fill my prescription but even better they sold me three different postcards of the local corncob-shaped water tower. Coming to town only for the clinic, I thought the corny water tower of Seneca Foods was a travel treat. The cards show the water tower during the day, at dusk and at night inside the shape of Minnesota. They cost 80 cents plus a SASE to fit the 4 1/8-inch by 5 7/8-inch postcards. Write Steve Williams, Eagle Drugstore, 23 Second St. SW, Rochester, MN 55902.

Zippy the Pinhead and Zazzle have joined forces to spread absurdity worldwide. Zippy is the creation of cartoonist and roadside satirist Bill Griffith. I don’t always understand Zippy and his obscure pop culture references, but I sure look forward to my daily email dose. You, too, can sign up at www.zippythepinhead.com or listen to Zippy songs, look for cartoons (under “strip search”) and select merchandise. Zazzle sells 10 Zippy postcards at www.zazzle.com. These glossy cards are priced at 95 cents each (plus postage) but the price lowers a bit if you order more. In 1979, Zippy coined “Are we having fun yet?” (a catch phase picked up by Barlett’s Familiar Quotations), which is printed on the reverse side of this “I am having fun” postcard.

“Never before – so much horror in one town!” exclaims the front cover of Capitol Hell. Especially conceived for the current election season, Capitol Hell revamps scenes from old black-and-white monster movies and transforms them into 24 scary political postcards. Storyboard and graphic-novel artist Pete Von Sholly satirizes the 2008 candidates from both parties. Thus a Clinton collector like me can smile at Bill and Hillary as the Clintsonsteins while followers of Obama can also find him as Fundraiser. Other postcards star John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Al Sharpton, Condoleezza Rice, Bill Maher and many more. Supporters of the presidents Bush can see them spoofed, too. Capitol Hell retails for $11.95 (plus postage) from the publisher’s online store where individual postcards are also offered for 75 cents each. Check www.deniskitchen.com.

Although showing its age, I could not pass up this black-and-white, deckle-edged photo postcard honoring the April 19, 1956 royal marriage of Hollywood actress Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier of Monaco, which at the time was dubbed “the wedding of the century.” I found this gem in a steel file cabinet filled with old postcards, photographs and miscellaneous paper ephemera at Prairie Archives, 522 E. Adams, Springfield, IL 62701. Thanks to my mail pal Gary Krueger, who regularly adds to my Last Supper collection, for the tip on this book store.

Paris PC MarApr08.jpgFor several years, I’ve sought Mona Lisa postcards, advertisements and movie moments to share with a San Francisco collector affectionately dubbed Mona Lisa Phil. In the off-beat 2006 French film Paris, Je T’Aime, she materialized in a most unusual way. Within five-minute segments, 20 different directors took turns fashioning little love stories each set somewhere in Paris. My favorite was directed by the Coen Brothers, who have used Steve Buscemi in eight of their films including Fargo (1996) and Miller’s Crossing (1990). As unnamed tourist Buscemi waits in the Tuileries Metro station, he innocently watches a couple embrace on the opposite platform. Separately they appear on his side. After she kisses Buscemi passionately, her boyfriend not only beats up the American but also empties his sack of souvenirs dumping Mona Lisa postcards all over Buscemi. For anyone intrigued by this film or collecting Eiffel Tower images, I have (courtesy of Jackie Ben-Efraim) a stack of double-sided promotional fliers. Interestingly, the backside text states that “the vignettes go beyond the postcard view of Paris.” I’ll mail one to you for the small effort of a note and SASE to fit this 4-inch by 6-inch card. Write Jennifer Henderson, 1610 W. Highland Box 23, Chicago, IL 60660.

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Stonyfield Farm organic yogurt postcard
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Last Supper postcard
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Frank Lloyd Wright's Dana-Thomas House postcard
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Museum of Funeral Customs postcard
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Twin Peaks postcard
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Grace Kelly/Prince Rainier postcard
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Capitol Hell revamps scenes from old black-and-white monster movies and transforms them into 24 scary political postcards.
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For this month's headshot, I posed in front of one of the weirdest signs ever. It warns that the "road ends in water" (specifically, the Ohio River in the distance). In June 2004, we photographed this sign in the vicinity of Louisville, Ky.

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