A Fifth Sunday Special
July 29, 2022
What’s the old expression about time flying when you’re having fun? Here at the editor’s desk at Postcard History, it is Fifth Sunday again. Already! Only two months ago we examined three “very odd” advertising postcards that featured soap, cigarettes, and golf clubs.
In any given year there are always four or five Fifth Sundays. These are the days when we examine postcards unrelated to most of what we collect, which makes them as unusual as fifth Sundays.
The latest odd postcard search has turned up one American card postmarked 1909, an unused, undivided back German postcard, and a divided back Egyptian card most likely from the 1930s or early ‘40s.
The word “tenderfoot” first appeared in English in the mid-nineteenth century. It is a truly American word, closely related to the British term, greenhorn. In or around 1849 the word started to appear in newspapers from Western cities when ranchers, cowboys, miners, and range hands were featured in the news and gossip of the era.
The word is one of the few that has as many as twenty synonyms. Some of which being words that are now so antique that modern dictionary publishers have designated them an NLU – No Longer Used – such as abecedarian, neophyte, rook, and tyro.
Greetings From a Tenderfoot was copyrighted in 1905 by H. H. Tammen. The illustration is a watercolor that exhibits a high degree of skill. Generally, it is a charming and realistic depiction of a foot that has been so abused that the viewer can almost feel the pain and ache of its owner.
Im fluge durch die welt.
In a somewhat classic case of poor-timing, Postcard History’s resident language expert is on vacation in Europe. Since an expert translation is unavailable, we will rely on Google Translate to decipher the German title, it means, “flying through the world.”
The illustration is likely a watercolor or colored pencil drawing of a glorious sunrise where the first rays-of-the-day fall on what may be an island in the eastern Mediterranean or the delta of the Nile River. An oasis and a sphinxlike sculpture await what may be just another day in their thousand-year-old history.
The quite primitive planimetric map of six continents suggests that North and South America, Africa, and Australia (all shown in pink) have something in common. Europe in white suggests that much has been learned about that area but unexplored regions still exist. Asia and Asia-Minor in green suggests that the area is primitive, uninhabitable, but still worthy of further study.
Why only six continents? Remember the card has an undivided back which means it was made prior to 1906 – 1907. Remember too, that Robert Peary, Robert Falcon Scott, Admiral Richard Byrd, Sir Ernest Shackleton, George Washington DeLong, Admiral George Wallace Melville, and Dr. Frederick Cook were only in the planning stages of exploring the earth’s polar regions at that time.
The tail of this tale is bewilderment! Where should we begin? How do we begin to choose which one of the splendid destinations that the card suggests should we attempt?
Winter on the Nile
A huge billboard along U. S. 1, near Melbourne, Florida, around 1976, caught everyone’s attention. In big, bright-red letters, the caption under a picture of an elderly couple driving south reads: If you live above the 39, you belong here in the winter.
The message is subtle, but if you know the degree of latitude of your home in New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas, you are the intended audience.
If you live on the “other” side of the Atlantic, anywhere above the north African shoreline, the place you belong in the winter is Egypt.
This postcard advertising the Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor and the Grand Hotel of Assouan, invites hundreds of European “snowbirds” to the luxury and pleasure of sunshine along the Nile.
While wintering in Luxor, you should enjoy a day on the Nile aboard a feluka. A feluka is a traditional wood sailboat that is commonly used in the eastern Mediterranean and around Malta and Tunisia and along the river delta and upriver in Egypt and Sudan. A feluka is accurately portraied in the background of this scene. The boat requires a crew of two or three and can carry about ten passengers. It usually depends on two lateen sails for power.
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Generations come and go, but since Fred Flintstone’s neighbor moved south for the winter, people who enjoy flexible life-styles have sought warmer climes in the winter months. The practice became popular in Europe about mid-century in the 1700s. If you live along the I-95 corridore on any given day after Christmas you can watch and wave to car after car, from Canada, New England, New York, and places above the 39th parallel, heading south to warmer weather.
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Happy Fifth Sunday!
We’ll see you with three more odd cards in October.
Thanks for this wonderful article. Several new words for my vocabulary, feluka sailboat, and lateen sails, are two words that are new to me. Thanks for both of these Ray, and perhaps they will show up on Jeopardy someday, and I will be able to wow my family.
“Tyro” survives as a standard crossword puzzle entry, and “rook” in the “neophyte” sense is obviously related to the sports term “rookie”.