James E. Hunter IV
An e-mail in the Editor’s Inbox
Hello! My name is Jim Hunter. My wife Alice and I still live in our “starter” home in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Like most other folks in town, we have a mailbox on a post in our front yard. Many years ago, Alice who has had a high degree of success as a calligrapher was feeling a bit frisky and painted the line “The Hunter House, Welcome One or Welcome All in Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall.”
She was so pleased with herself that she made it rhyme, it is hard to explain her self-delight, but I’m sure you have had similar experiences. The mailbox was knocked down by the trash truck around 2007; it was literally crushed flat as the proverbial pancake. We set out to purchase a new one that very afternoon and found a nice substitute at an outrageous price. The day after the installation was complete, Alice was back out-front painting her now famous description of our home on the new mailbox.
Fast forward three or four years to a summer day in late August. I needed a haircut and headed downtown to Jack’s barbershop. I’ve known Jack’s father, Sam, for thirty years and he has cut my hair for just as long. That day I met a young man who called me by name when he sat next to me as we both waited for Sam to dispense with the customer in his chair.
After the lad called me by name, I had to ask, how he knew me. His reply surprised me since it was quite simple. He and his new wife had purchased a home at the other end of my street and he recognized me from seeing me in the yard from time to time.
“I know your name is Mr. Hunter because I’ve seen you at your mailbox with the cute little poem about being welcome in all the seasons.”
A few days later my doorbell rang, I went to the door to discover the very same young man standing on my porch with a postcard in his hand. He handed me the card and announced that he had found it at a postcard show in Wichita the previous weekend. He thought I would like it.
The caption on the card reads: Hunter House, near Attica, Indiana.
All that was perhaps five years ago.
* * *
It never occurred to me to start a collection of Hunter House postcards, but I made a good friend of the young gentleman I met in the barber shop. He is a postcard collector and I have heard tales of his travels to postcard shows in Oregon and back east to Pennsylvania.
Last month my young friend invited me to go with him to a postcard show in Wichita. Look what I found.
Wow! There are Hunter House postcards from seven states. Sadly, I could not find a postcard of the Hunter House in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I’ve decided to work on that.