A Lifetime of Drinking!

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Bob Teevan

A Lifetime of Drinking!

This postcard is unused, but it can be dated by the Curt Teich production code in the lower right corner (6A-H685). Many collectors of Teich cards are aware of the code and how it was used, but for now, please accept the following explanation: the first 6 in the code represents the sixth year of the 1930s. Starting in 1930, the code then in use was amended by assigning letters to the decades, i.e., the 1930s were “A,” the 1940s were “B”, and it continued. Hence, “6A” was 1936. The H means the card is printed on “linen” style paper and it was the 685th card printed in that year.

The uncredited illustration, likely drawn by a staff-artist, shows seven stages in the drinking life of man. The storyboard commences with a one-year-old drinking milk from a bottle. Certainly, breast milk preceded this for many, although the delicacies of the era may have dictated that Mother’s Milk be excluded from the illustration. I suspect that many of us consumed both breast milk and bottled milk as children, but I also suspect that there are very few who can remember either.

The next stage is five years of age when soda became part of our diet. On this side of the Atlantic we don’t refer to the children’s drink as soda, we call it pop in England or ginger’ in Scotland.

I don’t know if it was family specific or Scotland wide, but every flavor of fizzy drink I experienced as a child was referred to as “ginger” by my parents and grandparents. As I grew up, I learned that there were many forms of ginger: there was lemonade, limeade, orangeade, Irn Bru (not then made from ‘girders’), cream soda, and Vimpto (which reputedly went “right up your nose”). For non-Scots and young Scots alike, the references to girders and noses relates to advertising straplines). Coca Cola also existed but was too expensive for my household. Diluted juice or cordials were also popular.

Stage three is beer at 20 years of age. Right!!! Even I was drinking beer at the age of seventeen, albeit I nervously watched the pub door for visiting policemen until I reached the legal age of eighteen.

The term beer was a bit inappropriate in my youth as the vast majority of young Scots would drink lagers. Ale and stout were preferred by the older generations or our English neighbors. The exception was perhaps Guinness or other Irish stouts. I don’t recall any real ale drinkers in my youth although when they did come along, they were frequently sweater-wearing, bearded eccentrics. I can confirm that over the years I have enjoyed all types of beers for varying periods as my preference frequently changed.

Having passed the age of thirty-five, I did so without ever entering the Champagne stage. This is one drink that has very little appeal to me. At many corporate events, colleagues would head for the Bollinger tent, but I would find somewhere else to visit.

Most men like me have entered the whisky (Scottish) and whiskey (Irish) stage before age 55 as the card suggests. It is the stage I have enjoyed the most. I tend to avoid most blended brands and enjoy the Scottish malt whiskies of which there are likely hundreds. I have never liked the peaty whiskies although “each to their own,” after all, I drink my Scotch with coke!

Recently, I reached age 65, although I have not (yet) found it necessary to drink dregs. In fact – and this will be a surprise (or shock) to many of my friends – my current drink of choice is water or coffee as I have not had an alcoholic drink for the last 247 days, but who’s counting?

No one knows when they stop drinking alcohol if it will be a permanent life-style change or whether they will return to it in the future. Just now – and without waving a temperance banner – I am enjoying the break.

We will all reach stage seven, although we don’t know if it will happen before we reach eighty or later. It can rain on my grave as much as Mother Nature wants it to. Rain or shine, I’ll either be in heaven with the angels or down below with my friends.

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Great article with some interesting insights. This postcard and several other like it were attributed to Ray Walters, artist in the “Walters’ World” book.

Postcard America is a hardcover containing 500 pages covering linen postcards. Curt Teich and the imaging of a nation, 1931-1950, is a comprehensive study of this Chicago business. This 2015 release is an excellent effort by Jeffrey Meikle.

People apparently aged faster back then. The 35-year-old looks closer to 50 or 60.

Enjoyable write-up. I dare say the theme of comic cards are as often concerned with “the drinking life” as nearly any one subject… except maybe to complain of never getting any mail in return. I love the early US UDB comics and I’ll leave you with this thought from one… ‘Tis better to smoke here than hereafter.

I quit drinking at 59. It had become too much of a hobby. Quit smoking at 65. Mainly due to my state of Pennsylvania taking a $Billion in cigarette taxes while telling me where not to smoke. Now, at age 81, I’m told I’m no fun anymore.

Thanks for the information on the numerical code on these cards.

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