This postcard was sent from Cincinnati to Frances Murphey of Kent, Ohio in 1940. Frances was then a student at Kent State and a staffer at the Kent Stater newspaper. She went on to become a reporter at the Akron Beacon-Journal for over 50 years. She was an avid postcard collector and had over 200,000 cards when she died. In a story published after her death, a friend said, “Instead of smoking and drinking in college, she bought postcards…she often would write postcards all night.”
In an alternate universe somewhere, Frances Murphey is a household name, and the cards she wrote and received are highly sought after. “No thanks, I already have that one of the Taft Museum,” someone might say. “Maybe so, but this one is a Murphey” would be the reply.
I post this only to serve as contrast to the Greetings from Bangor postcard of a few days ago. Whereas the design of that card was warm and inviting, this one is cold and bleak. This is the ridiculed Cleveland of my youth, when the river caught fire, all the sports teams came in last place, and where heavy metal was cool. No one from Cleveland says howdy.
When I was about 22 I spent a week here working at a former coal tar plant that had been classified as a Superfund site. As usual on these trips, there was not a lot for me to do (I was the “quality assurance officer”, little more than a glorified security guard) and I began seeing how many different Ohio and Kentucky town names I could find stamped on the many loose bricks scattered about. The site foreman thought this was neat and he kept it up after I left. A few months later, he sent one of my colleagues back to my office with a large box of bricks, which he delivered to my desk with great effort, swearing the whole time. A nice story, but that foreman was also the most racist person I’ve ever had to work with.