These postcards were sent to my grandfather Carl (Karl) in North Dakota around 1909 and 1910, from Norway and the U.S. Some are so old I can only guess at the signatures on the back. The writing is faded and all is in Norwegian. I believe two of the cards are from a girlfriend, a fiancee Carl left behind. She never joined him in America (some say she got tired of waiting for him to send for her).
Carl immigrated to America in 1906 alone, a brave journey for a young man of 22 years to take. He had the equivalent of $20 in his pocket. He left a girlfriend and his family behind, including his parents Oline and Johan and four brothers, Kristian, Ragnar, Elias, and John. He worked as a farm laborer in North Dakota and eventually moved to Washington state. None of the cards are really valentines, but all are about longing for romance.
An interesting picture of the "proper" kiss and culture of the time. The kiss is initiated by the man, and the bedazzled woman is swooning at his touch. Notice the wine glass in her left hand. Her other hand has a watchful guard on his hand, and her eyes are wide open. Mama taught her well, I think. It is just past midnight. Is the occasion New Year's Eve? Past her curfew?
|[From parents, Oline and Johan]|
Ah . . . a romantic yearning for love put to words in poetry. Carl did not meet and marry my grandmother (Marie) until 1918, twelve years after his arrival in America. Too bad there is scribbling on the airplane. The world was so in love with airplanes then.
And . . . I happen to know a pilot today who is just as enamoured with this machine!
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!
Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl
[postcards from Gravseth family archive]