Monday, April 16, 2007

Lives in Letters: Postcard about those Goats

I'm sitting here with 6 postcards in hand, all sent to the same person, or perhaps to a father and son, between about 1925 and 1935. No time to post them all tonight, but I'll get them all up by next week so you can see how the story evolves. It's very interesting -- the recipient went from attorney, to city solicitor, to district attorney over the course of the postcards, and the messages, though addressed to this guy's place of work, have some fun irreverence in them.

"The day was perfect beginning with the goats..."

For tonight, I'm starting with this one from 1935. There's no need to post a picture, as this is one of those plain beige penny postcards from the post office. Anyway, the message paints a fun picture itself.

Northampton, Mass.
May 19, 1935

Addressed to
Mr. Philip C.
Springfield, Mass.


May 18, 1935
12:01 A.M.

Dear Phil,
...We're terribly
sorry about rushing
off the way we
did but rules are
...The day was
perfect beginning
with the goats
and ending with
sweet dreams.
...Thanks again,
.............Margie + Esther

P.S. Two good-nights.

.............M. + E.


I'm betting that Margie and Esther were rushing away to get back to their dorm at Smith College, before breaking curfew. Notice that Margie wrote the time as 12:01 -- they must have barely made it back. A few years later, in 1941, the women of Smith would get the curfew rules changed:

Smith was a safe haven, far from the war raging in Europe. Maids kept the dormitories clean and the beds made, and the King’s men (a reference to the maintenance staff headed by George King) kept the grass immaculate and the walkways cleared in winter. The prevailing issue for students was getting the college to loosen its curfew, an effort they won in October when the college granted “late permissions,” allowing first-year students to stay out as late as 1 a.m. on four Saturdays per semester.
For more about Smith College during that time, read the rest of the above passage here. Or see what was going on just a dozen years before.

So, about those goats... I wonder if Phil took the girls to the first ever Dairy Classic (now Livestock Classic) at Mass Aggie (now UMass)? There were certainly goats there! And perhaps the "sweet dreams" reference means they got ice cream at the Dairy Classic. Well, that's my theory, and I'm sticking to it!

Here's a vivid description of the fun to be had at the Livestock Classic:
A popular event at the Little International Livestock Show ... was the co-ed milking contest. In this event, sorority pledges, hand picked for their lack of experience, would compete to milk a cow and fill up a test tube in the shortest amount of time. The winner of the contest received the title of "Girl with the Most Pull on Campus."
Ummmm, yeah.... 'nuff said.

But tell me, when you think about the girls and the goats, which of these was Margie and which was Esther?

Okay, more about Phil, or Phil and his dad, next week. For now, sweet dreams.


dshep said...

I'm looking forward to the rest!

HipWriterMama said...

This is too fun! Thanks for sharing this one.

Nancy said...

Thanks dshep and hwm!