My grandfather was a soldier in the Army during WWI. He was stationed in France. Family legend has it that he did some kind of covert undercover work for our government. He was eager to go to war and even recruited other young men in his Missouri hometown to join him. He left behind my grandmother, who at the time was his girlfriend.
When my grandparents (both in their 90's) died, they had many wonderful things they left behind for my cousins, siblings and myself. There house was full of furniture and dishes and trinkets that we all were glad to make part of our own homes.
While everyone was busy in the house gathering up what they would take home, a few of my cousins and I went out into the garage and looked through the closets. Believe it or not there were trunks full of things in the closets that my cousins and I had not explored before! We thought as youngsters we had gone through everything!!! The trunks were full of an assortment of odds and ends................Including a couple of mice nests with live baby mice!!!
But once I got past the screaming and screeching, and one of my cousins removed the mice and nest, I ever-so-carefully began to explore in the rest of the trunk. I found treasures!You must know that this was over 28 years ago. LONG before anything graphic or written was the rage to collect. I was young then, just out of college and I didn't even have any children of my own yet. There was something about the "treasures" I found that appealed to me even then. I am sure it was the fact that it was the 'written word' and I love (and have always loved) all things written. Perhaps it also appealed to my young sense of idealism and romanticism about my grandfather being in a foreign land as a government spy and leaving his beloved behind. But when I saw the stack of postcards that he had written to my grandmother during WWI, I just knew that I had to 'save' them from the trash heap. Some of the edges were tattered and torn and some of the mice had left 'remnants' behind.
It didn't matter to me. I knew that could all be cleaned up. I gathered up all the postcards. I found an old recruiting poster he had done for his hometown. I found lists of POW's written in French that he was in charge of keeping track of. I found government manuals, Army hymnals, menu's from restaurants, other correspondence and other odds and ends.
I had hit the motherload!
Because of the condition of things when we found them, no one else was interested in keeping the papers.
I took them with me then and have treasured them since. I have used them in my home as 'decor' long before I knew I was 'cool'!
I used them because I love them.
I will still love them when they are long out of style.
The photograph above is a little hallway in our home. The pictures are part of the treasures I found. (The two that cannot be seen I will blog about later.) The two large pictures are the backs of two of those postcards.
The first postcard is one my grandfather sent to my grandmother to say he had arrived safely in France.
I think even his handwriting is romantic! I love how the markings at the top are stamped "SOLDIERS MAIL".
I love the brevity of the words.
Five words. Six counting his name. But think of the impact those six words had on my grandmother as she was back home worrying. Long, long before thoughts were instantly sent around the world, I imagine her sitting and waiting each day for some word from him.
This postcard (written several years later) tells my grandmother that he is back in the States. Once again the brevity of the words speaks volumes.
Once again the graphics on the postcard make my heart melt.
Once again the romance behind the messages can make me cry.
So, for years and years I had these postcards and the others written in between arriving "over there" and getting back home have been framed in my home. I made my own 'two-sided' glass frames before they were found in the stores.
Then one day last summer I decided to take these two postcards that are pictured and have them blown up. I took them to Kinko's (Fed-Ex--whatever it is called!!!) and asked them to blow them up to 24 x 36. Also, I had them printed on to canvas. Kinko's uses the canvas to make the big outdoor signs for customers. They happened to have scrap pieces to print these on, so they sold them at a good price.
I opted to have the hand-written side blown up.So, when I put them in frames, I carefully put the original card in the frame as well. I positioned it so the other side of the postcard shows. That side is also a very neat graphic, but I wanted to see my grandfather's messages.
The people at Kinko's liked them so much they wanted to create some for themselves! The pictures are definitely conversation starters. Everyone loves to look at them. People love the romantic air about them. I feel a huge sense of history and belonging when I walk past them each day.
I'm glad I did not let a nest of baby mice scare me away that day!
NEW PICS BELOW
A close-up of the postcard that told Annabelle he had made it to France.
Close-up of the back of the postcard that said he had arrived in France. It is this side that I had enlarged.
The front of the postcard that said he was back in the good 'ole USA!
Close up of the back...promising to see her soon. :-)
(sorry for the glare)
Some of the graphics from the postcard. Aren't they great?
The first picture is a picture my Grammie (Annabelle) kept of her beloved while he was gone overseas. My grandfather is the very tall, lean one.
The second picture is one that my grandmother posed for. She gathered up all the presents my grandfather had sent her, her patriotic flag, and had the picture made to send to him. My sister actually still has
the fabric banner that is leaning on my grandmother's legs.
The last picture, my grandfather kept in a small Bible in his pocket at all times. (It was probably in a locket or pocketwatch at first, hence the round shape, but for some reason it got moved to the Bible. I love that!
I wanted to add the personal pics, so you could put some faces with the (limited!!) words and the girlfriend he was sending it to.
My grandparents went on to live to their 90's and were married over 60 years.
I hope you enjoyed my story of the postcards, turned wall art.
Thanks for coming by. Check the other transformations out!
I am linking this to Funky Junk's wall Saturday. Enjoy!