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Cherry Blossom Time

The blossoms are peaking in D.C. today. Yet the normally joyous moment has been thwarted by the ongoing pandemic (for those not in D.C., access to the Tidal Basin where the famous cherry trees are planted has been curtailed, for good reason).

Nevertheless, we can think back to the beauty and joy of cherry blossoms past, whether directly from cherished memories or with help from historic images. Incidentally, this 1930s linen cherry blossoms postcard was the very first vintage postcard I ever bought. Even today, with 10s of 1,000s of additional cards in my collection, I still prize the deco-styling and vivid coloration of this superb Curteich design.

Most know that the famous cherry trees ringing the D.C. Tidal Basin were gifted to the city by Japan in the 1910s, as indicated by this 1920s postcard which depicts, "a bit of old Japan transplanted to Potomac Park - the Misses Sumi and Sadi Tamura, daughters of...former Third Secretary of the Japanese Embassy, out for an early morning stroll."

What fewer know (including myself until recently) is that an original 1909 gift of trees was burned upon arrival after USDA inspection revealed that the trees were infected with a number of invasive pests, including nematodes! An additional three trees were cut down by an anonymous vigilante four days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Thankfully, despite these early set-backs, the visionary gift has endured and bestows its ephemeral beauty to residents and visitors year after year. Here's hoping that next years blossoms greet a world of health and peace.

Photo credit: Andrew Riely, 2015

Valentine's 1910

Advice to all the wannabe lovers out there - double your odds by doubling your Valentine's Day efforts this year. Take a cue from this anonymous 59 year old fellow in 1910.

Homemade, real-photo Valentines postcards (unposted, so they were likely hand delivered or not at all). Ruby sounds exotic but I'll take Edna any day.

Happy Valentine's Day from Paleogreetings!

The Fur-Bearing Trout of Salida

Sent from Pueblo & Grand Junction, CO, July 18, 1939 to El Paso, TX. "Dear Jack - Now will you believe it? Am up here for a few days visiting my sister - having a great time. Have played tennis and will swim tomorrow nite. Saw an interesting operation at the hospital this morn. Am making a few trips around here. Country is beautiful. Going home Tues. - Margaret."

Looks like proof enough to me! A strange image, with an equally strange and unintended orange coloring from some liquid/chemical spill. Also, what operation was Margaret observing in the she a doctor/nurse, or was this more of a recreational surgery-watching situation? Many unanswered questions here.