27.8.15

Postcard Stories // The Mysterious Mr. H



Thanks to the recent postcard swap organised by Sunny Sweet Pea, my postcard fix has been well and truly met by all the beautiful mail I've had coming through the letter box. This is quite a treat for someone who spends so long sifting through old boxes of postcards at the back of antique shops! 

Alas, my last trip down to Brighton provided a nice stack of cards ready to be shared with you all. As I've mentioned before, I don't care how rare a card is. I don't care if it's got a special stamp on it. I don't care if it's dog-eared or got stains on it. In fact, the more beaten up the better. It's the stories I absolutely love.

This got me thinking - when does a message stop being a form of communication and start being a story? The scribbles are from real people but in my head they appear more as characters. I start wondering who they were, where they went to the shops, who they had dinner with. I think it's only having part of their correspondence that makes them so enigmatic, that turns them into part of a story. It's having a tangible link to someone so long ago, like a page ripped out of a book I'm desperate to read more of. What do you think?

The Mysterious Mr. H



This week I've got a short little message for you, but it's full of intrigue. We're going back to 1918 where King George sits contently on the throne, gloriously neat mustache showcased in the beautiful stamps above.

Miss. Howlett of St. Philips Road, Norwich receives this message from one named only as H.H. of Budge Farm.

Dear H.
Just a line to let you know
that I have not succeeded yet.
I am leaving here this afternoon.
I have been down to Tilwhern
all are well. Hope you have
got rid of your cold. I should
have gone yesterday but it was
so wet I could not go. Will let you
know when I hear of anything. Just
written to Nellie. Love, H.H

Well, someone's on a mission! Whatever is Mr. H up to? He's so vague I've got all sorts of scenarios running through my head. Perhaps Mr. H is trying to secure a lodging for his lover Miss. Howlett? Perhaps Mr. H is on a covert mission to locate a long-lost relative near Tilwhern?

The date could add a little more back story here. The 22nd October 1918 was around three weeks before World War One ended. Was Mr. H trying to seek the records for a son, brother or cousin missing in action overseas? 

The 'National Series' stamp gives another clue. Within a week of World War One starting, the government issued a series of patriotic postcards to help unite Britons at home and overseas. Stirring images of the Union Flag, Lady Justice and roaring lions were pretty common, but as the years went on images became brighter, more colourful and aimed to raise a smile for those no doubt suffering from the physical and emotional turmoil of war.




Here we've got a pretty cringe-inducing image of a older, portly chap eyeing up a pretty lady at the beach. Sure, it's easy to dismiss this image as a thankfully long-gone relic of sexist attitudes, but the caption implies something greater. Yes, we're on sugar rations. Yes, we've got no money, but fight for the ladies and you'll have one to come back to after it all.

Perhaps this would have raised a chuckle and been passed around the other soldiers at meal time. Perhaps this was a little light in the midst of a cold, dark day. Who are we to judge?

Mr. H, you've provided all sorts of intrigue!

What do you think he was trying to achieve away from Miss. Howlett?

Find my other Postcard Stories posts here.


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