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Food, sports, and canoodling in the water

Katheryn McMahon Newton album, cards 76-79

In a bit of a switch, the two cards from Fred in today’s post have lengths in reverse to what one might expect: the card from 1907 has the longer inscription and the 1908 the shorter.

First the older card (comparatively speaking).

Moonlight, Brown's Lake, Burlington, Wis. Manuscript message: “Sunday AM Dear Little Girl: It was just such a night as this last night + my thoughts were all of “you know”? With love Fred"
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 2x August 1907

A lovely image, and very nice coloration (even though someone wrote 27 upside down in the lake). Fred was evidently in a sentimental mood, based on the inscriptions on both sides of the card. The reverse has a longer meditation on the evening.

Dearest: Had a dance + chicken Frye here last night After I got back from Lake Geneva in Auto took a fine swim + after supper was feeling almost natural until the moon came out + the music + soft lights of the resort around that lake got me agoing again + I was alone on a beach thinking of my little girl back home Always with love

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 2x August 1907

Lake Geneva is about 20 miles away from Browns Lake–which is where I am presuming Fred stayed. It does raise questions about what he was doing up there over the summer. Working, likely, although in what capacity remains unclear. Which then also makes one wonder if Katheryn also worked there for a summer, or if she merely came up to visit him while he was working there (we know she did stay at Browns Lake however briefly due to the X-marked the spot card and other references).

Based on this card, Fred either owned an auto or had access to someone with one; this is worthy of note, as Henry Ford didn’t begin mass-producing autos through assembly lines for another six years.

We’re also left in ignorance as to what he was doing in Lake Geneva. Evidently he attended the dance and “chicken Frye”, but left before it was over.

For those who remember the discussion of how Fred addressed Katheryn, this card includes endearments as salutations. As with the other card sent in August versus July, it was sent to “Miss Katherine” rather than “Miss Kittie.”

The water theme continues with the next card, sent many months later and from many more miles away:

Canoes at Leshi Park, Seattle Wa. For message, see quote.
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 28 May 1908

Here again, Fred’s talking up the attractions of Seattle. One wonders what she’s writing about Chicago in response to his cards! Some time ago, I discussed different relationships between images and inscriptions–this is another example where the image relies on the inscription and was likely inspired by it.

Dearie: This is a favorite sport here especially of a Sunday A.M. On Lake Washington of an evening (it does not get real dark here much before 9 to 9.30) you can see hundreds of these Canoes all over the lake. You know. Very tame.

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 28 May 1908

With respect to activity, it’s interesting that Fred begins with canoeing as a popular sport on a Sunday morning only to slip into describing the plethora of canoes–with couples, if they resemble the image–in the evenings. He also stresses the locale of Lake Washington, which may be more familiar to Katheryn from his other cards than the park. Considering the reference to Sunday A.M., he fails to mention to church as something to do on a Sunday morning, although I’m drawing no conclusions on that front–yet.

And that last bit–“very tame”–is it meant to imply that she’d find the activity to her taste or not? Another mystery.

The other two cards from today went to the McMahons on State Street–one a further image from Wales (possibly from Billy) and the other from J.T.R.

A note on the cards from J.T.R. The image is of Washington, D.C., but the card was postmarked in Niagara Falls. It’s possible J.T.R. had meant to post it from D.C., but forgot and found it in Niagara–or that a shop in Niagara had it for sale. Another interesting mystery.

Tune in next post for two ships with crews (or rather the same ship and crew twice) from Seattle plus some buildings from Colorado.

“Food, sports, and canoodling in the water,” copyright 2021, A.R. Henle.

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