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Be good and enjoy your self

Thomas Gray Haile subcollection, cards 19, 46, 104, 166

A variety of mysteries for you this week: disappearing writing or, rather, the fading writing (due in part to card condition.

For this one — I have guesses as to parts of the message, but not the whole. For the most part with the Haile cards, I’ve only been showing the front. Here’s the front and back. You tell me (if you choose) what you think the message is.

As for the image, it’s a saying (humorous or not) in a frame. Rather a pretty frame, too. The card doesn’t have an easy-to-find insignia or maker’s mark. Someone with a keen eye for postcards of the era could probably figure out the manufacturer or publisher. That person’s not me. I am interested in the fronts, but not to that extent.

Now onto a Madge card (we’re past the bulk of the although there are quite a few remaining). When we last left Madge, as it were, it was April of 1908 and some rumor had reached Tom Haile about her activities and visitors. All has evidently been resolved or pushed under the rug by the time she sent this card about five or six weeks later.

woman and man courting in front of an image of a house and flower bower
Madge [unknown] to Thomas Haile, 1 June 1908

Very suggestive in a romantic way, eh? A courting couple complete with the message immediately below “Hurry home every body wants to see you.”

There’s more on the reverse:

Was sorry I couldn’t see you this morning before I left[?]. Be good and enjoy your self Hope you feel better than I do about now Hope the examination won’t be hard your true friend[?]

Madge [unknown] to Thomas Haile, 1 June 1908

One wonders what examination he’s headed for. If he’s the Thomas Haile of Tennessee listed as a lawyer in the 1910 census, perhaps he’s taking the bar. At any rate, they seem in relative harmony. Note, however, that she’s still advising him to “be good”!

Then there’s this card sent to him later in the month. It’s probably from Madge, but I can’t be sure. As with the first, the writing has faded. The handwriting looks like hers and the image on the front . . . what do you think? Can’t you just see Madge picking this out to send?

A woman sitting in a hammock near a lake; her hat and parasol are on the ground and she's looking off to the side. Caption "Expectation"
[unknown] to Thomas Haile, 23 June 1908

What I can read of the inscription plus what I can’t (sort of): “Wrote you Sunday but have not yet received a line from you. How is your throat? We[?] [illeg] and have a good time but dont forget me Have been with Fred[?] will write you [unclear unclear unclear]”

Same deal for the last card for this week. The image is the kind Madge would choose and the handwriting (and wording) her style. Still . . . to the extent there is a name over at the top right it’s not Madge.

A woman holding roses. Caption "Summer"
[unknown] to Thomas Haile, 26 June 1908

Here’s my transcription of the message: “14th Rec’d and How dissappointed I thought sure you would come to Nash. Well dont forget what you said Miss Vautrease 26th am going up and [get?] for Patterson [unclear] [unclear]” Sounds like Madge, right?

“Be good and enjoy your self,” copyright 2021, A.R. Henle

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