Collecting,  General Info,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Travel

This is no place for me–alone

Katheryn McMahon Newton album, cards 54-56

We’re basically skipping #54. It’s another card from Europe to an unspecified “Miss McMahon” at the State Street address. Probably from Billy, and offering a different view of Llangolen.

Last time I mentioned the issue of the postcard order in the book, and the possibility the cards were arranged by theme. It’s hard to tell for certain, since the album was picked over. Who knows what is missing? That said, I have come to the conclusion that at a minimum a goodly chunk of the cards at some point were arranged in topical order. While you won’t see that in today’s cards necessarily, keep an eye out going forward. There will be a brief “series” of cards with ships, waterfalls, lake/river views, cityscapes . . . In between will be other cards (and unknown others once missing). I’m not saying the cards in the album are in a designated order, merely that at some point portions of them were.

And now onto the two cards I’m focusing on today. First . . . a card dated and postmarked Valentine’s Day. How many cards did he send her this day? It’s not as though he could guarantee when they would arrive and that they’d be dribbled out over different delivery times (since most cities had multiple delivery times back then). I think I’ve written this before, but one of the first things I’m going to do when I’ve finished processing these is sort them by date and see just how many he sent on days such as this.

This particular card, although dated 14 February, has nothing to do with Valentines and everything to do with travel.

Royal Gorge, Colorado--eight miles long with canyon walls 2400 feet in height
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 14 February 1908

First let’s address, then set aside the issue of how Fred addresses Katheryn. Dearie is the most popular that I’ve seen, if we go by numbers. Other endearments include dearest, hon, babe, girlie, little girl, and my little girl. I am not a fan of variations on baby and girl. This is a presentist attitude, and I don’t care in this particular venue (I may be more diplomatic when I eventually write about these cards in a more scholarly manner). I grind my teeth a bit when I transcribe lines such as those, but I certainly can’t dictate how a man who lived over a century ago addressed his fiance on postcards.

So, onto more interesting (and less teeth-grinding) topics. I mentioned travel above. This particular card marks the end of a travel segment. Therefore one reason for him to send it is to verify that he’s still alive and kicking–and alert her to his precise whereabouts at that time. After all, as we’ve seen there are train delays due to weather and/or accidents.

Feb 14th Fri am 1908 Girlie: After I leave Pueblo I go through this “Canon or Gorge” Those I have come in contact with + have gone through it claim it surpasses anything with exception of the “Grand Canon of the Colorado” in the state. Hope you are well Dear Dont forget the “address” If you dont write well you had better

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 14 February 1908

Moreover, he’s showcasing the canyon he went through between Colorado Springs and Pueblo–and taking the opportunity to ensure she knows where he is so she can write to him. He remains, as always, concerned because either she isn’t writing to him (she is, see below) or she isn’t writing often enough (likely not matching his rate) or her missives are getting delayed . . . At any rate, this is on the shorter side for a card from him.

The next card in the album dates from Seattle a couple of months later. Once again, he’s chosen a Seattle park. He seems fond of them, perhaps he purchased a book of park cards; as above, it will be interesting to see eventually if the park cards were sent within a short span of time or not. Unlike previous times where he marked the card with an X, here he reinforces the Y-like appearance of the paths and offers a plaintive line: “This is no place for me–alone.”

The reverse confirms she is responding to him–and has sent him photos of her. These he receives with delight and the usual lover’s affirmation that no matter how lovely they don’t do the pictured “justice.”

Pictures arrived the’re great, no I cant say they do you justice well hardly no picture could do that. Yes you did get them taken in a remarkably short length of time, how did you do it, you dont say so, my but it was awfully sweet of you dontcherus[?] there are so few that think of me in just that way + for that reason more than any other is why I appreciate your thoughtfulness, the more oh nonsense perish the thought I how should I even suspect you intended too supprise me but then I [unclear] have known you would remember[?] some [unclear] you were always so considerate + particully[?] delighted in taken me by supprise that now while Im away I see it is still uppermost in your mind. F.N.”

Fred has very good handwriting in general, but there are some places on this card that have so far defeated me. Not because of any fault of his writing, but rather the fact that the postmark has to go somewhere, and he doesn’t always leave room. Sometimes I can make out what he wrote despite the mark, sometimes I can’t. As well, I’m trying to document when his spelling and grammar don’t match my modern expectations.

This particular card seems overall to be more focused on their relationship. On the one hand, he expresses appreciation for her getting the pictures done fast so as to get them to him, and on the other apparently she likes to surprise him? Well, we’ll never have a full image of their relationship but comments such as this do tend to make one wonder.

By the way, I have “peeked ahead” and there are some cards sent to Katheryn while Fred was likely still courting her versus communicating with his fiance across vast distances. There’s a big difference (think fewer words–a lot fewer words.)

“This is no place for me–alone,” copyright 2021, A.R. Henle.

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