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More postcards from the past


Again courtesy of Jim Ostroff’s seemingly inexhaustible supply of family history, here are three more postcards sent by his grandmother Clara (Skolnick) Rosenblum to his mother Thea (Rosenblum) Ostroff. These are from the summer of 1948, when Clara was in Swan Lake, a few miles southwest of Liberty in Sullivan County, in the Catskills. This evokes an age now long past—a time when those who could got out of the hot city in the summer for the slightly cooler mountains a hundred miles outside New York City.

If the penny postage wasn’t a tip-off that this age is long past, nothing will be. Postcards were in that day, before telephone tolls got so inexpensive that cellphone companies stopped tracking them, the most efficient and economical way of keeping in touch with distant loved ones (about the same distance as New York is from Philadelphia, or Los Angeles is from San Diego).

One other thing: Jim tends today to use every available space on a piece of paper. He and I have corresponded for more than a half-century, and I know that whatever is typed in the body of a letter is only a part of the message. The rest of it will be written longhand across the bottom and usually up at least one side margin. His mom, Thea, who may have been one of America’s epistolary greats, did the same thing. So when I saw his grandmother’s postcards, I could tell this wasn’t a new habit. It’s undoubtedly a genetic one!

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