Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday #8!


Happy Postcard Friendship Friday! Today's postcard was mailed from Key West, Florida to Dearborn, Michigan on January 17, 1947. The picture is of the home that is on "the most southern extreme point of the United States and occupied by Thelma Strabel"


Author, Thelma Strabel, was born in Pennsylvania and sold her first story at the tender age of ten years old. She worked as an advertising copy writer following her graduation from college and later became a fashion reporter in Paris. While convalescing from an illness in Switzerland, she returned to the world of fiction. Finding the position conducive to her creativity, she continued to write sitting up in bed for the rest of her career. She wrote many



novels set in exotic locales ranging from Caribbean islands to the jungles of Peru. Her best known story, Reap the Wild Wind, is a romantic saga of the wreckers in and around Key West, Florida. Strabel was so enamored of Key West and its unique history that she built a house there following the sale of the story to The Saturday Evening Post in 1940. She moved into her new home



on December 7th of that same year. The house, located at 400 South Street, is the southernmost house in the United States and remains a popular sight for visitors to the island today. The story was made into a film in 1942 by Cecil B. DeMille, who also wrote the foreword to the book edition released later that year.


The message on the postcard reads:

Dearest Momie,

Honey, wrote you a nice letter, but it is in Clearwater. Forgot to mail it. Will mail it when we get back. Having a swell time down here. Wish you were here. Write me. How is Nonie. Tell her to write - we are going to Cuba tomorrow. Are down here with 4 other couples from Phil. Charlie said tell you he loves you.

Love Faye.

The mailing address, in Dearborn Michigan (The Automobile Capitol of the World) no longer exists. It was probably razed to make way for the widening of Telegraph Road. Prior to I-75 this was a main thoroughfare for traveling to the south.

The Back Story:

Fay and Charlie (the big spender) have gone off on another one of their lavish vacations. Charlie has hit it big in advertising, now that the war is over and there are things to advertise about. His latest ad "9 out of 10 Doctors recommend Philip Morris Cigarettes" has gotten him another one of those big bonuses Fay's always bragging about. Bess just wishes they would come home to Dearborn once in a while.

She has to do all her own canning now that Faye is married. Faye used to do the green beans just so - standing them up in the jars like soldiers. Bess let Nonie do them this year and they're just floating around in the jars like a bunch of little alligators. The lids look a bit puffy too......

Letter my $#^&@! Faye always says she forgot to mail a letter in her postcards. At least Bess has something to show off at the next meeting of the Ladies Guild.

Cuba? Why in the world are they going to Cuba? They don't even speak Spanish. How are they going to eat? They could starve to death and get lost.

They keep flying around the country on those hoity toity aero-planes. Why, Bess and her late husband were perfectly content taking a cottage in Brighton Michigan for two weeks in the summer. She hopes Faye will at least see her way clear to coming up for a while in the spring. The peonies need dividing. And what about a few grandchildren???? They need to settle down and start a family!

For More Postcard Friendship Friday Fun, visit Marie at, Vintage Postcards!


Linda said...

AWESOME!!! TY for sharing. Have a great day. Blessings

Debby said...

And if they could see their way to grandchildren who love to help grannie with the canning, life would be good. Oh, additionally, while Faye and Charlie are multiplying, a little help dividing the peonies would not subtract that much time from their procreating project. Just saying.

MuseSwings said...

I totally agree, Debby. A bun in the oven is worth 10 cans on the shelf.

blognut said...

Love this post! Love it!

Marie Reed said...

I want to get in a hoity toity airpane myself so that I can fly to Florida to give you a hug!

Martha said...

So cool, I love Key West! Thank you, Muse Swings.

Mindy said...

Awesome post! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Musey are you kidding me? Cuba in the 1940's, especially Havana was *the* nightlife hotspot for American celebrities, gangsters, and society gadabouts who partied many a night away at world-famous clubs like El Floridita, Club Tropicana, etc. According to wikipedia, "Tropicana is a world known cabaret and club in Havana, Cuba. It was launched in 1939 on a six-acre suburban estate in Havana's Marianao neighborhood.

The Tropicana showcased lavish shows staged by choreographer Roderico "Rodney" Neyra. Headliners included Xavier Cugat, Carmen Miranda, Nat King Cole and Josephine Baker. Heralded as a "Paradise Under the Stars," the Tropicana became known for its showgirls, conga sounds, domino tournaments and flashy, spectacular productions. The long list of celebrities who flocked to the Tropicana included Édith Piaf, Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Durante and Marlon Brando. Beginning in 1956, Cubana Airlines' Tropicana Special was a round-trip flight that ferried club customers from Miami to the Tropicana and returned them to Florida at 4am the following morning."

I wonder if Faye and hubby ever caught the Tropicana Special flight, or by that time was Faye back to standing green beans up in mommie's jars? LOL....

I love the backstory to this postcar. Faye sounds so adorably ditzy, leaving letters (allegedly!) scattered here and there as she traipses through Florida. Reminds me of a line my momma always used to use whenever one of her friends called and mom felt guilty for not having called them in a while: She'd always say, "I was just gonna call you!"


Anonymous said...

P.S. I should add that 1940's Cuba was pre-revolution, pre-Castro!


claude said...

Hello !
Thanks for your second visit on my blog and comment. I like very to receive some post cards and love to send a lot when I trip in USA or in Caribbean Islands.
In next June we go to Salt Lake City 3 weeks. I shall not able to post every day but I shall have prepared somes posts which will be published automatically. Those post will be like postcards to my bloggerfrienrds.

MuseSwings said...

You and I know that Faye et al had a marvelous time in Cuba and came back unscathed other than a hangover and a few injuries from the little cocktail sticks. Bess, on the other hand thinks of Cuba as she does all the non-English speaking counties; How does one order off a menu without winding up with a plate-full of the local version of haggis.

Anonymous said...

Cocktail stick injuries? Oh Musey, doesn't that remind you of the time we were at the Moulin Rouge when we were trapped in Paris between the wars, and Pierre LaPew, the last of the tormented poets, challenged Hugo Croissant, the crazed baker, to a duel to defend your method of making Béchamel sauce?

And then as everyone breathlessly watched they brandished their cocktail sticks and fought to the finish? Of their Grand Marniers I mean? LOL....

Luckily we escaped the melee by diving through the back door and fleeing to the safety of our hideaway beneath the Opera house, leaving a trail of feathers from our boas all the way. Yours was fuschia and the poor starving street urchins chased after us all the way, picking up the discarded feathers like trophies and screaming "Vive la Musey!"

Good times.

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

What a coincidence that both our postcards centered on homes this week!
I love the soft, rich hues on your card.
Evelyn in Montreal

Eddy said...

The story of Thelma Strabel is very interesting.
Thank You and happy PFF.

MuseSwings said...

Tormented Poets??? Non! He was a tormenting poet, making us listen to his drivel until our boas became as bedraggled as that little satchel he carried around containing such unremarkable verses as:

The little lark
Hark! Hark!
The big robin
Bobbin! Bobbin!
Fly in the sky
High High
Til night has come
Dum de Dum

And so it went on for 93 verses.

Even in French they were bad.

But yes! I do remember that adventure! And that spidery little Duc Le Fluer who had his eye on you. (he only had the one -the war you know. But it wasn't a war injury as he told you - it was a cocktail fork badly aimed at his mouth and gone terribly wrong.) How many times I had to tell you "He has no etchings to keep you from following him up the stairs to his tiny smelly little apartment.

Viva la Musey still rings in my ears (sigh)!

Anonymous said...

Not to split hairs, Musey, but Duc Le Fluer had his eye taken out by a pickle fork, NOT a cocktail fork as was widely reported in the press at the time.

But anyway. The poems of Pierre LaPew. You are right. They were awful. Worse than awful. THe one you've quoted here was part of his 10 part series, "Ode To The Seasons". Remember how he broke down and bawled as he recited the Autumn soliloquy, specifically, "Death Of A Leaf"? (To those of us who were still awake and could actually see anything in the haze of that opium den!). He was so traumatized by the tragedy of the dead leaf that I think if he ever saw your post the other day featuring bags and bags of dead leaves, he probably would have cardiac arrest.

As for his apartment, yes, it was smelly. Whatever made him think he could make his own blue cheese in a closet? I'm still puzzled over that one. The goat he kept onhand for the milk ate all the stuffing in his mattress, by the way. Did you know that?


MuseSwings said...

I let you out of my sight for just 20 minutes and you know that the goat ate his mattress stuffing?!?!?

I sent him a bag of leaves. He has decided to write poems on them. One word per leaf. As soon as he gets out of jail.

He cannot afford paper. The Keats Foundation has sued him for his "Ode On A Grecian Tern"

....Ah, happy, happy birdies! that cannot shed
Your feathers, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;

They've never seen a bolder case of word replacement and have sued him for 10 thousand francs. Is that a lot of money? I don't know.

About your post yesterday: Did you hear about the devalued European market?? They have money coming out of their Euros.

Anonymous said...

Was it in fact 'Grecian Tern'? I know you know that I know you know that Keats' original was Grecian Urn. I know that, you know? Just to get it clear. In fact I think it was "Ode on A Grecian Fern" that got Pierre into trouble. Don't you recall that just before he composed it, he's spent a month hiding out in the Victorian Museum with its plethora of ferns in every room?

10,000 francs. I'm not sure. Could just be the weekly fishfood bill for your koi pond. Perhaps you're confusing the two.

About my post...yes, I did hear that. And did you hear that Greece is in ruins, France declared "Eiffel", and Turkey refuses to talk turkey? IT's getting pretty bad, Musey. We may have to look further afield for future passports. Shall we try on Taiwan? Make Nepal our pal? Make sure our plane's reign lands mainly in Spain?


Anonymous said...

I notice Debby is being suspiciously quiet on this post. I'm surprised she's not defending Pierre. She developed a rather soft spot for him after he dedicated his one and only rap song to her, "Stacking Wood in Da Hood".

He was moved to do so by her daily firewood activities, which you and I both know are nothing but clever cover-ups for her 'real' daily doings. I'm not--visa--naming any names---mastercard---mind you. No--amex--sir!


Chris Overstreet said...

I suppose that it's logical that the nation's southernmost home would be an attraction and, while I've been many times to the fabled marker at the nation's southernmost point, I've never thought about the southernmost anything else.

@MuseSwings: Your verse put me in mind of Steve Martin's ode to "The Pointy Bird":

The pointy bird
So pointy pointy.
Anoint my head.
Anointy nointy.

MuseSwings said...

He did the fern poem too? That impudent imp! Lady Phlyspek from the KF will be after this one tor as soon as she figures out the difference between a barrister and a barrista. Latte difference between the two.

Would you please update our Persona Non Grattiss spreadsheet? I feel an adventure coming on. This time sort them by countries that:

Just don't want us around
Have arrest warrants out on us
Have notified Interpol to intercept us
Have us under surveillance
Want something back

Any country that falls on 4 or more of the lists - let's just say we should probably steer clear.

Oh - and take Prussia off the list. Completely. Take another look at your geography book. It's gone I tell ya - gone!

Lavinia said...

Got it. Just removed Prussia. That still leaves Constantinople, The Austro-Hungarian Empire, The Ottoman Empire, Bavaria, Siam, Rhodesia and several other countries I just can't find on any map at the moment. But never mind, we press on. Those Bavarian cream donuts are worth it, aren't they?

You know her as Lady Phlyspeck. But I know her as Peg Leg. Stemming from the De Boer war injury. Don't ask me for details, I'm sworn to secrecy. By the cartel. Oops, I've said too much.

By the way, the only country that wants something back from us is the Ivory Coast. They want their set of 4 ivory coasters back. Seems you 'borrowed' them when you threw an impromptu cocktail party on the deck of that General's yacht and never returned them. THe yacht sailed off into the sunset as you were heard saying your trademark phrase "Don't worry, they're mine. Really."


MuseSwings said...

Chris! I had forgotten all about Steve Martin's illustrius ( with the emphasis in the "ill") verse. Thank you ever so for sharing!

Debby said...

I am being 'suspiciously quiet' because it is hard to type words when one is spewing beverage from her nose.

Oh, I still remember the poem

Stacking wood
as she should
It is cold on the hill
but we'll stay warm as we thrill...

Oh. Wait. Never mind.

MuseSwings said...

Lav - you forgot about the Thai tacks. The diamond ones.

The De Boer Wars ..... was that over the diamonds in the ruff? No collars next time or we may get collared.

MuseSwings said...

Debby. I hope you are at least keeping score here. Musey 80 Kabillion / Lavi 16

Lavinia said...

Oh puleaze! Honestly Debby, how can you type when you're up to your ears in all that corn? The only thing missing is chestnuts roasting on an open fire and kittens with mittens or puppies with guppies or some such.

I recall the rap song as being much harder-edged with plenty of 'Yo's' and "Sups!" tossed in for effect. Quite enthralling really when one considers the heavy french accent and sideways baseball cap that Pierre donned.

Lavinia said...

No no no, Musey, it wasn't over the diamonds in the ruff! It was over the topaz in La Paz! Back in the days when one could still disappear into South America and seek refuge in an Andean monastery.

Janeen said...

Happy PFF! I enjoyed your comment story with Lavi more than the post! Can't remember what you said about the postcard now. ha ha Love the picture of the house and the landscaping, so retro looking, I could move right in!

I've got to go rest now, my stomach hurts from all the laughter! Have a great day!

Lavinia said...

The Thai Tacks! How could I forget! (thumping forehead). I guess because it happened in the days when Thailand was still called Siam and you and I were known as the Siamese twins on account of our matching sapphire-encrusted tiaras. They called us the "twins with great pins" on account of our legs peeping beneath our showgirl outfits. And all eyes were on our legs that night we made our getaway on bamboo stilts through the streets of Bangkok. I was hoarse for a week afterward, from screaming at you NOT to stop for a quick green chicken curry.

Lavinia said...

Hi Janeen. Stay focused. It's all about the post. All about Thelma. All about her house. I'm willing to help you, just send me some of those chicken croissant sandwiches and devilled eggs and pink champagne leftover from Breakfast at Tiffanys.

MuseSwings said...

Thanks for clearing that all up Lav. Why don't you keep the Ottoman Empire on the list. I'd really like to go there. I'm calling my travel agent right now. She'll be thrilled. Is it very far from Siam?

fortuitous faery said...

i sure would like to visit the florida keys...and florida itself! :)

Lavinia said...

It's not that far, Musey. Turn left at the Temple of the Eternal Blossom, the the shrine for you still has one or two candles burning, then hang a right at the Harem of the White Orchids (my lips are sealed). Straight ahead past the Date-Palm Oasis where you once prevented a camel jockey uprising, past the police station where you've spent many a night(nuff said) and there you are! Meet you at midnight. I'm the blonde in the mink standing beneath a lamp post smoking a cheroot. The code word is "Reese peanut butter cup".

MuseSwings said...

Janeen - it's amazing how much fun a bunch of folks with major cases of ADD can have, isn't it? And what a coincidence we all end up as best bloggy friends. Ooooh... I see something shiney...

Lavinia said...

ADD --- Addicted to Diamonds Disorder.

Lavinia said...

Moosey, it ain't over till Poetikat weighs in. I bopped over there earlier and let her know that her poetical talents were needed here to counterbalance Pierre's drivel.

MuseSwings said...

Perfect Lavvi! You know I'll be there. this the Ottoman Empire or the Cuban nightclubs we're talking about here......? I was busy looking at a shiny gum wrapper.

MuseSwings said...

Good - we need Kat here too. Can you explain why I don't know how to spell shiney...shiny..shiney shiny.
I think I spelled it incorrectly in my shiny... shiney post the other day. Maybe I have a defective spellcheck.

Lavinia said...

No problem, Musey, I am accustomed to your powers of distraction. These detailed directions are to the Ottoman Empire.

No directions are necessary for the Cuban nightclubs cuz Castro tossed us out decades ago and we ain't allowed back in or there'll be another revolution. We've already caused 6 revolutions, 3 wars, 9 riots, 15 melees, and countless kerfuffles. So best to steer clear of la Isla Havana. Ya gots me??

MuseSwings said...

Gotcha. No Espaniol Amigo!
I have to go out for a while, but the rest of youse folks can carry on. Be back to catch up in a while.

Lavinia said...

Well..well..I have to go out too. Suddenly I have an appointment. Nobody follow me!

Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

The banter between you and Lightfinger Lavinia was almost funnier than the post (sorry). Can't remember what it was about now ... a house somewhere ... Happy PFF! ;o) ♥ ∞

Lavinia said...

Hi Sparks. I like to keep Musey on her toes. Debby I give up on, she's too wily coyote for me, running behind and around her stack o' firewood. But Musey, she's a sitting duck out in the open beneath her lanai.

Debby said...


Wish I were doing firewood, Lavinia. Today I was spring house cleaning. Again. I got 1/2 of my kitchen cupboards ripped apart, washed out, put back together. I've been putting together great wads of stuff for Goodwill. Massive hoe-ing out here. I'm tired of cleaning. Scrubbed the upstairs bathroom, and the downstairs bathroom. Washed, folded, ironed, put away laundry. I've been busy today. It would have been more fun trying to keep up with you and Muse.

Lavinia said...

Debby, you're a paragon of virtue. Bet you don't have any problem crossing borders either. And I bet you only have one passport! Bah humbug!

Marrdy said...

I think I may have enjoyed all the comments I almost forgot what the post was about. I need to go to Key West. Broaden my horizons. Thanks for stopping by!

Postcardy said...

You have a great imagination.

Sandy said...

Wonderful. I enjoyed it!! I am so behind everywhere...I got lots of catch up to do.

steviewren said...

Muse Darling, after reading the trillionth amusing story by you, I'm officially naming you the Erma Bombeck of the blog world. I love your postcard back stories.

Lanny said...

I understand Bess's pain, I too enjoy beautiful looking beans in the jar and not a mish mash haphazard array. You'd think that someone who could get the beans all ordered up could do so with their own life, get a proper letter posted and a grandchild in the cradle!

Aunt Spicy said...

What a fabulous post!