Friday, July 3, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday -Pvt. Burns, Part VI

This is the final post of the Pvt. Burns postcards. As I mentioned last week, the Mister and I made another trip to the antique shop in Tarpon Springs and looked once more through every Florida postcard. The Mister also looked through every NY postcard in our attempt to find more cards to Mrs Burns. We found three and I will share all of them with you today.

The first card shown was written December 7, 1943. This was the first anniversary of Pearl Harborand is the earliest date of all the Pvt. Burns cards

The scene is identified as "Exclusive Hotels on Collins Avenue, Miami Beach Florida.
Pvt Burns wrote on the picture " I live around here somewhere (Arnold Hotel) Just like these"

On the back of the card he wrote:
Dear Mrs. Burns
Well I just finished knocking off cards to everyone so I thought I would send one to my Wife even if I just sent a letter a few hours ago.
Tell your family I didn't send them any because I don't know their addresses.
Boy it's like August here except there are more flowers, etc. I went swimming today. Water perfect.
Don't forget to write.
PS how is Stinky?
My guess is "Stinky" is their son, Robert Jr. The Arnold Hotel still exists, and was one of many Miami hotels that housed soldiers during WWII. As you will see in a moment, this is the only other card I could find from Pvt. Burns. We can only guess how he fared during the war and whether he made it back home to his Mrs. Burns and Robert Jr.. I'd like to think he did, that they had several more children including 2 girls who liked to dress alike, that they found a small post war bungalow with a fenced yard and a nearby park with a sledding hill . I'd like to imagine that they turned the basement into a rumpus room, added a dormer to the house when the kids were in their teens and enjoyed a good long life together.
Surprisingly, we found two more cards addressed to Mrs. Burns although neither is from her husband.
All of Pvt. Burns' cards were written during December 1942 and January, 1943. The card shown above was postmarked December 9, 1944 The "Lumitone Photoprint" picture is of the Roger Smith hotel in White Plains, NY. The caption reads:
The Roger Smith, White Plains, N.Y.
Home of (radio)Station WFAS
Is one of the modern fireproof hotels of the Roger Smith Group, which also operates hotels in New York City, Washington, D.C., Stamford, Conn., New Brunswick, N.J. and Holyoke, Mass.

This card gives us Mrs. Burns name! Anna! It is also addressed to San Raphael California. The residential street address still exists.
It reads:
Dear Anna,
Billy got home late last night. Coming over here tomorrow.
Love Bubba
No cigarettes here either
Isn't it nice to know her given name? Bubba may be her brother. Who is Billy? Another brother or cousin, perhaps? Maybe home from the service, or school? The "no cigarettes" remark is very telling. Quite a shortage, I'm sure, due to the war and most likely due to cigarettes being made very available to the soldiers. Cigarettes were included in ration kits. It was perfectly okay to smoke back then. Ads read things like "9 out of 10 Doctors who smoke buy Chesterfields!"
Why is Anna in California? Visiting school chums?, in-laws? Perhaps Pvt. Burns was on R&R and she was visiting with him. I'll go with that idea.

The Roger Smith Hotel in White Plains NY still exists. This picture is circa 1969 and shows that the hotel was enlarged considerably after the war. The name was changed to The Roger Smith Motor Hotel because with the addition of a new portico guests could motor up right to the lobby door.

This last postcard to Anna shows the Underpass at Port Jervis, N.Y. The underpass leads from NY to Pennsylvania. Port Jervis NY boarders PA and NJ and is on the North bank of the Delaware River. Stephan Crane wrote the Red Badge of Courage at his brother's home in Port Jervis.
The card was mailed to the Rochester New York address and was postmarked in Port Jervis on June 4, 1945. This was just a month after VE Day when Germany surrendered, and 2 months before Japan surrendered on VJ Day in August 1945.

The card reads:
Arrived here at 3 o'clock
Raining all the way and cold
Will write later.
Love to you and Bobby
Perhaps Anna's mom visited with her and Bobby Jr. in Rochester for a time. It was summer, and there was hope that the war would end. Perhaps they were canning tomatos from her victory garden.
Pvt. Burns is not mentioned, but these are so brief and so lacking of any information that I do not see this as an ominous sign. Perhaps he was fortunate enough to spend the entire war in Florida working or teaching, or doing any of a thousand jobs and returned home safely. I'm going to make one more trip to the antique store and look through the California cards. Perhaps Anna sent a card from San Rafael! I'll let you know how that goes.
A modern view of the Underpass at Port Jervis. This view is from the Pennsylvania side.

Thank you, Marie at Voila! Vintage Postcards for hosting another Postcard Friendship Friday. See you again next week.


Kate said...

Great series of cards, esp. enjoy seeing the message side.

Debby said...

Fabulous cards and messages. Thanks for sharing.

Kristin - The Goat said...

I'm thinking because you've found so may of these postcards in Florida, that the Burns couple retired here. I'm with you, I'm just going to think that they had a good long life together.

Thank you :)

Marie Reed said...

Holy Moly Guacamole! I have an Aunt who lives in Saint Rapael! I' have her check the nearby antiqu stores too! You never know:)It is nice to know that her name is Anna! I call Noah 'Stinky'! WHere did his cute baby toes go! I'm always telling him to go wash his El Stinko feet! Happy PFF!

Postcardy said...

Too bad he had such a common name. I just did a Google search and found an intriguing possibility:

Anna Burns, 85, of Wilmington, passed away Monday, Sept. 8, 2008.
Mrs. Burns was a homemaker and a member of Christ United Methodist Church in Elsmere.
Anna was preceded in death by her husband, Robert G. Burns Sr. in 1991. She is survived by her children, Robert G. Burns Jr. and his wife Sandra of Colorado Springs, Colo.,...

Beth Niquette said...

Wonderful post! And my computer actually let me go through and read your stuff finally! I don't know what's changed, but I'm delighting in it. Happy PFF!

viridian said...

Muse I appreciate your detective work. going back and looking thorugh all those postcards? Wow! Now a number of us (see postcardy's note) want to know more. If postcardy has found the right person, they did live a long life together and had several more children. Thank you for sharing! I am looking at the back of my old postcards because of you.

Terry said...

Howdy Muse
Happy PFF
WOW I have goosebumps .
I am really going to miss this family.
I do hope more cards turn up .
I have really enjoyed Fridays with the Burns family thanks to a wonderful postcard sharing friend :)
Thank you for all the digging around and sharing
what you found with us.
Blessings to you for the weekend.
Happy 4th of July.
Happy Trails

papel1 said...

How great to find more postcards of the Burns family. Its fun to dig through postcards.

Chris Overstreet said...

A brilliant post, and an equally brilliant find on Postcardy's part. It's sort of a mixed blessing that these cards were separated by topic in the shop; the search to piece them back together must have been maddening at times, but the rewards are wonderful.

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

I just love this special series of yours - it's probably the most unique postcard-related project I've seen in awhile!
Evelyn in Montreal

Betsy Brock said...

I just think it's amazing that you keep finding postcards from this family! Very neat! Yes, like others have said...they must have retired there and the postcard lot was given away to the shops. It makes quite a fun little scavenger hunt for you and The Mister while you are out and about! :)

Anonymous said...

enjoying a lot this adorable series!
thanks for sharing
happy pff

dmarks said...

It's great finding a bunch of connected cards like that.

Robin said...

Oh, it's a shame to have it end. It has become a soap opera of sorts......tune in next time....
Thank you for sharing these postcards with us.

Have a beautiful weekend.

Anonymous said...

This has been a fascinating series. Peering into a bygone era and the lives lived by these interesting individuals. My guess is Stinky is a dog. Heck, that's what I call mine (sometimes!!).

You should have been a detective, with all your quite plausible theories.

However, history has proven that you are usually the one the detectives are seeking. You and your stash of shall we say "hot" gemstones.


Beverley Baird said...

What a great series of cards. It is a mimi-series.
Love your detective work and the inferences you make.
You could use them to trigger a story or book!
Thanks for sharing.

Mim said...

this is so great, you're quite the detective and so is Postcardy. Now we have to look up Robert burns in 1991 and that will tell all about his war experience!

ChaChaneen said...

Happy 4th of July! Oh I think these cards are the best because they were a treasure kind of find! 3 at once! Perfect work Lil Cindi-Lu! Have a great week!

Cynthia Pittmann said...

Hi C, I just love how you dig into these historical postcards like an investigation, a mission, a beginning of fiction...through seeking facts. It's a great project...I can see you and the Mr. going by an antique store and sifting through piles of post cards until a story lights up in your mind...and then the real search begins. It's fun to compare the past locations with the present reality...but a little sad too. Where did the magic go? You get a sense of the past was slower and more a way of life...a season or a month spent in the warm weather by the sea. And you must send me a postcard! And how treasured those few words were...sigh...I love handwritten correspondence ...and I'm addicted to immediate and change! Visit me, again! I miss you. See now you can just hop over, read, and leave me a comment...and all my sadness about the past and it's being that! <3