When my husband, Bob’s grandfather, Andy Schulenberg was a boy of 14 years, he was involved in a hunting accident, in which his leg was injured. Things were different in those days, and medicine just wasn’t as advanced as it is now. Not that medicine was antiquated in 1920, but much has been learned about how to save limbs since those days. Grandpa’s leg did not fare well, and after fighting infections, most likely gangrene, and losing the battle, it became apparent that if they were to save his life, they would have to sacrifice the leg.
Following the accident and with the amputation, Grandpa send 14 months in the hospital. Now that’s a long time for anyone, but for a 14-year-old boy, that must have felt like an eternity. He missed a year of school, as well as all the fun things kids that age were doing. He also missed helping his parents with various chores, something which might not seem to be a negative thing, but when boredom sets in, a person would far rather work on the farm than lay in a bed. While inventors had dabbled with the invention of the television, it was by no means perfected, and so he basically had the visitors who came in and books for entertainment. Not much fun really, especially since a lot of boys aren’t terribly interested in reading. Thankfully for Grandpa, his family tried to rally around him, and he received a number of postcard letters during that time. I would imagine he lived for the mail delivery, hoping he got a letter, after which he devoured the words on the page, even if the writer didn’t always pick their words very carefully. It was his connection to the outside world.
Grandpa was fitted with a wooden peg leg, but it would still be a long road learning to walk with it. I never knew exactly how high the leg went, but I believe it was probably mid-thigh. It was during this time that Grandpa would show his true fortitude He could have laid in that bed, giving up and letting other people take care of him, but he didn’t do that. He got up and worked hard to recover his mobility. Sure, he knew that things would never be the same, but he had things he wanted to do, and he was determined not to let this take him out of commission.
He went on to become the Sheriff of Rosebud County. One might think that he would never want anything to do with guns again, but while he didn’t really see the need for them much as sheriff, he was still well able to use them. He was sheriff between 1955 and 1972, and during that time, he was well known as “the sheriff without a gun.” It’s hard to imagine a sheriff who has a reputation big enough to be able to work without a gun, including making arrests, but that was what he did. I don’t know if guns bothered him or not, but if so, he was quite successful at hiding it. Today is the 116th anniversary of Grandpa’s birth. Happy birthday in Heaven, Grandpa Schulenberg!! We love and miss you very much.
My sister, Cheryl Masterson has collected post cards for a long time. For some people, I suppose that might see an odd thing to collect, but when you think about it, they are easy to store and to look back on, and they instantly give you a picture of the place you are visiting, and usually it is a better picture that you could take yourself. Of course, these days, with digital cameras, we can take pretty good pictures, but it isn’t easy to print and mail them. Then again, we have to ability to upload them to Facebook, Twitter, and email, so most of us probably wouldn’t mail them anyway. Nevertheless, just about every gift shop you come across has post cards, and they seem to sell pretty quickly.
Post cards first made their appearance in Austria on this day, October 1, 1869. They were the world’s first postcards, and I’m sure that no one would have ever guessed what an impact they would have on the world. They weren’t something to improve national security, or improve the quality of life, or really to do anything special, other than to allow the purchaser to send a quick note to their family back home to show them what they were doing on their vacation. Nevertheless, they were new and fun.
As I look through old family pictures from my family and from Bob’s, I have come across a number of postcards that were sent or received, that the family found interesting enough to save for all these years. I always wondered why they would want to save those post cards and even put them in photo albums, but when you consider that they were still relatively new at the time, I guess it makes sense.
I feel very blessed to have not only the post cards now, but the writing that was on the ones that were sent to someone. It gives you not only a feel for the times, but also for what they were doing at the time. Our families clear back to the 1800s lived in a time when people were moving around a lot, both to move and to vacation…not unlike today, I guess. We are a people who loves to see the things our world has to offer, and then we like to have a little souvenier of our time spent there. I know that when Bob and I traveled to Seattle, Washington, I came back with tons of pictures, and several souveniers. It is just the way we do things.
I think that whoever came up with idea to start taking some of the great pictures people took and putting them on a card that other people could enjoy and send to family, really had a great idea. And it is my guess that they made a lot of money for their great idea. For my sister Cheryl, they have been a great source of joy. She can have all the great pictures, even if she is not able to get to the exact same place to take them. For me, I guess, I would rather go get the pictures myself, but not everybody can do that, so post cards are a great souvenier to have.