That’s how he was called among the people who attended St. Mark’s College. He organized many branches of St. Mark’s and St. John’s Club and he was well known among the fellow ‘veterans’ of the college. He was in contact with them until the day he died. His life, in itself, is a story worth telling, but today I want to concentrate on the postcards he sent to his mother while he was a student of St. Marks 1907-09. There are so many of them, that it is impossible to show them all, but I picked those I liked best.
The first thing you notice, before you even turn them to read, that those are not your standard, post office issue postcards. These are all photographs. Now, remember it was the beginning of the last century- no ubiquitous cameras and no printers. Those things must have taken time and care to get, make picture, get a photographer to develop it, get somebody to print it…whew!
If you really want to know what Bill wrote to his mother, better get a strong magnifier glass, because the amount of writing he got on it is astounding, and the letters are tiny. I can’t even imagine how fine had to be the tip on the pen he used.
You can’t help but smile reading his pleas for money, requesting that his mother sends him his camera, telling about his exams and sport events, just like every student on this earth writing home. You’re kept wondering what shenanigans were hiding behind the sentence: In Logic [exam] we all did poorly owning to a bit of unaccountable damage, the Principal kept us up until it’s found who did it, we might not come home this week.’
Reading his ‘Postcardese’, I can assume he wrote those TWICE a day. He puts us, the generation of instant communication, to shame. When was the last time you wrote an email to your mother?:-) I imagine that if he was alive today, he’d spend most of his time with his nose glued to his iphone, his facebook racking up friends in thousands.
And now without further ado, the Latter’s postcards: