Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas / Happy New Year!

I would like to wish all of you who have stopped by from time to time, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Thank you all for making my little project a success. PEACE! ~ Richard

Photo courtesy of What Makes The Pie Shop Tick? - On Flickr

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rural Free Delivery

The Smithsonian National Postal Museum, located near the U.S. Capitol, is devoted to presenting the colorful history of the nation’s mail service. Mail transported our national culture, promoted capitalism, migration, community and identity formation.

It provided a communication link that encouraged the formation of like citizenry long before the birth of the Internet. These images provide a peek into this intriguing history. To learn more, visit the museum's website.

Christmas postcard from Pittstown, New Jersey rural carrier John S. MacIlroy to William Taylor dated December 21, 1915. The back of the postcard has a printed five stanza poem titled "If" that includes the verse, "when packages due don't come on time / And those who are sending don't raise their sign / it sure would save anxiety / if I knew you and you knew me."

Many rural letter carriers left holiday postcards for their patrons, though few went as far as Mr. MacIlroy in creating specialty cards such as this one. Fortunately for MacIlroy, he remembered to place a stamp on this postcard. Carriers who simply placed postcards in their patrons' mailboxes without stamps were subject to disciplinary measures for misuse of the mailbox.

Rural letter carrier peers out of his sleigh while making his daily rounds. Rural carriers in cold winter climates often kept sleighs for winter use, in addition to their mail wagons. Such expenses were sometimes hardship for rural carriers, who were (and still are) responsible for purchasing their own vehicles.

Dog sleds transported mail in some areas of the northern United States and the Alaskan Territory during winter months. Contract carriers used these sleds across Alaska from the late nineteenth century into the early 1920s. Isolated for much of the year, remote populations sometimes relied on dog sleds for contact with the outside world.

Because weight was a critical factor for the dogs, mail traveling on sleds was usually restricted to first-class pieces unless room was available for newspapers, magazines, and packages. These items were otherwise left behind until spring, when they might be transported by steamboat or wagon.

Rural carrier Lloyd Mortice created this unusual vehicle for use on his snow-bound New England route. Mortice fitted his 1926 Model-T with a steel track on the rear drive shaft, enabling him to drop either wheels or skis into place in front, depending on weather conditions. The company that sold Mortice the steel track later produced a similar vehicle based on the carrier's idea.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

LIFE with Santa Claus

The many faces of Santa Claus were depicted in LIFE Magazine throughout the years. These pictures range from 1949 to 1961. I personally like picture #4 - That's my kind of Santa's Helper. Merry Christmas To All!





Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Stamps

On October 27, 1976, the Postal Service issued a 13-cent multicolored Christmas stamp depicting Nathaniel Currier’s 1855 hand-colored lithograph 'Winter Pastime'.

On October 21, 1977, the Postal Service issued a 13-cent Christmas stamp depicting a rural mailbox. The stamp was designed by Dolli Tingle.

This 6-cent Christmas postage stamp was first placed on sale at Christmas, Florida, on November 3, 1969. The painting is titled "Winter Sunday in Norway, Maine." It is an oil on canvas painted about 1870.

This 5-cent Christmas postage stamp was first placed on sale through the Santa Claus, Indiana, post office on November 1, 1963. The National Christmas tree on the eastern Ellipse near the White House.

The 10-cent Currier and Ives Christmas stamp was first placed on sale at New York City on October 23, 1974. Based on a Currier and Ives print entitled "The Road Winter."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

1920s Christmas

One of my favorite sites on the web is SHORPY. Here you will find the most incredible and historic photographs from the Library of Congress and other sources, and most in HiDef. Below are three photographs depicting family Christmas Trees in the very early 1920s. Enjoy!



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thrift City 1950's

There are 10 days left until Christmas - You have got to hurry, time is a wastin' - Many things to buy and later many things to return. So lets visit Thrift City in the 1950's and get all our Christmas shopping done in one place.

Welcome to Thrift City - Suitcases for Christmas?

Now that's more like it, a BMC Blue Streak peddle car
for $11.50, what a deal!

Friction Jeeps and Sparkling G-Mencars. Very cool!

Great selection of those, what do you call 'em, ah yes LP's.

Cashier with lightning fast reflexes'.

I know the feeling Pal!

These photographs from LIFE Magazine were shot by Ralph Morse for an article titled "The Biggest Christmas Ever". To see more of these photos visit the LIFE Archive.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Vintage EMD F7's

Southern Pacific Railroad EMD FP7 - Passing Agnew Depot, Agnew, California, February 15, 1971 - After an overnight run over Donner Pass, SP #6453 leads a Pacific Rail Society special past the Agnew depot in Santa Clara on it way home to Los Angeles. The depot is one of the few remaining structures of the narrow gauge South Pacific Coast. It still survives and houses a model railroad.

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (ATSF) EMD F7 - Riverbank, California, April, 1969 - In 1968, a very successful "Last Run of a PA" was operated by Pacific Locomotive Association from Richmond to Stockton. The following year, as ATSF still had stored PA's in Barstow they decided to run the trip again and, if a PA could not be supplied, an E8 would be the motive power. The morning of the excursion niether a PA or E8 was available and Santa Fe supplied an F7A & B unit.

Western Pacific EMD F7 - Keddie, California, August, 1969 - Having cut off of its train it had just brought down the Highline, F7A #913-A is passing thru the tunnel which is on the leg of the Keddie Wye. It is heading to the Keddie Yards.

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (ATSF) EMD F7 - Along San Pablo Blvd, Hercules, California, April, 1971 - Time was running out for the last Santa Fe passenger train operating in Northern California as ATSF #301 leads the San Francisco Chief on the last leg of its journey thru Hercules and on to Richmond, its western terminus. Amtrak is only days away.

LINK: Photos Copyright Drew Jacksich on Railpictures.Net

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bonanza Airlines

Bonanza Airlines took off from Orange County Airport (now John Wayne Airport) and flew over my house almost every day from 1957 until we moved 5 years later.

Just a little side note: In 1957 you could still see many old WWII airplanes that were stored at the airport. PBY's, B-25's and some smaller versions of the Flying Wing's, and many others.

And of course based there was Paul Mantz. He was movie stunt pilot (and much more), who I had the great pleasure of meeting on a few occasions. This man is truly one of my heroes! If you don't know who he is, click on his name and read his story on Wikipedia - I think you will enjoy it.


Originally founded as a charter operator, Bonanza began scheduled service in December 1949. Based at Las Vegas, Nevada, it served points in the Southwestern United States with a fleet of DC-3's.

In 1959, modern prop-jet aircraft were placed into service and the last of the airline's DC-3's was retired by the end of 1960. Bonanza then claimed the title of "The First All Jet-Powered Airline in America."

The carrier merged with Pacific Air Lines and West Coast Airlines in 1968 to form Air West. In 1970, following the acquisition of the controlling interest in the company by Howard Hughes, the airline's name was changed to Hughes Airwest. (Postcard published by Aviation World - 1970's)

~ Bonanza Airlines Timetable 1951 ~

~ Bonanza Airlines Timetable 1959 ~

~ Bonanza Airlines Timetable 1961 ~

~ Bonanza Airlines Timetable 1964 ~

~ Bonanza Airlines Timetable 1965 ~

LINK: Timetable images are from the collections of Björn Larsson and David Zekria.

LINK: Bonanza Airlines Historical Website

LINK: Photographs of Bonanza Air Lines planes on Airliners.Net

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Shea Stadium 1964

Found this great 1964 New York World's Fair, Shea Stadium Postcard. Parking lot full of cars. But I don't think the game was sold out. Fantastic card!

William A. Shea Municipal Stadium - Flushing Meadow Park, Queens - Operated by Department of Parks - City of New York - Official World's Fair postcard by Dexter Press, Inc. - Unisphere presented by United States Steel.

The stadium seats 55,000 for baseball and 60,000 for football. It will be used during the summer of 1964 and 1965 for sports attractions presented in cooperation with the World's Fair.

Final portion of the demolition of Shea with new Citi Field in the background. Found on Flickr @ edogisgod's photostream.

On January 31, Mets fans all over New York came to Shea for one final farewell to Shea Stadium. Fans took a tour of the site, told stories, and sang songs. The last remaining section of seats was demolished on February 18, 2009. Fans stood in awe as the remaining structure of Shea Stadium (one section of ramps) was torn down at 11:22 AM that morning.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Band Together

4th MM Band? Location unknown.

The military band should be capable of playing ceremonial and marching music, including the national anthems and patriotic songs of not only their own nation but others as well, both while stationary and as a marching band. Military bands also play a part in military funeral ceremonies.

17th Field Artillery Band in France.

There are two types of historical traditions in military bands. The first is military field music. This type of music includes bugles (or other natural instruments such as natural trumpets or natural horns), bagpipes, or fifes and almost always drums, the latter two being organised into Corps of Drums.

340th Infantry band at Camp Custer, Michigan.

This type of music was used to control troops on the battlefield as well as for entertainment. Following the development of instruments such as the keyed trumpet or the saxhorn family of brass instruments, a second tradition of the all brass military band was formed.

U.S. Army Band - Hidden Mickey Alert!

LINK: These First World War military band photos and real photo postcards are from the collection of RV Bob on Flickr.

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 7th, 1941

December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

FYI - Semper Fi

Editor - I recently received an email from an Army buddy of mine. See the thing is, once a military guy, always a military guy. And it makes no difference what branch of service you were in. We have this thing about staying in touch with each other and sharing stories and supporting others who have sons or daughters serving in the military today.

And some who's son's no longer serve because...

CAMP PENDLETON , Calif. -- Karla Comfort received a lot of looks and even some salutes from people when she drove from Benton, Arkansas, to Camp Pendleton, California, in her newly-painted, custom Hummer H3 March 2. The vehicle is adorned with the likeness of her son, 20-year-old Lance Cpl. John M. Holmason, and nine other Marines with F Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division who where all killed by the same improvised explosive device blast in Fallujah, Iraq, in December 2008.


For Karla Comfort, having the vehicle air brushed with the image of the 10 Marines was a way to pay homage to her hero and his fellow comrades who fell on Iraq's urban battlefield. "I wanted to let people know (Marines) are doing their jobs honorably, and some of them die," said the 39-year-old from Portland, Oregon "I don't want people to forget the sacrifices that my son and the other Marines made."

Leading up to her son's death, Karla Comfort had received several letters from him prior to his return. He had been deployed for five months, and Comfort "worried everyday he was gone until she got the letters and found out the date he was coming home," she said.

Marines knocked on the front door of her home in Farmington, Michigan, at 3am with the dreadful news.

"I let my guard down when I found out he was coming home," she said. "There are times that I still cannot believe it happened. It's very hard to deal with."

Karla Comfort came up with the idea for the rolling memorial when she and her two other sons attended John's funeral in Portland, Oregon.

"I saw a Vietnam (War) memorial on a car, and I said to my son Josh, we should do something like that for John, she recalled. He loved Hummers."

She purchased the vehicle in January and immediately took it to AirbrushGuy & Co. in Benton, Arkansas, where artist Robert Powell went to work on changing the plain, black vehicle into a decorative, mobile, art piece.

"I only had the vehicle for two days before we took it in," she joked.

Two hundred and fifty man-hours later, Powell had completed the vehicle. The custom job would have cost $25,000, but out of respect for Karla Comfort's loss and the sacrifices the Marines made, AirbrushGuy & Co. did it for free. Comfort only had to purchase the paint, which cost $3,000.

"I love it," she said. "I'm really impressed with it, and I think John would be happy with the vehicle He would have a big smile on his face because he loved Hummers."

Karla Comfort gave Powell basic instructions on what to include in the paint job. But in addition to the image of her son in Dress Blues and the faces of the nine other Marines, there were several surprises. "He put a lot more on than I expected" she said "I think my favorite part is the heaven scene."

On the left side of the vehicle, a detail of Marines are depicted carrying their fallen comrades through the clouds to their final resting place. The American flag drapes across the hood, the words, "Semper Fi" crown the front windshield and the spare tire cover carries the same Eagle Globe and Anchor design that her son had tattooed on his back.

"All the support I have been getting is wonderful," she said.

Karla Comfort decided to move back to her hometown of Portland, and making the cross-country trip from Arkansas was a way for her to share her son's story. It's also her way of coping with the loss.

"Along the way I got nothing but positive feedback from people," she said. "What got to me was when people would salute the guys (Marines). It's hard to look at his picture. I still cry and try to get used to the idea, but it's hard to grasp the idea that he's really gone."

Let's get this Hummer going around the world! - We won't forget! - Please share this with someone!