Mona goes to the Seaside – a Vintage Postcard

Last week I experienced the thrill of stumbling upon a little vignette of life from some 98 years ago.

And in the most unlikely of places.

I was browsing in the “bargain” section of our local Charity shop. ( I have a routine, you see – I begin at the “bargain” section where the not so old, and usually, grimy things are found, then I go on to the “boutique” section, followed by the “homeware” section – more on that in a later blog – and then lastly I while away an hour or so in the book section).

But here I was, in the bargain section, wading through second hand clothes and broken odds and ends when my attention was drawn to something completely out of place. There, on a table, nestled between dirty pieces of crockery and kitchenware was something intriguing: the distinctive colour of aged cardboard, and the black inked cursive of yesteryear made my heart race.

It was a postcard dated 13 January 1919!

Needless to say, I rescued it from its undignified spot in the bargain section – I know you would have, too- and I continued my thrift shopping routine, safe in the knowledge that I had hit the jackpot and that any more finds of the morning would pale in relation to this one; and once home I settled down to read the little gem:

Mona’s message to Nellie is a little postcard- sized precis of a typical beach holiday. She mentions that ‘they’ go bathing very often (Mother included), and that she is missing home, but not the idea of going back to work – sentiments still expressed by young women today; but in 1919, this simple synopsis of a day at the beach invites so many questions – what kind of bathing costumes would they have been wearing? I’m thinking knee length suits with flouncy swimming caps. Would Mother have waded into the sea from a portable bathing hut ? How many days did it take to journey to the Holiday Resort? Did they get there by bus or by train?

And what could Mona’s job have been?

I have taken great delight in ruminating over these questions, and while we will never know some things, one thing I am sure of is that Mona would  not have expected her little postcard to be so captivating a century down the line!

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