One hundred five years ago family members took to sending postcards to my grandfather, Donald C. Minor, born 1902. His parents sent loving messages from Cleveland, Chicago and Pittsburgh. His sister sent short queries about young Donald’s pony, Billie and invitations to come visit her at the institute. Aunts and uncles from down the road in Carmichaels and Waynesburg were as likely to send a note as the aunts and uncles living in Iowa and Colorado. Everyone in the family seemed intent on building a huge postcard collection for little Donald. The sum of all these messages–sent from 1906-1910–creates a picture of a little boy left with an elderly grandfather, Francis Minor, on the Greene County, Pennsylvania farm with Rover the dog and Billie the pony as playmates. What led his parents to travel so much? What school did his older sister Helen attend? Did relatives write to help keep the young child’s spirits high? Or was this just another family participating in the postcard collecting craze?
A century later I often find myself relaxing with this stash. I never tire of scrutinizing the images, finding new stories and details with each visit. Today I was drawn to the painting of these kittens gathered round a huge wooden saucer. The tasty treat is momentarily forgotten as all eyes focus on the mouse; what chance does that little rodent have in surviving her dip in the swimming pool of milk? The title in the lower left hand corner states her predicament most succinctly: In a Bad Fix.