We see a lot of wonderfully bad postcards, but occasionally we stumble across an instant classic that defines the genre.
Yesterday I was sifting through an antique store bin looking for good postcards – “large letter” designs for an office project – when this beauty jumped out at me.
This is amazing. I thought the beloved “Truman Family Shopping Center” was the best-ever bad postcard. The torch has been passed.
Let’s get the basic stuff out of the way first.
The back reads:
“Immigrant Square Area, Clinton, Indiana. Bronze Statue to honor the many immigrants who worked in the coal mines. The flags are of the thirty nations from which they came. The drinking fountain, a replica of one in Torino, Italy, was presented by Mr. & Mrs. Joe Aoroia. For information on Little Italy Festival: Lift Inc., Clinton, Ind. 47842."
So much to work with here.
First, why is the photographer standing so far away? Is he the subject of a personal protection order? Does he now have a zoom lens? We just don’t know.
First, the entire card of off center. Ideally, our immigrant statue would be in the focal point of the postcard. Then again, if would be nice to see the statue, rather than have it blend into the trees. Luckily there’s a fence from keeping people from getting too close.
The green thing that looks sort of like “Mary on a half shell” is the water fountain, and I know that only because I Googled the area and found another photo.
Let’s get to the stars of our bad postcard. I’m going to make an assumption that the man and woman standing there are Joe and his better half.
I’ve learned from a Clinton attractions page that her name is Josephine. I’m sure they’ve heard all the jokes about the names, so let’s move on. The couple presented the city with the fountain after a 1970 trip to Italy.
And, it’s a regular fountain, not a drinking fountain, unless you plan to lie on the ground.
But, who are the two women off to the other side? Are they photobombing the postcard? Does the one lady have her arms on the other to restrain her from hopping over the fence? She looks kind of rowdy. Hey, Mabel! Let Joe and Jo have their moment! Get out of there!
|Don't climb the fence!|
But I digress. I see a nice light post in front – it’s the only thing in sharp focus – but what’s the light blue tower rising behind it? Today, that would be a cell phone tower. Back then, I’m not so sure.
But it appears to be gone now. I located Immigrant Square using Google maps – it’s at the corner of N. 9th and Pike next time you’re in the area – and there’s no sign of a pole like that.
I did learn that the city’s Coal Statue is in the same square, and it looks like a taller version of the immigrant statue, but without the immigrant.
Here’s what else I learned. Clinton salutes its immigrants, but it’s pretty much focused on the Italians. I discovered this from the often-accurate Wikipedia:
“Clinton hosts the annual Little Italy Festival, a four-day Labor Day Weekend celebration of the area’s Italian and coal mining heritage. Founded in 1966, the event draws over 75,000 visitors annually, featuring Italian and carnival-style food, grapevine-roofed wine garden,grape stomping, tours and more. The festival also provides free stage entertainment, flea market and the largest Italian-theme parade in the Midwest. The festival is also host to the Indiana Bocce Ball championship, boasts one of the few coal mining museums in the nation, and owns one of fewer than 400 genuine gondolas in the United States. The 2013 Queen of Grapes for the Little Italy Festival is Madie Holland. The Re and Regina for 2013 are Lou and Carol Bonomo”
|That's the immigrant statue on the left, coal statue on the right.|
So, Clinton, Indiana seems like a nice place, and we’ve learned so much about it through a classically bad postcard.
Bad postcards of the past:
April 19, 2015: Fort Riley, tragedy and baseball 20 years ago today
April 12, 2015: The Canopy restaurant had a nice lobby
Jan. 31, 2015: Mysteries of The Beef Room and the original KFC
Jan. 24, 2015: Waffle House highlights road trip culinary adventures
Aug. 17, 2014: Insensitive Hiawatha and the Upper Peninsula bucket list
June 29, 2014: Mysteries of art and hockey in Southern California
June 15, 2014: Sweden needs a tutorial on glorious bad postcards
June 8, 2014: The secret lives of French poodles
May 18, 2014: Disgraced Fifi and talented Twiggy
May 4, 2014: Albion, Sigma Chi and fraternity shenanigans
April 20, 2014: The mystery of the disappearing Wawa goose
April 6, 2014: Guys like to stay in risky motels
March 30, 2014: Boldly dining in forbidden food places
March 23, 2014: Plenty of parking in St. Simons Island, Ga.
March 16, 2014: 'Jesus, Take the Wheel' and Rally Day risk-taking
Feb. 23, 2014: As Sochi Olympics come to a close, we look at mysteries of Russian construction projects and Star Trek
Feb. 9, 2014: Mystery spots at Central Michigan University
Feb. 2, 2014: No one monkeys around at the music competition
Jan. 19: 2014: Life and death of Grindstone City, a one-industry town
Jan. 6, 2014: Life, death, skiing and broken snow blowers
Dec. 1, 2013: Selecting a Christmas tree and other holiday hazards.
Nov. 24, 2013: Mystery bean stalk in Muskegon
Nov. 17, 2013: Parking in California must be difficult
Oct. 27, 2013: Pistols, petticoats and mysteries at Stagecoach Stop
Oct. 6, 2013: Obstacles of Mackinac Island
Sept. 15, 2013: Maritime mayhem in Frankenmuth
Sept. 8, 2013: Elmer, Elsie and bovine hell
Aug. 31, 2013: Escanaba's band shell, awaiting Miley Cyrus, or anyone else
Aug. 25, 2013: 'Big Tex,' the rather awkward symbol of the Texas State Fair
Aug. 18, 2013: Musical fountain and other dangers of Grand Haven
Aug. 9, 2013: Frustrated deer and emergency elk in Atlanta, Mich.
Aug. 3, 2013: 'Gray Shirts' keep the band rolling
July 26, 2013: What happens in a creepy pool in Vegas....