Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bad postcard of the week: Clinton, Ind. and its immigration tribute is an instant classic!

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 13, 2014: Newsflash -- water is wet!


Dave J. said...

A geocache there, click on 'gallery' to see a few pictures.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

That's cool!