Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Do You File Monster Snakes Under M or S?

I’ve been working on a blog post for two days now, and it’s still not reader-ready.  The main problem is that I can’t locate a couple of items I want to scan that I know are in my office somewhere, in my piles of G. Oliver Riggs articles and memorabilia.  Because my office is cold, especially by the window, I don’t feel like spending much time in there.  Also, I’ve been feeling a bit distracted by all the items on my to-do list for this week.

It’s already the fifth day of the new year, though, so I feel compelled to put something on virtual paper.  Thanks to my dad, I have just the thing.  I received a package from him yesterday containing an item I think is worthy of its own, short blog post (this item, I should add, comes from his own piles of G. Oliver Riggs articles and memorabilia.  Music isn’t the only genetic trait running through this family).
The Mercer County Fair in Aledo, Ill., 1908, with the Rajah Monster Snake exhibit in the background.
This is a postcard I hadn’t seen before, of the 1908 Mercer County Fair in Aledo, Ill.  G. Oliver addressed it to his sons, Ronald and Percy.  On the back, he wrote: Dear Boys, Do you remember the co. fair?  See if you know anyone in this picture.

The postcard doesn’t have a stamp on it, so it doesn’t appear that it was mailed.  I looked more closely at the people in the photo and didn’t see anyone I recognized from family photographs – I wasn’t sure if he was implying that the boys were in the photo somewhere (a precursor to Where’s Waldo), or if he was just thinking they might know someone because they often visited relatives in Aledo, Illinois, where their mom Islea grew up.

This photo amuses me for several reasons.  I love the snake exhibit, of course.  I’d like to know more about what that was like.  I like the juxtaposition of the ice cream cone stand and the one selling cigars and tobacco.  And I’d like to know the story of the guy in the lower right corner of the photograph.

It’s fun to gaze at the postcard for a few minutes and think about warm county fairs on this chilly January day.

OK, back to filing.

1 comment:

  1. I love this photo! And it sounds like you have files like my files (though they are probably in neater stacks than mine). Here's to a wonderful year of writing and discovering and imagining the stories in old sepia photographs!