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How about getting back to publishing my old postcards? What do you think?

In this collection, there are quite a few pictures of people. I’m having trouble finding any information about that, but I have the impression that some of these people are the ones who wrote the cards. Did people in the early 20th century go to photographers to have their pictures taken and printed on postcards? I sometimes get the impression that they did (I invite you to have a look at some of the cards already published).

However, the people on the following card are mannequins. And while I don’t find it odd to send a nice picture of yourself as a postcard, especially at a time when it was still quite rare to have your picture taken, I do find it odd to print and send such postcards:



The two A’s? We’ll get to that before the end of this post.

Let’s have a look at the back:

A A verso


The text is sometimes a little difficult to read, especially as the author, Amélie, tends to make spelling and conjugation mistakes, so at times, I have to guess what she’s trying to say. Reading aloud usually helps.

Here’s my attempt at a transcription/translation (I’ve corrected the mistakes, but I haven’t touched the expression):

Amiens, July 2.
Dear Mr. Adrien and Mr. and Mrs. B.
I hasten to give you our news. They are very bad. Reni (?) has had angina (?) for a few days now. The doctor comes to see her every day. It’s very dangerous. If it gets worse (?) we’ll have to give her injections.
Albert is coming out of rheumatism (?) he’s better, but from time to time he has a few aches and pains. It’s a shame at his age. And Fernand, in eight days’ time, we’re going to operate on the adenoid in his nose and tonsils.
Two doctors are needed and he’ll be put to sleep. But it’ll be nothing, that’s why he often coughs. We’re never in peace.
Dad’s not working because of the strikes.
I’ll get back to you soon with news of my sister and the family.
I hope you are in very good health. Good kisses to Mr and Mrs B and to thank you for your card letter you see I send you pretty cards for your album (?).
A kiss from Amélie to Camille.


Okay, now for a bit of background, as I believe this is the first card from Amélie that I’ve published here.
Amélie Gense (yes, I’m writing her name in full because one day I’d like to find her descendants or family) was born in Amiens in 1904. She died in 1985 at the age of 80 (and I don’t know why, but it’s weird to know that she died when I was 12, even though I didn’t know she existed at the time).

Amélie and her family went to live in the French South-West to escape World War One. They returned to live in Amiens a few years after the end of the war (around 1920, I think?) Therefore, she spent her late childhood and adolescence in the countryside where my father was born (born much later).

I never quite understood the details, but either the family stayed with my grandfather’s family or they were neighbors. Something like that.
The fact is, once back in Amiens, the Genses kept in touch with my family for some time, and in particular, Amélie and my grandfather Adrien had a fairly regular correspondence (until about the mid-20s.)

I’ve never really understood their relationship. Sometimes it just seems like a friendship. Sometimes, it seems to be much more than a friendship. Reading the cards she sent my grandfather, several times I got the impression they were in love. I sometimes found myself wishing for a happy ending for them both… which would have meant that he would never have met my grandmother, so in the end, it’s not so bad that they never saw each other again.

There’s also a slightly darker side to the story. My grandfather was born in 1885. He was 19 years older than her. So yes, what was the substance of their relationship? Let’s hope it was just a friendship. That she simply idealized him and just fantasized about him a little…

We’ll never know.

This is a very interesting card, precisely because the content is so banal. Silly news, and not very good news.

But this photo and the two A’s (Amélie and Adrien) symbolize the ambiguity of their relationship. And to complicate matters, of course, I only have half of the correspondence. The other half – if it still exists – is somewhere in Amiens.


A few more details about the names. I don’t know who Fernand and Albert are. I’m not even sure if other cards mention them (I haven’t reread them for a while.) “Reni” (?) is I believe Amélie’s older sister.
As for Camille, she is young, Amélie’s age, perhaps younger. Everything in the correspondence seems to indicate that she’s related to my grandfather, but I’ve never heard of her from anyone. In fact, I knew almost nothing about my grandfather and his family that isn’t in these cards and before he met my grandmother. However, I’m pretty sure that he was an only child. So Camille remains a mystery, but you’ll see her mentioned a number of times in future postcards.

Well, I think that’s all for today.

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