Cemeteries were considered tourist attractions years ago, and for that matter, many of them still are, with people drawn to their tranquil grounds and impressive monuments.
I know when I’m having a particularly bad day (which would be Monday-Friday, and usually Saturday and most Sundays), I generally stroll over to Elmwood to check on construction of the lovely Lauderdale Mausoleum, Vault, Tomb, and Sno-Cone Parlor. It’s coming along nicely, and will be quite a showplace when all the neon is installed.
But I digress.
In 1908, it’s clear from this old “real-photo” postcard that the National Cemetery was a place for three young women to gather and have a jolly good time. If they have come here to mourn a lost friend or relative, you certainly can’t tell it from their happy faces.
This is called a “real-photo” postcard because it’s an actual photograph, printed on photographic paper, and not a mass-printed reproduction. You could order them by the dozen to send to your friends. “Having a great time, wish you were here” doesn’t seem the best thing to say about a cemetery, but it suits the mood of this one. These women are having a great time.
And it’s kind of a mysterious postcard, too, since even though someone has carefully labeled the location (nice handwriting!), there’s no view of the cemetery itself.
Somebody has gone to the trouble to number and then identify the three ladies pictured here. From left to right, they are: Elsa Tyrna, Anna Ringger, and Erma Meyer. Do you know them? Are they somebody’s grandmother, or great-grandmother? As you can see, whoever scribbled their names also added a cryptic inscription below the image: “Yes!?!!?” — so you’ll just have to make of that what you can.
In case you’re wondering, the other side of the old card is blank, so it was never addressed, stamped, postmarked, or mailed. I guess somebody just wanted to keep it for themselves. I’m certainly glad they did, or otherwise it might not have ended up in my possession, where I am now able to share it with you.