Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Postcards From Nowhere : To my son Clement



Each week I try to pull out a random card from the vintage postcards collected by my Great Uncle Fowler and look at it in a little more detail. This week the postcard is a French World War I propaganda card. The words under the picture of four soldiers say "Unissons nos efforts dans la Fraternite, Qui combat noblement garde sa liberte" which, I guess, mean something like "Through our united efforts in brotherhood, we will fight to nobly defend our freedom" (if you have a more accurate translation please let me have it). All that is written on the back is "From your Father to my Son Clement" I don't know of any Clement's in my family so I am not sure how it came to be in Fowler Beanland's collection. But there is something strangely touching about those few brief words written on the back. It makes you want to weep for the war, weep for the death and destruction and weep for a time when father and son could only express their love through such stilted phrases

18 comments:

  1. It is a very touching piece. We see war related items but this is very personal. It is wonderful that you are holding something so close to a serious sad time in our history.

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  2. The inscription is very touching and the handwriting is lovely. The soldiers on the card do appear unified and very determined.

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  3. FASCINATING imagery!
    Conjures up all kinds of questions.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  4. It is touching. You could read a lot into it. I mean here you have these four unrelated men clasping hands, seemingly close and united in war - and, at the same time, a father and son who don't seem able to communicate with each other.

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  5. LadyCat : I assume the soldiers represent the four allied powers : Italy, France, Britain and Russia (you can also make out the flags of the four countries set out along the rear of the picture). This will, of course help to date the card as pre 1917 as Russia is there and America is not. I am not sure if I have this interpretation right or not, but my friend John (who is an expert on all things WW1) will no doubt add more when he reads this post.

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  6. Christine H : Yes, you get exactly what I thought when I came across the card. It is that sad combination of collective fraternity and individual loneliness that stands out.

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  7. Oh History! It Does Try So Very Hard To Break The Bond Between Father & Son.

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  8. I find it endlessly fascinating that wars seem to inspire the most idealistic, dewy-eyed optimistic artwork. During WWII the US and the Soviet Union had inspirational posters very much in this vein; Great Britain, too, now that I think of it. Human beings are so very weird!

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  9. A very poignant postcard - I wonder what happened to the father & son - whether they were reunited or not?

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  10. for the French, I would suggest"
    "Qui combat noblement garde sa liberte"
    Trans. He who fights nobly, keeps his freedom
    Evelyn in Montreal

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  11. Thanks for the translation Evelyn.

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  12. Such handsome nobel soldiers, and brief, but touching inscription. All your postcards are in such wonderful condition, Alan!

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  13. Grand post.
    Anything that preserves a piece of the past is wonderful. I hate the fact that we tend to trash everything over 2 weeks old.
    Even though we do NOT seem to learn from history and are doomed to repeat our mistakes over and over I am glad that someone besides me is trying to insure that bits and pieces get saved.
    Love you, Lo

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  14. what a wonderful little note...these are so cool alan...

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  15. Alan, you are right in those words are SO touching in their pure brevity. This post card could be a jumping point for many a writer!

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  16. I'll go along with your translation, Alan...pretty spot on.

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  17. Great postcard, Alan. But why is it war can unite strangers from different countries and cultures in a way that peacetime rarely does?

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  18. Oh I really enjoyed seeing this postcard..unified Soldiers from so long ago. Some people weren't real wordy with their post card messages:)

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