Monday, November 18, 2013

Yep, it's a small world

During the time I’ve been researching World War II postcards, my wife Becky often said, “One of these days you’ll find a card written by someone you know.” I always replied, “Not gonna happen.” Well, it happened.

A few months ago I found a postcard on e-Bay that was written in 1942 by a sailor named Gene Puett, addressed to friends in Ten Mile, Tennessee.  (Yes, there really is a town by that name.) Gene Puett was an attorney. He went on to be a long-time legal counsel at my alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. I knew Gene by reputation but never met him. However, his wife, Sammie Lynn, was on the College of Communications faculty at UT and was a member of my thesis committee when I was a graduate student in 1973.

Gene and Sammie Lynn did not have children, and they have both passed away. I tracked down one of Gene’s nephews, who happens to be the family historian, and returned the card to him. He confirmed something I suspected when I saw the card – Gene Puett liked to joke around. The typewritten card was address to:

Mrs. Ed Odom and Family
Ten Mile
Down in Tennessee

The salutation is, “Dere Foks.” Gene was an educated man and was obviously putting on the hillbilly lingo.

Adding to the “small world” nature of this postcard, the image on the card is an aerial shot in San Francisco looking north over Russian Hill toward Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County. Several apartment buildings are visible, including one where I lived for six months in 2002 on a temporary assignment while working for the Bechtel Corporation.

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