I found this postcard amongst a job lot I bought on eBay, all of which were supposed to be of West Yorkshire. I am not complaining, however, the beauty of job lots is the surprises they throw up and the serendipity that brings them to your door. The building which is featured on this old postcard – the Cliff House, San Francisco – is a very familiar one indeed. Six years ago we stayed for a couple of weeks in San Francisco in an apartment that was within walking distance of Cliff House. Of an evening we would walk up the hill to the bar and restaurant there, order a selection of excellent craft beers, listen to some good live jazz, and watch the waves on the Pacific Ocean. The postcard was, for me, dripping with memories of one of the best holidays I have ever had.
The message on the reverse of the card is not without interest itself. Although the stamp has been removed from the card, enough of the postmark is left to know it was sent in 1921. It was addressed to George Pink of The Limes, Newark on Trent, England and it was sent by the evocatively named, Lulu Cooper. The message appears to be as follows:-
“… feeling the coal strike, our language on the subject is unprintable. It doesn’t seem possible that your boys are grown up and doing University courses – how time flies. I hope you and Auntie are keeping well. With love from Lulu Cooper”
It is possible that this is the second part of a message that was started on an earlier postcard: it would explain the somewhat abrupt opening line. I assume the “coal strike” in question was the long-running strike by the miners of West Virginia which led to the “Battle of Blair Mountain”, where some 10,000 miners were opposed by 3,000 police and strikebreakers. By the time the battle was over, one million rounds of ammunition had been fired and up to 100 people were dead. Such were the difficult times, it may have been that Lulu Cooper had been referring to the miners’ strike in the UK, although why that should have brought about an outburst of unprintable language in San Francisco is unclear.
I will leave the coal strike alone, and concentrate on the happy memories of those wonderful evenings back in the summer of 2013 – good music, good beer, good company and views to remember for a very long time.