When I purchased this old postcard I intended to post it during one of the windstorms sure to come this winter. The first one arrived Tuesday evening, just in time for me to begin this edition of Old Postcard Wednesday. There are alarming gusts outside now pitting the various wind chimes against one another in a strange competition. Then there is silence, and I wonder if that is the end of it....until the next strong gust. Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile are, by now, aware that we have three giant Sequoias in our backyard and I admit to a certain degree of angst on windy winter days and nights because of their immensity. I tucked this sonnet away in, of all places, my underwear drawer to calm me, if needed:
Sonnet: The Wind -by Dr. John Celes
What shakes the trees so violently? 'Tis Wind;
What moves the clouds hither/thither? 'Tis Wind;
What takes the tornado around? 'Tis Wind;
What brings the sandstorm on the earth? 'Tis Wind.
What makes the cool and gentle breeze? 'Tis Wind;
What makes the boughs and leaves to dance? 'Tis Wind;
What makes the autumn leaves to fall? 'Tis Wind;
What makes the honey-bees to fly? 'Tis Wind.
What makes pollen reach in showers? 'Tis Wind;
What makes the dust to climb towers? 'Tis Wind;
What spreads the perfume of flowers? 'Tis Wind;
What makes the rain-clouds advance far? 'Tis Wind.
What makes the Wind to blow? 'Tis God;
What makes a Tempest stop? 'Tis our Lord.
Some online old postcard sellers do not show the back of the postcards they have for sale, and such was the case regarding today's postcard. I love silhouettes, and I thought this one was particularly eye-catching. When I turned it over last evening to see if there was a written message on the back I immediately thought: oh here we go again!...perhaps if Francessa reads this post she will grace us with another translation in her comments! [Postscript: She translated it for us! See first comment.]
It was not until I scanned the postcard and had it enlarged on the monitor that I paid any attention to the stamp. Truly, I gasped -- just wasn't prepared to see a 6-Pfennig Hitler Head stamp. It adds a whole different twist to the mood of the front silhouette. What seemed a somewhat playful scene of a child fighting against a gust of wind to maintain control of her umbrella becomes a child caught in the winds of war. How quickly our impressions of something can change, be changed, when we have more than only partial information. This serves as a reminder to keep our eyes wide open, to look at both sides of any given situation, and to bravely hold onto our truths.
To end the year on a lighter note, I thought you would be as interested as I was to learn a bit about the place where this old postcard was postmarked back in 1944, Wuppertal-Elberfeld. (emphasis added)
Elberfeld is a municipal subdivision of the German city of Wuppertal; it was an independent town until 1929.
Wuppertal is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in and around the Wupper river valley, and is situated east of the city of Düsseldorf and south of the Ruhr area. With a population of approximately 350,000, it is the largest city in the Bergisches Land. Wuppertal is known for its steep slopes, its woods and parks, and its suspension railway, the Wuppertal Schwebebahn. Two-thirds of the total municipal area of Wuppertal is green space. From any part of the city it is only a ten-minute walk in one of the public parks or woodland paths.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Wuppertal was one of the biggest industrial regions of continental Europe. Wuppertal today is still a major industrial centre, being home to industries such as textiles, metallurgy, chemicals, pharmaceuticals (Aspirin was invented in Wuppertal in 1897 by Bayer), electronics, automobiles, rubber, vehicles and printing equipment. . .
Wuppertal in its present borders was formed in 1929 by merging the early-industrial cities of Barmen and Elberfeld with Vohwinkel, Ronsdorf, Cronenberg, Langerfeld, and Beyenburg. The initial name Barmen-Elberfeld was changed in a 1930 referendum to Wuppertal (“Wupper Valley”). . .
During World War II, about 40% of buildings in the city were destroyed by Allied bombing, as were many other German cities and industrial centres. . .
The US 78th Infantry Division captured Wuppertal against scant resistance on 16 April 1945. After the last World War, the U.S.A. held the intellectual ownership rights to Bayer and other German companies and organisations. Wuppertal became a part of the British Zone of Occupation, and subsequently part of the new state of North Rhine-Westphalia in West Germany. [Source: Wikipedia]
Finally, two videos of present-day Wuppertal. The first one, delightfully, shows quite a few people sporting umbrellas!
The second features Wuppertal's unique hanging monorail train.