A trip on the swift and far railway

Posted April 1, 2014 at 11:00 pm

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
April 2, 2014

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“One smile from you in Kansas City would transfer me to heaven.” So indicates the message on the front of this card designed to resemble a railroad ticket on the “Swift and Far RY Co.” The card was sent on October 19, 1914, to Miss Minnie Fleming of Willard, Kan.

The message on the back was written by “F.R.” and goes: “O.K. kid, but I am sleepy and all in. Got in Topeka at 4:30. Never went to bed and it is 8 p.m. now. Hope you are in bed this minute. I won’t get out of here until 11:40 p.m. Will write you a big long letter as soon as I get to Iowa. Would just give my arm to be with you right now – but I couldn’t keep you up. Ha Ha. Bye, F.R.” It’s difficult to tell if “F.R.” was on his way to military basic training or if he was heading to Willard to see his sweetheart, one Miss Fleming. Postcards bearing messages like this often offer an interesting view of how people kept up with one another in the early part of the 20th century, in an age before e-mail, the internet, and cheap, reliable long-distance telephone service became the norm.

In this day of texting your “BFF” (best friend forever), it’s refreshing to read messages like the one above and wonder if F.R. and Minnie ever really did get married and make a life together. We may never know.