Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Wish you were here."

I'm still finding envelopes stuck in drawers and dusty boxes in the back of closets.

My Mom died a year ago and I keep finding things she had saved.

Today I found some packets of postcards showing San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.

From 1933.

These 80-year old, hand-colored cards were safely stored in a Zip-Loc plastic bag. Thanks Mom.

I lived in San Diego during the 1960s and can say first-hand that the traffic crunch at the border has gotten worse.

Today it's a 22-minute drive on the Interstate to San Diego but I'm sure that in the "thirties" it took much, much longer to drive the 17 miles.

Of course there were different cars then. Many no longer are made such as Austin, Hudson, Nash, Packard, Riley, Studebaker and Willys.

Mainly, those with cars, drove Fords and Chevys in the midst of the Great Depression.

A bright spot was the 21st Amendment that ended Prohibition.

These souvenir cards show that the downtown airport was under construction - named for "Lucky Lindy" who had made his solo flight to Paris 10 years before.

Mercy Hospital is still on the edge of downtown although it's surrounded now by multi-lane freeways.

I had worked for the San Diego Union-Tribune in a building at 919 Second Avenue that also opened onto Third Avenue into Horton Plaza.

By the time I got there, the "Electric Fountain" was no more and bums filled the park benches, sprawled on the grass and were perfecting the art of panhandling.

One card shows the stately Bank of Italy building rising high. It was the forerunner of today's Bank Of America.

I passed through the beautifully preserved Santa Fe Railroad station using my 30-day Amtrak rail pass in 2005.

Today you can stand out front of the depot and off to your right, see cruise ships anchored in the harbor and, on the left, watch planes take off and land at nearby Lindbergh Field.

Another card features an architect's drawing of the proposed US Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) that shows how the military facility would look.

We "old corps" Marines who went through boot camp at Parris Island call these West Coast newcomers "Hollywood Marines."

After WWI, this Navy town "moth balled" millions of dollars worth of destroyers in preparation for the next time they might be needed after "The War To End All Wars."

In the Tijuana folder I saw there were three pictures of the Agua Caliente Jockey Club.
 But no mention - nor photos - of the two bull rings. Oh, that's right, the downtown one opened in 1958 and the Bull Ring By The Sea opened in 1960 .

When I was a staff photographer at the paper, one of us was sent down every week to the track to shoot the finish of the feature race on Saturday. It was tricky 2-country situation and we had a definite deadline.

Once I remember running late and called the desk for advice. Next thing I knew, a Tijuana motorcycle cop pulled alongside my highly visible Union-Tribune red and white camera car sitting in heavy traffic.

He flashed his lights, growled his siren and escorted me to the front of the lines at the border crossing.

I made it in time for the Sunday paper sports page.

There is no postage stamp because the folders were handed to my grandmother by a friend visiting from Coronado, Calif who wrote 1933 inside the flap.

Another packet in the plastic bag was all about Jacksonville and was mailed on November 1, 1938.

It had a hand-cancelled 2 cent stamp.

Probably delivered on a Saturday.

(March 29 is the 7-year mark of doing this blog. It has been delightful!)

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