Sunday, September 14, 2008

From the Blough family vaults: A dirty postcard to a mistress

Kansas, 1907--It seems my great-great grandfather liked to screw-around on his wife. This is close to 101-years-ago, when the dead are scarcely a memory any longer. If you want an idea of how much you're going to be remembered--if at all--this is a good lesson.

But be wise, dear friend, and be sure to destroy all of the physical evidence that might fall into the wrong hands of, say...a historian. Then, they, your descendants and others in the future, could accidentally discover what a fool, a coward, and a scoundrel you were. One ancestor forgot to burn a pile of his post card collection, the majority-of-which were written to his mistress. Oh, it was a very different America, and yet the it's still the same. There was Populism them with all its own internal-contradictions just as there is today. Some of my ancestors were prairie Populists.

As far as I can tell from the accounts, my great-great grandfather was a very wrong-headed small businessman who owned a hotel for a time. It burned-down around the time of this card. A petty bourgeois, some of the worst among us, and I believe his own father was a barber and leather-worker in the Old West. Since the Revolutionary War, some of the Bloughs have worked closely with horses, and we're a vast surname. I have my great-great-great grandfather's Old West Bible. You have to wonder whose hair he cut during his time living in 19th century Kansas. He died in the 1890s of poor health, possibly tuberculosis or pneumonia.

On December 25th, 1907, his mistress felt it important to mail him saying that her ride on the railways had gone well. Wonderful, at least they were satisfied, though I doubt Mrs. Blough was. If you think everything nowadays is new, unique, and that you're the first person to have must be under the age of 30. That's right kids, you're not the first people to discover illicit-fucking, I hate breaking it to you. Most of you are as boring as you suspect, so try to work on that one. Your parents are full-of-shit too, so why imitate them so much?

My point is, I reject a lot of things in my family history. Many people do, or like to think that they do. I'm not mistaken in my assertions, but all Americans of every color harbor bigotry and racist conditioning, it's inherent to our culture.

While these lily-white slobs were playing house, thousands of Native Americans were being herded into the reservations, thousands were being forcibly-sterilized for being "different" or troubled, millions of workers were being exploited and flogged like slaves, while blacks were being lynched from the highest-trees and still worked as slaves when they weren't being hounded under vagrancy laws; and while our military was slaughtering untold thousands of Filipinos, these ancestors--not the mistress--of mine were screwing in their ignorance. Such are the lives of the middle class.

It's a funny little card from an unfunny little era, not so different from our own. It was yesterday, and I reject the racism and the hypocrisies of that time and this era. Why is reincarnation necessary at all?
Postscript, 09.18.2008: There are what appear to be remnants of writing along the left-margin of the postcard. Yes, some of them are stains from deterioration, very perceptive. I'm guessing it's a reference to the spurned- wife.

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