Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hammon, Mabel and Annie

Sometimes postcards are interesting because they show a slice of life - and this is one of those.  It is more interesting because of the message on back, and because it is one of a series of postcards we have that were addressed to either Mable Norwood of Battle Creek, Michigan, or Hammon Marshall, sometimes of Battle Creek, other times of Detroit.

This one was addressed to Hammon Marshall from someone named Annie, and Annie is a little upset and none too subtle about what her intentions toward Hammon were.  The text on back reads as follows:  "I'm very sorry I did not see you when you were in BC.  I heard today you came to see that Mabel N.  You know what you promised me. I never thought that of you.  You promised you would love me forever.  But never mind. XXX Annie."   Then in the margins she wrote "Let me hear from you some".

BC = Battle Creek, and "that Mabel N." is Mabel Norwood.

This is postmarked Battle Creek, Michigan, Feb 18, 1916. 

96 years later, I can feel Annie's pain, sense of betrayal, and a bit of denial, very common emotions for someone in her position. Annie probably thought that she and Hammon Marshall would eventually be married, she'd keep house and raise a family, and it's possible Hammon mislead her.  That's all conjecture on my part though. 

Most likely Hammon had a decent job and was considered a catch.

But as it turns out Hammon Marshall married Mabel Norwood.   Mabel was born in 1886 and died in 1974 - I believe Hammon died some years earlier.  As far as I can tell they only had one child, a daughter, who was born in 1923 and lived until 2007.   I expect there was an estate sale sometime after that point and that is how these series of postcards addressed to Mabel and Hammon (mostly from relatives) eventually ended up our possession.  

This was a little poignant slice of life, a little bit of early 20th century romantic struggles, and Annie went through a very painful but ultimately very common experience.   Most likely she found some one else, kept the house and raised a whole passel of children.

These events were very important in these people's lives - but everybody involved has lived their lives, raised their families, had their careers, did whatever they're going to do and have been dead for quite awhile now.  These postcards and old photos we list & sell on eBay make me realize just how short life is.  And they also make abundantly clear (to me at least) that these were real people with real emotions.  Nothing abstact about them.  There was real pain in the words written on the back of this postcard.

Update:  Sold!


  1. It has been interesting to see the saga of Hammon and Mabel, as well as Bill, Mabel's sister unfold. Then when Annie was added to the mix, it got downright "soap-opera-ish". The age-old stories of love and betrayal have not changed much through the years - just different players.

  2. P. S. Bill was Mabel's BROTHER, not sister!