This is an example of what genealogists call serendipity.
We moved into our current house four years ago. It was much bigger than our old house, and so had a lot of extra space to fill. We had just had a baby, so we didn’t have much money to spend on artwork. I decided to see just how cheaply I could fill the walls without resorting to ugly hotel-type stuff or posters from IKEA. I also wanted to see if I could incorporate our family history into the decor in interesting ways (i.e. something other than antiques and/or a wall of ancestor photos).
I had one small hallway that especially cried out for something different. I decided to find vintage postcards of places that my ancestors (or my husband’s) had lived. I already had a few, and I searched eBay to find more. The one above was one of my favorites. It shows the old high school in Plymouth, Wisconsin, where my mother-in-law’s family has lived for generations. I bought it for $6.99. The listing said it was postmarked 1910, but it didn’t say what else was on the back.
A week or so went by, and the postcard arrived in the mail. I ripped open the envelope, admired the vintage cheerleader, and then turned it over.
This is what I saw:
Could we arrange a game down there with the Waldo High School or second team, Friday night. We would guarantee you a return game through our principal—we would want 4.00 and will give you the same when you come up. Answer on the next train as we want a game for Friday.
Le Roy LaBudde–Ass’t Mgr. Plymouth High School B. B. Plymouth Wis.
LeRoy LaBudde sent the postcard. LaBudde is my mother-in-law’s family’s name. A quick search revealed that LeRoy was a collateral ancestor of hers. Nearly 100 years after one of her relatives mailed this postcard, I’d bought it on eBay without having a clue who it was from. What are the odds?
Freaky stuff like that happens all the time in genealogy. It’s pretty cool.