Wednesday, November 28

Greetings from a Leper Colony

Fine. Technically, I'm not at a Leper Colony. I'm home, nowhere near Hawaii. But check out this postcard from the Ginny files:

There are several things I love about this postcard. At first glance my eye is drawn not to the view but to the people on the overlook. Those are some seriously high-riding red short shorts. Not to mention the sweet mini-afro. So the question is, why would you sell a postcard that involved people other than the purchasers. It's one thing to want a picture of yourself at the top of an overlook, but a picture of complete strangers? Perhaps the idea is that if you're too lazy to hike up there yourself, you can live vicariously through these two anonymous people. Of course, it's designed to be sent to someone else, so maybe the idea is that you can trick the recipient into believing that you too made the hike.

The second brilliant aspect of this postcard is the description on the back:

"LEPER COLONY, HAWAII...far below this lookout lies world-famous Kalaupapa Leper Settlement on the Island of Molokai. Here, while helping to care for the unfortunate victims, Father Damien contracted leprosy and died of the disease April 15, 1889."

So, exactly who's Father Damien? And is this one postcard just a single example of a line of postcards dedicated to his life? It seems like such an odd fact to point out about the colony. So then I googled Father Damien and it turns out that he's the patron saint of Hawaii because of his work with the lepers.

So there's your little ironic moment turned history lesson for the day.

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