#25: Dayton, OH – Help translate Polish!

D is for Dayton: Featured Post Card for the A to Z Challenge.

photo (3)


Hedy Lamarr – Photo credit: cosmorochester collects

It was an adventurous time. On Tuesday November 8, 1949, Apolonia (she went by Pauline) and Witold (pronounced Vitold) were in Dayton, Ohio. They had married only a few days before – perhaps this was part of their honeymoon!.

It was a turbulent time. World War II had ended less than 5 years earlier – Witold had escaped the atrocities in Poland with his life, but many friends and family had not been so lucky. The United Nations and NATO were young and ineffectual. Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic of China only one moth before their trip, the Cold War had recently begun, and the Korean War would officially start only 6 months later.

It was an exciting time. The man on the cover of Time Magazine that week was Selman Waksman, an inventor, biochemist, and microbiologist who had coined the term “antibiotics” and discovered over 20 of them. He would go on to win the Nobel Prize only a few years later.

It was a gleeful time. Witold and Apolonia might have seen a movie at Loews Theater. Samson and Delilah had just been released in theaters, starring the brilliant and beautiful Hedy Lamarr.

It was a sentimental time. They bought a colorized post card showing the Business Section along Main Street – The Biltmore Hotel, Loews Theater, a bank offering loans, and plenty of American flags. My grandmother wrote to her parents back in Connecticut, signing it as “Polcia”, a diminutive form of Apolonia.

This is all I might ever know about their trip, unless they sent other post cards from their journey. I can’t wait to explore more of my collection and find out!

Dear all, This is so close to the summer heat. Shows in only a sweater. Red skirt is good because I was very quick. Quite a good trip already.

Kochani wszyscy, Tu tak ciepła blisko jak lato. Tylko wystaw w swetrze. Czerwony skirt jest dobry bo sie mało quick. Dosyc dobra podroz juz.

My grandmother has nearly the same handwriting as my mother. Side by side, I can barely tell which is which! It is steady, neat, and legible. I was able to decipher most of it, and it has a simple sentence structure, so I got a much better translation this time using Google Translate. Last time I had to translate a post card from Polish to English, I had help from Kay at Travel Bug Diary. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the magic of the internet works again! If you can translate Polish, please let me know if my translation is correct!

Family History

Durabake IncI thought I was done researching this post, but something made me keep going. When I told my mom I was writing this post, she was surprised to hear they had ever been to Ohio! Well Mom, wait til you hear this.

They were in Dayton on Tuesday November 8, only three days after they got married! Thanks to the magic of the internet, I found their wedding announcement in a now-defunct local newspaper. It describes how Witold, a young aircraft mechanic who had only been in the United States for a year (after a brief stint working in London), won the heart of a young miss, who was now a “missus”. Pauline worked for the Seaside Blouse Company, while Witold was employed by Durabake Inc. According to Popular Science, Durabake was a company that franchised infrared ovens to dry the enamel coat of a car.

Her gown was white embroidered silk with long sleeves, which my mom wore to her wedding almost 4 decades later. Pauline had an all white bouquet with chrysanthemums and carnations, accented by ferns. The maid of honor (her sister Wanda) wore a rust-tinted rose taffeta gown, while the three bridesmaids wore almond green (now THAT is an interesting color combination!).

The article also revealed my great grandfather’s name and hometown, which I had not previously known. Michael, for whom my uncle (mom’s brother) is named, was from Vilna, which they indicate is part of Poland, but is now known as Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

Post Card History

I actually learned a lot about post cards themselves in the writing of this post. I can discern a few pieces of interesting information by looking at the texture of the post card, the coloring method used, and the postage.

Linen Era (1930-1945) *

New printing processes allowed printing on post cards with high rag content that caused a linen-like finish. These cheap cards allowed the use of gaudy dyes for coloring. The firm of Curt Teich flourished because of its line of linen postcards. Many important events and scenes in history are documented only by these cards.

Postage Rate *

The postcard rate was increased from 1 cent to 2 cents as a wartime measure. When World War I ended at the end of 1918, the rate was lowered to its pre-War level of one cent… the conclusive raise to 2 cents was in 1951.

Teich Company Series Numbering **

Later series were identified with letters as well as numbers:
…1930s : A or AH + year (1 = 1931 / 2 = 1932 …) + postcard number…

So in the bottom right corner of the front of the post card, 9A-H903 indicates the post card was printed in 1939, and was post card number H903.

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Categories: A to Z Challenge, Family History, Ohio, Post Cards

Tags: , , ,

11 replies

  1. I like old post cards, they capture moments in time.

  2. Very cool! I live in Cincinnati and just put up a post today about hiking on Saturday in Dayton, Kentucky!

  3. Another fascinating postcard tale. I think you could make a lovely coffee table book from all these!


    Twitter: @mentalmosaic
    Blog: http://www.mentalmosaic.com/blog

  4. Jen, you found out a piece of history I didn’t even know. Yes, my mom and dad were probably on their honeymoon. They were married on Nov. 5th., only a few short months after they met! My mom told me they went to Texas for their honeymoon, but I didn’t know they went through Dayton to get there! Keep those post cards coming!

  5. Texas! I have a post card they sent San Antonio, Texas on November 15, 1949 – I’ll post that one probably for the letter T. I knew it was from them but I didn’t realize it was their honeymoon until now!

  6. I can’t make out all of the words, but I did figure out that your grandmother was a practical fashionista. 🙂

    Dear all, This is so close to the summer heat. I went out in only a sweater. The red skirt is good because it doesn’t wrinkle a lot. Quite a good trip already.

    Kochani wszyscy, Tu tak ciepła blisko jak lato. Tylko WYSZLAM w swetrze. Czerwony skirt jest dobry bo sie mało GNIECIE. Dosyc dobra podroz juz.

    I like wrinkle-free skirts myself.

  7. What a great story revealed while researching this memento.


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