Wish You Were Here, from Dwig

This 1908 divided back postcard by Clare Victor ‘Dwig’ Dwiggins is copyrighted by R. Kaplan, and on the back it says Germany Serie #49. I believe the caption here is a reference to a popular song or saying of the time, but I’ll be darned if I can tease Google into admitting there ever was such a saying. The reference, of course, was to wonder about people who seemed able to live well beyond their means. Can anyone supply the origin of the phrase?

This is one of my favorite postcards, not for the front, but for the message on the back. It was sent by Amelia to Florence Randtke in Rochester New York. Here is the message:

25 15 21 18 16 15 19 20 1 12 9 19 16 18 5 20 20 25 7 15 15 4 2 21 20 15 25 15 21 11 9 4 9 12 12 10 5 20 25 15 21 10 5 20 25 15 21 9 8 15 16 5 25 15 21 3 1 14 13 1 11 5 20 8 9 19 15 21 20

 I’ll leave it to you to figure out what that message means. Unfortunately I think Amelia’s code broke down slightly in the middle of the message, but the intent is pretty clear.

2 comments on “Wish You Were Here, from Dwig

  1. The cryptic code is a kid's idea of clever, in fact, this simple number substitution code is (or was) something learnt in Cub Scouts. The message is

    YOUR PROPSTAL IS PRETTY GOOD BUT O YOU KID
    ILL JETYOT YOU I HOPE YOU CAN MAKE THIS OUT

    There are a few Esperanto words in there, but I feel dirty reading such private, sensitive mail.

    The phrase " Do it on $8.50 per" (or sum variant) was in common use generally then. Remember the Hall Room Boys' subhead was "how they do it on 7.50 per", back about 1907?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.