Monday, May 19, 2014

All's Fair in Love and Wallets

When I was about 10 years old, I bought my first wallet.  I believe It was a souvenir of The Shepherd of the Hills in Branson, Missouri. It was red-dyed leather with a tooled image of a horse head and had black, plastic-thong-wrapped edging and a button snap.  It came with an ID card to fill out, which I did of course, writing my name in my best script.  I had an allowance, so I did have occasion for using it, although my money typically went quickly to comic books and candy.  I believe I also carried a school photo of my 5th grade girlfriend.  All of that is what made this weekend's find personally relatable.

The Chicago World's Fair, "A Century of Progress", celebrated Chicago's Centennial and ran from May 27, 1933 until October 31, 1934, closing between November of 1933 through May of 1934.  It featured new architecture in the Moderne style and celebrated technological innovation.  Highlights included the arrival of the Union Pacific's Zephr streamliner after a record 13 hour run from Denver, Colorado and the landing of the German airship Graf Zeppelin.

Inside was the previous owner's ID card.

The 1940 census shows James Pace as being born in 1923 and living with his grandfather Frank Hall (89), who owned a Blacksmith shop in Steffenville, Missouri, and aunt(?) Agnes Hall (51).

On the back of the id card was the 1934 calendar.

I assume this was an original insert.  Odd that he kept it.

Also inside were some receipts.  Reading the watermark, they appear to be receipts for USPS Money Orders and date from 193? and 1940.

Almost unnoticeable, tucked deep inside the wallet pocket was this photo-booth picture.

James was 17 in 1940 and I'm guessing this was his sweetheart.  Unfortunately, there's no name on the back.  I've named her "Helen".  James was prime age for World War II.  I hope he made it.

Somewhere around freshman year, I pulled that wallet out for the last time and after being subjected to mockery by my peers decided it was time for a real wallet.  These days my wallet is still mocked by my peers, but more for it's George Castanza-sized bulk.

I imagine when my wallet is pulled out for the last time, all that will be found is some credit cards, a little cash, a dozen or so Home Depot receipts and my Ray's Donuts "Donut Lover's" card.  And I'll bet that last donut will still be unpunched.

For more 1933 Chicago World's Fair memorabilia read here.


  1. how bittersweet! i wonder if he's still around, and if he would be interested in seeing that photo.

    1. I couldn't find any other information about him. It's times like this I wish I had a membership with so I could search their public records.


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