Your Humble and Penitent Servant
The postcard has been a prized possession of my mother for decades, its date revealing that it is more than a hundred years old. The country lane depicted on the card entices, pulling you in to the lush foliage that lines the way. Along the bottom margin, my grandfather’s elaborate handwriting reveals his skill.
The photo on the card reminds me of Vigue Road in North Whitefield, Maine, where my grandfather Maurice Reilly lived as a young man. You can see his name in the faded red letters stamped onto the front of the card. The other letters are inscrutable though the handwritten note clearly expresses Maurice's belief in self-betterment, which he strived for throughout his life. It reads:
“Of course it is all in the way anyone is brought up, but howe’er good that might be what would you expect for results in a subject like your humble and penitent servant MLR 1-9-06“
Maurice wrote the note on the card and dated it January 9, 1906, when he was just 21 years old. The postmark reveals it was mailed from Bangor, around the time when Maurice was first hired as a mail clerk on the railroad run from Bangor to Boston.
Interestingly, the card was mailed to Gertrude C. Skehan, a 25-year-old clerk in Augusta who would eventually marry Maurice’s older brother, Ambrose, in 1910. Skehan was also from Whitefield and a member of St. Denis’s Church, where the Reillys also worshipped. At age 22 she was listed as a teacher, and later records indicate she studied through the first year of high school.
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