I do not actually know who the man on picture is or will he like to participate in “Käi ja koo” (walk and knit) competition, I just wanted to post the rules for future reference.
“Käi ja Koo rules in English.
1. Four-member teams can participate.
2. Supplies (yarn, thread, knitting project bags) will be provided by organizers.
3. Each team have one knitting project which will be handed over from one competitor to another.
4. Every team-member walks a track about 100 meters long, while knitting with five double pointed needles.
5. Before the start cast 40 stitches, distribute stitches on four needles and knit the first round.
6. The yarn ball is kept in a knitting project bag, hanging on competitors wrist. The bag will be handed over from one competitor to another as well.
7. The prize goes to the team that can work on as many rounds as possible, the quality of work and finish time are important as well.
8. The race is taking place on a field, wear suitable footwear.
IMPORTANT: Knitting needles can be hazardous. Organizers will not be liable for injuries.”
It seems to me that some people believe that just like books should not be judged by the cover, in case of postcards the image should also be considered irrelevant.
At least, even if the first postcard DOES have “Good party mood” written on back, it also has, it seems (the text is faint by age now) that there is a question mark after the text, so it might be an ironic message, after all.
The second card - with painting “In prison” by artist Franz Karl Eduard von Gebhardt (I assume) - jokingly hints at the message, sent by an older teacher to a younger one in 1915:
Happy new living place. I see you have followed my footsteps? Try now how easy it is to deal with such bear cubs, you used to laugh when i cursed mine. Do they still hide the stick?* Our school had inspection in middle of week. Thank God I did not have to climb under the table. Oh, I would have forgotten, that my life in schoolhouse has another side. I do not have to be bored any more, I play [piano] every evening. I have a good piano now, it was bought from Pärnu. There were dances one night and I had chance to make the sound of it heard.
Wishing you to be strong and tough,
Your fellow sufferer
March 13, 1915”
* as this card was sent to my young future grandmother, I stopped to wonder after reading this sentence: “Were both of these woman lame? Quite cruel of the students to hide their teachers walking sticks!” … then I realized that the stick may have been a standard classroom item back then, used for punishing the students
This reminds me a story about my great-great grandfather Madis.
In a way he had the typical story - his father beaten to death by order of a German landowner, the German clergyman “forgetting” about funderal, so that 12 year old Madis had to read the burial send off … But later Madis became first a schoolteacher and then a mill owner. Starting with a small mill in Pärnu - the local German neighbors expecting him to fail, but he did not, he was able to buy bigger mill eventually and to get quite prosperous.
And being prosperous, he wanted to send his children to school. That meant German school, as Estonian schools did not exist.
For school Madis needed to bring birth certificate for his daughter Tiiu. He went to the clergyman to get the certificate … and returned with a certificate where his daughter was recorded as Marie.
Because a native name Tiiu would be ridiculous, obscene for a girl going to German school. The other girls would ostracize and tease anyone with such native name, THAT was why the clergyman refused to give certificate with name Tiiu on it!
It makes me quite proud to see Estonian names used in public. And it makes me sad that, once again, so many parents pick names for their children that would hide their nationality, help them to fit in among the generic Western crowd.