Shown in the card above is a happy couple, the woman sitting on a gentleman’s lap. The pitch is obvious: Come to friendly Oakley – pretty girls and handsome men. Closer inspection shows the couple wearing cookie-cutter expressions and paper-doll body types. Note the gentleman’s rolled pant cuffs and shoes. “OAKLEY” emblazoned on an orange, felt pennant suggests that the war between the sexes is resolved happily in Oakley.
The message, written by William Putcamp, declares that he greatly enjoys life in Oakley. He writes that he’s “having lots of this now.” This teasingly salacious comment, combined with reports of a “party every week,” portrays Oakley as an East County social hotspot. Is the message intended to tantalize Mable into writing soon in order to hear all the juicy details?
Addressing the correspondent as Miss Barnes suggests she’s neither a family member nor cousin of Putcamp. Will this card make her jealous? Putcamp certainly doesn’t indicate that he’s coming soon to Casper, located north of Ft. Bragg on the California coast. And he doesn’t explicitly invite Miss Barnes to Oakley for the weekly parties. What is the hidden message here?
This month’s History Mystery challenge is to learn more about William Putcamp. Did he love Oakley so much that he settled here in fertile Delta farming country? Was Miss Barnes tempted to join him or did she stay in Casper, home of timber logging and salmon fishing? E-mail your contributions – insights, genealogy and clues regarding the life and times of these mystery correspondents – to East County historian Carol Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.