WHC Collections, 2014.040.0001 Back of Postcard.
As best as we could transcribe, the message reads:
Otto Anderson ställer till “surprise” på John och Emily på deras bröllops dag och han ville vila om några iller flera släk ifrån Gilbert kan komma ner. Han vänlar 50 cents ifrån eder om ni kommer. Jag vet icke om han menade for famil iller Ullsammans. Sänd svant till Emma ty John och vi har camma box. Hilda Engstrom
Which through Google Translate loosely becomes:
Otto Anderson sends “surprise” to John and Emily on their wedding day and he wanted to rest on some ferret several kindreds from Gilbert can come down. He vänlar 50 cents from you if you will. I do not know if he meant for family ferret Ullsammans. Send Tails to Emma for John and we have the cam box. Hilda Engstrom
Maybe another good example of why online translators don’t always work the way we think they should.
Aside from the obvious questions about who is Hilda and why does she have a postcard from Salem, the poor translation leaves a lot more questions. What does the elusive word “iller” mean. It becomes “ferret” in most dictionaries we could find. Is there an idiom or colloquial use of the word? Could Hilda and Otto have been working in the fledgling commercial fur industry in the valley?
A Hilda Engstrom appears in the 1907 Salem City Directory boarding on Union Street in Salem with a Carl O. Engstrom. Since usually spouses are listed together, this entry suggests that Hilda and Carl had some other relationship — sister/brother, daughter/father. Also, children rarely rate their own entry in the city directories, suggesting that Hilda was at least a young adult in 1907. The handwriting on the 1911-dated postcard would reinforce the notion that she was an adult at the time of writing.
Browsing local census, birth and marriage records, a Hilda Engstrom born in Washington State does make several appearances. Unfortunately, this Hilda was born about 1900, making her 7 years old in the city directory and 11 at the time of the writing of the letter. This does not appear to be our Hilda. More research is definitely needed!