Close to one-hundred years ago, my grandfather co-purchased a cabin in North New Portland, Maine. When my father was a young child, his parents and seven siblings would pack into a station wagon from their home in Bronx, New York and retreat to their rustic cabin with no electricity or running water. To this day, the cabin remains relatively frozen in time. Future generations still relish in the opportunity to completely disconnect from modern day life and responsibilities.
In the fall of 1979, my father Bill and his brother Jack visited the then Oasis Restaurant in Madison, Maine. Surrounding the mirror of the bar there were postcards, mainly from nearby states and regions. These postcards sparked a friendly contest.
The idea behind the contest was to see which brother could send the most postcards to the Oasis over a year-long period. They agreed to a set of rules which included keeping a record of the postcards that had been sent and that they could not send more than one postcard from the same post office.
Jack easily won the bet that year and continued to send postcards, right closely until his death in 2010. Over thirty years, Jack sent between 8,000-9,000 postcards to the restaurant in Madison, sometimes sending more than 100 postcards per month. Jack's career sent him across the globe, providing him with the opportunity to send postcards from numerous national and international post offices.
What started as a playful bet never became a point of personal notoriety for Jack. In fact, one of the most appealing parts of Jack's hobby and obsession was that he never released his true identity and lived under the alias of 'Postcard Jack'. The residents of that small Madison community remained perplexed and stymied as they tried to determine the real identity of Postcard Jack. They became particularly frustrated when a thank-you postcard would arrive to the restaurant postmarked from the Madison Post Office after Jack visited the restaurant the day prior for a meal. The local mystery of Postcard Jack became well publicized across the state and the mystery writer had a horse named after him in 1990. Postcard Jack became the winningest standardbred horse in Maine state history.
Jack's actual identity was not identified until after his death. While the Oasis Restaurant changed names and ownership over Postcard Jack's writing tenure and is currently unopened, his story is still well known in the area.