By Kirby Neumann-Rea • Of the News-Register • 

Back, and forth: Past, present bump elbows in old postcard, new zoning plan

Marcus Larson/News-Register##The property at 436 S.E. Baker St. is subject to city planning business this month, and was the post-war residence of the writer’s aunt and uncle.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##The property at 436 S.E. Baker St. is subject to city planning business this month, and was the post-war residence of the writer’s aunt and uncle.
A Cannon Beach postcard sent to McMinnville in 1946, of section of road where cliffside meets tide pools, no longer accessible to vehicles,
A Cannon Beach postcard sent to McMinnville in 1946, of section of road where cliffside meets tide pools, no longer accessible to vehicles,

Over a span of 85 years, my father collected a thousand or so postcards. It’s a fascinating collection culturally, historically and personally.

I found three from the 1940s mailed to McMinnville addresses. One of them had me asking the odd question, “Where have I seen that address before?”

The answer, I realized, lay in the agenda for last week’s McMinnville City Council meeting. Within a few days of each other, the old card and current situation had bumped elbows.

But first, a bit about the card and some Rea family history.

The 1946 card was addressed to myAunt Catherine and Uncle Otis Haslop. Following their marriage in 1945, they enrolled at Linfield.

The card is among those collected by my father, Don Rea, from age 10, growing up near Aberdeen, Wash., until his death in 2020 at the age of 94. And following Navy duty that ran 1943-46, he took Catherine’s suggestion to enroll at Linfield.

Until going through Dad’s cards, I’d forgotten about the time Catherine and Otis spent in McMinnville. It turns out they lived at 436 S.E. Baker St.

It makes me wonder how often Don spent time with his newly married sister and her husband, how much of their busy lives they shared.

Don lived off campus at first, then joined the Delta Psi Delta fraternity and moved into its College Avenue house. I walk by it frequently and always think of my dad, who played football and was active on campus.

In the ‘30s and ‘40s, his aunts and uncles and cousins fed Don’s postcard cache, along with their friends. “To add to your collection” was frequently the sum of a message on a postcard from London, Canada or Arizona.

In his Navy years and beyond, he added hundreds of his own. I have not seen any cards from his Linfield time, but the Navy ones are like a memoir of those years. In one of them, written at the age 18, he asked his mother for permission to be baptized.

Over the years, Catherine evidently passed along to Don numerous cards written to and from her, as did their mother, Bertha.

I recently delved into the collection, in part to make sense of the cards and in part to start returning many to members of the family. These include some I have in my own collection, nearly as large as my father’s now, after 50 or so years.

So many of the cards exchanged between our grandmother and the Haslop family need to go back to my cousins. The cards are precious documents that have been sitting in boxes, unseen, for too long.

It’s the same on my mother’s side. I have dozens to and from Elizabeth Neumann Rea and her mother, Anne Neumann, along with many other cousins.

My mom’s sister, the late Barbara Wallach, worked for years as a travel agent. The ‘60s and ‘70s postcards she and family sent from Hawaii form a time-capsule trove of their own.

The three McMinnville-bound cards that jumped out at me last week could not display more diverse American scenes — Hotel Brodhead in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania; Hug Point, just south of Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast; and “Greetings from Muleshoe Texas.” Postage on each was one cent.

For its design, the Muleshoe is one of my favorite cards in Dad’s entire collection. I noticed it was addressed to Otis, “c/o Lynfield Colledge, MacMinville, Ore.”
It was mailed on Oct. 13, 1946, by Army buddy Ken, who was being assigned to radar school. Ken advised, “I’ll write later on to let you know what to do with my jacket.”

The Muleshoe is one of those classics with a collage of small images filling in the block letters of “Texas” — a desert sunset, high-rises, the Alamo, a beach, a derrick spouting oil, and more.

Two earlier cards sent to Catherine and Otis in McMinnville resonated even more, 76 years after their posting.

Grandma Rea wrote them in September 1945, from her birth state of Pennsylvania, about a train ride east to see cousins. She addressed the card to Mrs. Otis Haslop at the family home in Portland, writing, “Since I haven’t learned your new address, I will send this to the home.”

The Portland address had been scratched out and the card re-addressed: “McMinnville Ore c/o Linfield College.” Ever-frugal Bertha Rea saw no reason not to send a postcard already affixed with a penny stamp, message unchanged, knowing Otis and Catherine would understand.

My interest was piqued with the Hug Point card, dated Jan. 25, 1946. From a “Mr. and Mrs. RED,” it says, “Hi Kids, Having wonderful time, Glad U aren’t here.”
But it’s not the coastal scene or chatty glibness I found most interesting. It was the address: “436 Baker St., McMinnville.” That would be 436 S.E. Baker, where my aunt and uncle had lived in the mid-1940s.

The house stands on the east side of Baker across from St. Vincent de Paul, just north of Hagan Hamilton Insurance. Lying just a few blocks from campus, it was an ideal location for a pair of newlyweds newly enrolled in college.

Last week, the city council approved it for rezoning from office residential to commercial so it could be used as a short-term vacation rental. The supporting documents include remarkable before-and-after images of the now elegantly renovated home.

The original deed was for 1939, so it was no doubt a pleasant, well-kept apartment house when my aunt and uncle, ages 19 and 24, started their married life together. But photos from the 1980s show it had become quite dilapidated.

The Haslops would go on live in Portland, Southern California and the Washington, D.C. area while raising their six children, then retire to the Sierra Nevadas. They were inveterate walkers and master musicians, Catherine playing the piano and organ, Otis the violin.

I can picture them, walking hand in hand south on Baker, then down the trail across Cozine Creek, through what is now Storey Park. They might have gone up the other side to attend classes at Melrose or Pioneer halls, or perhaps to meet Don at Vespers, which was required in those days, or maybe over for a sack lunch around the Old Oak.

I’ve looked through all of Dad’s cards, and there are just the three from his Linfield years. That causes me to further regret not asking my father about his experiences. He and Catherine and Otis are all deceased now, so I have to rely on my imagination:

Dad coming to Sunday dinner at Catherine’s, or raiding their shower when the hot water went out on campus, Don and Otis debating Christian theology or the wisdom of the Marshall Plan, and Catherine refereeing with a “that’s enough, boys.” Both brother and sister had a mischievous streak, so I can also envision my aunt sneaking into Melrose after hours to play the pipe organ, as her brother stood watch at the door.

My dad never learned to type. Since this was the 1940s, and Catherine loved her brother, she probably typed his papers for him.
I have a few of those still. Perhaps they’d tell me more. 

Contact Kirby Neumann-Rea at or 503-687-1291.


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