Does anyone remember when kids traded cards? Not baseball cards, regular playing cards with beautiful pictures on the back.
Here in Carpenter Country we found a small deck of ten trading cards in our memorabilia pile and it transported us back to elementary school.
Our cards were illustrated with many different pictures, but a Persian cat on a blue background and a golden retriever on a red background stand out. In our youth, those two paired were worth four cards if anyone wanted to trade.
Brand new cards with all different kinds of pictures could be ordered from a company in New York City. We seemed to collect dogs; cats were a second choice, horses a third.
But now we’ve learned that during those WWII years playing cards were used for more than entertainment.
It seems some cards carried a concealed map to help soldiers find a safe escape route from POW camps. All that was needed to reveal the map was a bit of water or saliva.
Other decks portrayed detailed shapes of US and allied armored combat weapons to aid in identifying our armament from the enemies.
Years later in Vietnam, GI’s used the Ace of Spades to scare superstitious Viet Cong.
And playing cards are still doing double duty in the fight against Al Qaeda by depicting pictures of the most sought after terrorists.
We’re guessing trading cards will never make a comeback. But there are plenty of other fun things to do with cards–like telling fortunes.
Or playing Bridge, Rummy, Spite and Malice…