Ever wonder how Halloween would fare in a time machine? These mysteries are revealed when the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library features a display of Izo Milano’s antique postcards and memorabilia this month.
Milano’s partial collection uses mesmerizing colors and imagery to celebrate the traditions, superstitions and legends of this Oct. 31 holiday. The postcards and paper work ages range from the late 1800s to the 1950s, and include several rarities and masterpieces of artwork.
“You know a mailing is ancient when it has a green one cent stamp,” Milano says with a laugh.
The exhibit has several items that are more than 100 years old. Among his artifacts and their year of origin:
1894 — A young lady spooked by ghosts creeping from a story book.
1907 — Be scandalized by three skeletons brazenly gambling.
1908 — Watch a mischievous red imp crawl from its hiding place.
1911 — A cockatoo suffers a big scare
1914 — Laugh at the farm hog pigging-out on a jack-o-lantern.
1915 — A clown bobbing for apples.
The collection is a glimpse into unique American history and folklore. Among the harder-to-find, Milano’s favorite themes are postcards featuring elves, fairies or dwarves celebrating “witches” night.
“These little people are kin to nature spirits the ancient Celts revered, along with their reverence for agriculture and animals like the owl,” he says. “These early people, the Druids among them, were the originators of Halloween, as far as history reveals.”
Milano, also known as Issac Bedonna, 67, recently moved to Corvallis from Los Angeles, where he wrote, produced and directed. He’s now a member of a playwright group at Majestic Theater.
“As a child, I always felt connected to the paranormal,” Milano says, “as did much of my family. As a teenager, I found collecting these fun holiday antiques quite natural.”
While antiquing in Pasadena, California, he chanced on some holiday postcards in one of the long-gone antique shops and “obsession quickly set in,” he says. He discovered more cards in Florida, New Orleans and Washington.
“Today, you find fantastic specimens surfing the internet,” Milano says. “But still, there’s that thrill of discovering these little treasures in person.”
The Cabinet of Curiosities collection will be on display Oct. 16-31, 645 NW Monroe Ave., Corvallis. ☸