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The Slice: Amazing place

Vintage postcards show our promise

Every year, a few more people around here find out.

There’s one legal hobby that can mess with your mind.

I’m not kidding. Collecting vintage postcards of Spokane and the Inland Northwest can make 2012 reality look a little shabby.

Actually, you don’t even need to purchase them. Spending time scoping out old postcards online is enough.

OK, we all know that postcards are not photojournalism. Their makers were not obsessed with the warts-and-all truth. They didn’t care about context.

But spend enough time staring at elegantly rendered Spokane scenes from, say, the 1920s to the 1950s, and you can find yourself lulled into imagining that once this city was picture perfect.

No litter. No graffiti. No red-faced guy in a ballcap giving you the finger in traffic.

Stately bank buildings, rock-solid schools, glorious churches, stylish hotels, artistic bridges — you name it. Spokane looks like a terrific place.

Of course, it was. And is. Much endures.

But the time travel experience of immersing oneself in the carefully tinted realm of bygone days can make a person wonder. What if you could just step into that scene?

That, however, would be heading in the wrong direction. The future is what needs our attention. And magic is found in other people, not buildings.

Still, the Spokane depicted in vintage postcards is a handsome place. Over and over, there are examples of the ordinary having been rejected in favor of something better.

Just look at cards showing the Davenport Hotel, the Monroe Street Bridge or the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

You can tell that this city’s residents had aspirations.

We would be letting them down if we expected any less of ourselves.

Today’s Slice question: Remember that scene in “Jaws” where Quint and Hooper show off their scars? Well, if you found yourself in a similar scene — except that the scars in question were from kitchen injuries (cuts and burns, et cetera) — what would you have to display?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email The Slice Blog at is not new and improved for 2012. What did your “FREE” sign fail to make disappear from the curb?

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