Flirting and Fussing by Postcard: Anny Lieb, 1913-1914
A 1907 View of Rohitsch-Sauerbrunn
Card Number 1
Hochwolgeboren Fraülein Anny Lieb
Hochwolgeboren Fraülein Anny Lieb
Hochwolgeborn Fraülein Anny Lieb
(Upside down at the top of the post card:)
The postcard exchange between Anny and M.R. lagged during the last few months of 1913. She had graduated from high school and had begun working as a salesperson is a small dress shop near Hoffmanngasse 7. She had enjoyed the Ball season, but had no serious boyfriend. M.R. was also busy, traveling frequently to different cities of the Empire. Though both were busy, they kept in touch. He wrote her three short postcards in February and March. She responded with her own postcards.
Postmark date: Feb. 3
Les Joie Mademoisele
Postmark date: date unknown
Postcard Number 6
The last postcard forced Anny to decide if she wanted to continue to keep in touch with M.R. If she avoided meeting him when he came to Vienna, their relationship -- whatever it was -- would be ended. He would be hurt and likely no more postcards would pass between the two.
Final Three Postcards: The End
Fraülein Anny Lieb
Postcard Number 8
After their brief time together in Vienna, Anny sent M.R. a short letter thanking him for dinner and telling him how much she had enjoyed seeing him again. The letter was mostly polite and formal, but, for some reason, she included a "big kiss."
She realized that the "big kiss" had been a mistake when she received a letter back in which M.R. told her, in a guarded way, that he really liked her and wondered if she felt the same. She didn't think she did, but was not entirely sure. A couple of days after receiving his letter, she sent him a birthday card and promised that a letter would follow.
After waiting a couple of weeks for the letter, M.R. received instead another post card, It was nice enough, but did not answer his question. He replied with a post card (#8) that noted the absence of the promised letter and, beginning to think that she thought she was too good for him, he signed the postcard "The uneducated boy."
When Anny got his "uneducated boy" postcard, she was hurt by the implicit accusation. She wrote back immediately accusing him of trying to hurt her feelings even though they were such good friends and she had always treated him with warmth and respect. She did not answer his question.
After a couple of days, she felt guilty about what she had written in her letter to M.R. and sent him a colorful postcard with a chatty and friendly message. In response, M.R. pointed out in a postcard (#9) that she had again avoided his question about how she felt about him and accused her of feeling guilty about an "injustice" in her last letter when she accused him of trying to hurt her feelings.
With the last exchange, both decided they had been mistreated. The exchange of postcards ceased as each waited for the other to apologize.
Within four months of the last postcard, M.R. was drafted into the Hungarian army as World War I began. Though wounded by an artillery shell, he survived the war and returned home. A couple of years after the end of the war, he traveled to Vienna on business and impulsively stopped by Hofmanngasse 7 to see if Anny was still there. He learned from her former neighbors that she had immigrated to the United States and they did not know her address. Realizing that he would never see her again, M.R. spent a few minutes stumbling through the streets wondering what might have been if she had just answered his question the way he had wanted her to. And because she was so far away, he wished more than ever that he had her picture to put on his wall.