By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
Theresa Chaides, a fourth-grade teacher at Marquez Charter Elementary School, has been interested in antiquing since she could remember. This interest drew a fascinating story when she stumbled upon a postcard with roots that traced back to a fellow Marquez student.
Chaides’ fascination with antique items started early. She said she had antique items in her home and grew up exploring antique stores. She began collecting mostly paper items as she grew older, including postcards, travel souvenirs and maps relevant to Southern California.
When she became a teacher, this interest escalated further.
She shared that in fourth grade, students study California as a part of their social studies curriculum. Over the years, Chaides would attend summer institutes and learn to incorporate her ephemera in the classroom—and she did.
“I’ve shared souvenir folders celebrating highways, islands, deserts and movie stars’ homes,” Chaides said to the Palisadian-Post. “I use oversized folios of trips along the Southern Pacific Railroad to highlight growing cities and vast expanses now being seen by many thanks to the train.
“So when I say I know for certain that when I purchased this California-themed Christmas postcard in San Juan Capistrano over winter break and saw a fourth-grader’s name on the back, I had landed on something really special.”
The postcard is dated 1918, addressed to “Mr. Henry Mauch”—the same name of a student at Marquez.
“When I purchased it, I saw the last name, and thought, ‘Wow, that’s the last name of a student at my school,’ and didn’t think more of it,” Chaides said. “When I got it home and was reading it thoroughly, I realized the first name was the same too, and then a story began to unfold. I thought more and more that this Henry Mauch might be related to the student.”
Following winter break, Chaides presented the card to Henry’s mother, Christine, leading to a series of discoveries.
“We believe he is Henry’s great, great, great uncle,” Christine told the Post.
Upon further investigation, Christine found that Henry Francis Mauch (1894-1986) spent the first 20 years of his life in downtown Los Angeles before serving in the U.S. Navy during World War I.
Mauch’s sister wrote the postcard to him while he was in New York and questioned when he would be returning to LA. The card has a return address of East Vernon Avenue, indicative of East Los Angeles.
“The address rang a bell because that’s where my husband’s grandparents lived, but we never knew of having a Henry in the family, so that’s actually probably the coolest part about finding out all of this,” Christine said about the findings.
Christine added that his real name was Heinie, not Henry, but he went by Henry professionally. Heinie is a familiar, German form of the name Henry.
“How the card made its way to a San Juan Capistrano antique store is a story to be written … How it caught my eye and landed amongst my collection, is truly divine,” Chaides said.
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