Redistribution of happiness

One postcard at a time

A few weeks ago a letter arrived at the hospital and was opened by Annette Smith, administrative assistant to Rose McMullin, chief nursing officer. Smith read it and dropped it off with CEO Lori Wightman.

Smith sometimes receives personal letters from former patients or people in the community; however, this letter held a unique item — a 1908 postcard of Maywood Hospital, which operated in Sedalia from 1905 to 1915. It was located in the former mansion of A.D. Jaynes on the southwest corner of Broadway and Ohio. The letter writer was 93-year-old Lowell Joerg from Stockton, California.

Joerg’s postscript was practically a dare in the age of the internet: “Oh, yes, my daughter says you can find me on Google but I never look.”

Well, we looked and found an interesting story. Turns out Joerg has a unique hobby — collecting old postcards and returning them to recipients or someone connected to the image or cities of origin. One story written in 2015 said Joerg had been at his hobby for 25 years. Doing the math, he’s now been finding and returning postcards for 31 years. Joerg said he calls his hobby a “redistribution of happiness.”

The postcard, shown below, is addressed to Mrs. J.P. O’Brien of Kansas City, Missouri, and from “Lottie” with a postmark of Green Ridge, Missouri, and dated Aug. 22, 3 pm, 1908.

According to another story found on Google, only about 25 percent of people Joerg sends cards to replies. We plan to not only reply to thank him for sending the postcard but to share a bit of Bothwell’s history and a few swag items.

And Google Lowell Joerg. It will bring you a bit of happiness.

The back of a postcard of Maywood Hospital from 1908
The front of a postcard of Maywood Hospital from 1908
A letter from Lowell Joerg address to Bothwell Regional Health Center