Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Back in Time - Playing Cards

playing cards
circa 1979
The night before my surgery, Brenda, Marilyn and I passed the time by playing Nerts in the hospital Guest House. We had to scrounge for three decks of cards: I found two decks in my car and Marilyn had one in her vehicle.

The cards from my car were certainly not "normal": one deck (Betsy Clark) was a mini deck, and the other deck was from Northwest Orient airlines. Cards were frequently given to those flying to help pass the time during a long flight.

In the days before Smart Phones and instant translators, airlines tried to assist travelers any way that they could. The insert in this deck states, "Pick a card, any card! Pick a language any language! Northwest Orient Airlines has printed this deck of playing cards with 53 useful English phrases . . . and their Japanese, Korean, and Chinese translations (in that order) to help you get along a little better wherever you go in our part of the world. Just show the card with the phrase you wish to say . . . and the card will speak for you! An Ace will say 'Thanks' for favors and good service, a Queen will hail you a taxi . . . and the Jack will demand to see the manager. With these cards . . . and a little waving of your hands . . . you should be 'speaking the language' in no time! Why 4 languages? We fly a lot of places, serving 38 US and seven Orient cities. So, pick a card - pick a language - pick a destination!"

Have you seen playing cards similar to these?


  1. Have never seen these...very interesting.

  2. We used to have playing cards from American Airlines and USAir, but they weren't "fancy" like yours!! Airlines also used to give out zippered tote bags that were great for keeping cameras, notepads, etc.

  3. I've never seen cards like these. What a clever idea!

  4. No, I never have, but what a good idea. All I ever got on the airline was a pack of Cheez-its. LOL

  5. That's new to me! What fun; I'm glad you shared with us!

  6. Those are interesting cards! I remember when they used to give you silverware......a long time ago sadly.

  7. Love the playing cards. Never seen anything quite like these ones. What a great way for you to pass the time whilst waiting.

  8. Wow -- from a time airlines cared about their customers. No, I've never seen anything like these either. And, no, any decks I have are not in the car.

  9. I love those playing cards with the translated phrases! I do remember the generosity and playing cards and the airplane replicas they gave me as a kid on my first international flight. It was lovely. Such happy traveling compared to now. My family does enjoy card playing I anticipate some on the next flight, though I'd love a pack of German phrase cards!


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