Isabella was born and raised in upstate New York, so she was very familiar with east coast winters.
After she and Reverend Alden married, they served congregations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. where winter storms often brought snow, wind, and dangerous ice.
Fortunately, Isabella’s book sales allowed the Alden family to sometimes spend a portion of their winter months in sunny Florida; still, there were times Reverend Alden’s duties kept them in the cold and snowy north instead.
When the good reverend retired in 1910 the Aldens moved to California, where they built their dream house in Palo Alto (click here to read more about their house).
Never again did they have to deal with harsh winters, extreme cold, or deep drifts of snow that had to be cleared from walkways and roads.
The Aldens found California winters delightful. Januarys were warm and mild; Februarys boasted average temperatures around 60 degrees. For them, snow banks and ice dams were things of the past.
In her letters to old friends and relatives in the east, Isabella might have mentioned the perfect weather she enjoyed, free of “fierce storms and slushy spring thaws.”
And when she hadn’t time to write letters, she could send off a quick postcard that made her point for her about California winters.
Picture postcards made up a large portion of the California printing industry. They featured color photographs that depicted what it was like to spend a winter in that state.
Some postcards featured images of flowers that bloomed in the winter months, like poppies and bougainvillea.
Isabella loved flowers and often marveled over the varieties of roses that bloomed beside her porch in California:
“Red, cream, salmon, pure white, and every shade of pink. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them! The world seems made of roses!”
Other postcards showed people boating on lakes or swimming in the ocean in the middle of winter.
Each postcard was like a little advertisement for the state of California, teasing and enticing people to come live the good life among the orange groves and poppy fields of the west coast.
Isabella was an ambassador for the state, as well, because California life certainly seemed to agree with her. One day in November she wrote to her niece, Grace Livingston Hill:
“Today is glorious sunshine, and the grass and trees glow in their freshly painted garments of green after the rain of yesterday.”
It sounds like Isabella was very happy in her California home!