Postcard. For a few years in my early twenties, there were a lot of postcards in my life. Written, sent, received, read, stuck on the wall of my dorm room, tucked between pages as bookmarks. When I was travelling in Europe as a university student, postcards were a cheap souvenir and writing them a good excuse to sit on a bench near the bird sellers along Las Ramblas in Barcelona or on the steps of the Paris Opera with bread and pigeons and send a short message faraway. The thrill of buying foreign postage, figuring out the details of yet another currency in yet another country, and the sound of the card as it dropped in the postbox and the squeak of the metal slot closing after it were all a part of the ritual of sending these little flying carpets.

You could send a postcard to your family to say hello and that you were safe and happy. They traced your steps through different lands with a time lag that sometimes meant you made it home before the postcard got to their hands. You could send a postcard to someone you knew only glancingly and wanted to know better, wanted their attention, but didn’t want to risk the intimacy of a written, sealed letter. Flirtation by postcard can tell some good love stories, I’m sure.

Once I had a friend who was famous among us for his postcards. He seemed to get interesting summer jobs all over the country and made a point of visiting local attractions and sending us postcards. The images were always stunning and the back provided just enough space for one philosophical thought. I liked these tiny bits of metaphysics. Eventually, we had a falling out – this kind of thing happens – and the postcards stopped. I have no idea what has happened to all those postcards I already had.

What is Present, not precious?

This entry was posted in Kidstuff, Present, not precious - November 2016, Travel, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Postcard

  1. I used to have a postcard of a painting in the Fitzwilliam Museum depicting “Death”. In fact, I got copies several times. This day’s tarot card, and ‘my’ postcard, imply that there is a need to let something go and to remember that life is a cyclical process. Google won’t gratify my desire to see the picture again – I’ll have to find a way to revisit the real thing. Cyclical process.


    • Melissa says:

      How fitting that its a revisit that you are seeking of this painting. I think I know the one you mean. Yes, tracing footsteps again to see how we’ve changed in the interim is one of my favourite forms of navel-gazing (no offense to navel-gazing – it does a lot less harm and more good than a lot of other activities people engage in these days!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. frances says:

    i used to collect postcards, both new & mail stamped ones. And everytime I go to an art gallery, I’ll always come away with one or two as a souvenir. But I find it hard to part with them, as they are such great reminders of places. And I still love receiving them, dont you?


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