Updated: Dec 29, 2022
Here I am lending a helping hand to bring the "Golden Age" of the latter half of the 1800s to contemporary North America through the dying art of snail mail. Perhaps you'll find yourself the recipient of one among the twenty postcards I mailed from Skopje, North Macedonia. And, yes, you read correctly-- 20.
Since I can remember, I've always delighted in opening a mailbox to find a postcard (or any correspondence) from someone's travels or daily life and pondering the psychological metrics of decision making which led them to select THAT particular image for me. Wondering if there's a hidden meaning or symbolism to sleuth out. With so many different styles of card-=historical, artistic, scenic, photographic, comic, seasonal, greeting--a so-inclined mind could occupy itself for weeks!
My mind saunters off as I study the card. Something so small, with such a weight of significance. A handwritten flash fiction crafted for me. Where was the sender and in what state of mind did they pen the card? Did they send any others? What inspired them to think of me? Was it love? Friendship? Camaraderie? Loneliness? Confusion? Jubilee? A sense of obligation? A whim? A compulsion? Boredom?
I have a storage unit somewhere with a suitcase--okay...I fibbed...two suitcases-- filled to the brim with postcards, letters and handwritten notes I've received throughout my time in this realm. Birthday cards from my mum dating back to when I was nothing more than a mere infant. Letters penned in cursive, calligraphy, written in runes and code, conjured hieroglyphs and taped together serial killer collage arrangements from magazine, children's book and newspaper cutouts. Letters on handmade paper, artificially aged paper, on napkins and the backs of envelopes, receipts, candy wrappers, brown paper bags and coasters. Post-it notes. Cartoons, caricatures, schematics, poems, lyrics, philosophical, existential and spiritual musings.
My aim is to recreate the delight in all those whom I love, which admittedly, spans to include more than a mere twenty persons. Alas, there are pesky things known as budgets to consider, which James does remind me of often in his gentle way when I set my sights on purchasing an entire inventory of postcards when I happen upon a particularly evocative stash displayed by a local vendor. In spite of his loving redirection, I still can't seem to grasp how purchasing a minimum of fifty postcards, along with postage from each country we venture to is not a reasonable, perfectly rational and modest investment.
When we led a less itinerant existence in a condo on Lake Erie in Luna Pier, Michigan, we would decorate our walls with postcards from our travels.
James and I have been granted good enough fortune to have traveled to the sacred acropolis of Delphi and the sacrosanct realm of Iceland. The wall above is a shrine to the most hallowed of places—framed postcards of Einar Jónsson’s sculptures and paintings, the ruins of Pythia, the Oracle’s Delphi, and the natural beauty and power of Kirkjufell. Two statues, beneath the frames feature Hygieia (left) and Pythia (right). The former, a goddess of healing, and daughter of Asclepius, the god of medicine, and the latter, he High Priestess of The Temple of Apollo in Delphi, who reminded travelers near and far to “Know thyself.” Visual memory triggers, illuminated by candlelight each night before we lied our heads to rest.
James feared we would one day run out of wall space, but I always kept the faith.
Did you know deltiolgy is the formal name for postcard collecting-- the third largest collectible hobby in the world?