Hello There - The Story Of The Post Cards

Mom & Dad were children of the Depression. Being so, finances were a primary consideration in almost all of their decisions. Even though Dad had a very good job and they were economically comfortable, this never left them.

My favorite story of their parsimony was that, until the end of their lives, they saved their mealtime paper napkins – smoothing them out, folding them carefully, and sliding them under their placemats. This was too much for My Bride and me. One of the first things we would do, upon arriving at their home in Fort Myers, was make a beeline for the breakfast table in the lanai, and then to the dinner table in the nook, reach under the placemats and THROW AWAY all those used napkins. Well, actually many times it was a paper towel scrap – because paper towels were less costly than napkins and somewhat as soft. I think you have to stretch the concept of “somewhat as soft” because the paper towel brand of choice was of the cheapest sort and very rough to my sensitive (I guess) finger touch. When I mentioned this to Dad, all he did was swipe the back of his hand across his lips and say, “You don’t got to use it long, do you.”

Now I ask you: How do you answer something like that??!!

Another example was that Mom never took photos on our vacations. Think of it, she would say, you have to pay to buy film; then you have to pay to have them developed. And how many of them are good? Maybe one or two out of a whole roll .. Ooo, you’re right there .. Instead, she would buy post cards. All the pictures are good, aren’t they? Otherwise they wouldn’t have made post cards out of them ...Well, sure... And if you don’t like the picture, you don’t have to buy it ...Ok, Mom... So she bought post cards. (She especially liked the ones from the motel desk drawer – because those were free!)

Fast forward 50 years.

When I was closing up the house, I found a stack about 8” high of those old post cards. Sat down and laughed – and dabbed my eyes – as I re-lived all those glorious vacations of youth: Seattle in the early 60’s with only the Space Needle, the Grand Canyon, Boston, Denver when all the metropolis was only a few square blocks; it fit on the post card. There was a Travelodge post card – a freebee with its photo of the typical two story, two dozen room motel – that boasted “Five minutes from Downtown Atlanta!” Have to wonder what’s there now (and how high). And on and on.

A bunch were of Cleveland: the Terminal Tower, the Art Museum, the Car Museum. These were from back when the printer’s address had a zone instead of a zip code (pre 1963). Such treasures; such time capsules.

Sent one or two of them to my sisters. Found it was fun so sent a couple more. Sent a few to friends; even received a post card in return. People said they really enjoyed them. So I kept it up. That’s how it started … it just kept rolling on from there.

So I send post cards. What are they – 5 or 6 sentences? Sometimes not even that. They’re such a joy to write. It’s also a little challenging to tell a complete story – Introduction (which could be the picture on the front), Movement, and Finishing Touch – in that short of time. Post card haiku, sort of…

Try it for yourself. It’s fun. I think you’ll find that, as you’re writing, you get to spend a few moments with that person – with your memories of them, past or present.

Here, write one to your Mom: “Dear Mom, Love you. Send money.” ...Even if you no longer know her address – as I no longer know mine – well, I’ll bet you can think of someone to reach out to. They'll be delighted to receive it. Guaranteed.

Read More on Other
Volume 20, Issue 8, Posted 1:24 PM, 04.17.2024