I treasured postcards as a child! Partly because I wished I was traveling, too, and I wanted to see and know everything. Partly because I collected stamps and loved when friends used unique local or commemorative stamps rather than the generic ones. And, partly because it meant with all the fun and exciting things they were doing, they still were thinking of me. Who am I kidding, I still love receiving postcards.
My mother recently returned from a cruise around Southern Europe. We were able to check in most days via Facebook Messenger, and she posted pictures and quick updates on her timeline for everyone to see. At the moment, I am house/pet-sitting for family. They are in Northern Europe, at least seven timezones away, and we emailed back and forth the first day, and texted after the storms yesterday. I love that technology today allows us to know immediately what’s going on with our family and friends.
Another friend is a travel agent in Switzerland, and she posed the question about postcards this morning. So now I’m curious… if you are travelling this summer, where are you going? And, do you send postcards home to yourself as a souvenir (that was a thing once upon a time) or to family and friends? Or do you post your travel pictures and vacation updates on social media for the world to see?
I just turned 50 in March, so not all that old, yet I’m sad that my kids don’t know the joy of that little surprise in the mailbox. So much about how we communicate changed between our generations. We discovered internet and email right before our boys were born, and by the time they were old enough to write, texting was the exciting new thing. I’m not entirely sure they have ever received a postcard sent through the mail.
When my daughter-in-law was helping me pack to move, she saw all the letters, cards, and postcards my husband had mailed to me while we were engaged. In those six months we only saw each other four times, and calling on the phone long distance was too expensive to do more than Sunday afternoons when the rates were lowered. We wrote each other about everything from wedding plans, our jobs, our hopes and dreams for the future, and silliness. I still have every one almost thirty years later. My daughter-in-law thought it was sweet and commented that they just talked and texted, and now they have nothing tangible to look back on
Thinking about it now, I guess postcards were the previous generation’s tweets; only so many characters fit on the back, and you never knew who would be reading it.
I look forward to traveling more in the future and one day having grandchildren who will appreciate postcards as I do. Meanwhile, I challenge you to send someone a handwritten postcard this summer. It’s a wonderful (and inexpensive) way to share your experience and let them know they are special enough for you to make that effort.
And, note to all the savers and pack rats… as I was searching for an image to add to this little post, I made an interesting discovery. Postcards are big dollar collector items. Postcards from certain events, time periods, locations, or signed by famous people are highly sought after. That’s another reason to keep the practice going!