The Art of the Card

In the age of Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat and old-fashioned emails, my daughter started a thing: corresponding with friends by postcard. Her friend in Germany regularly dispatches beautiful images from wherever she happens to be, the pictures and the words each wonderful snapshots of her life at any one moment.

A cousin sent her an old postcard she found in a box at home and Caoimhe Instagrammed a photo of it here when it arrived. The mother of the sendee responded with, “Hey!! I bought that on our honeymoon!” In keeping with that new family tradition, I sent a postcard home to Dublin this summer from my mother’s box, one she had bought on a trip up-island with my dad years ago (in a life stage of decluttering she was happy to see it go to a good home).


Along with messaging us every few days and Instagram posts more frequently, Caoimhe sent a postcard from her month-long train journey around Europe earlier this year. Those few years ago when I did the same, I sent nothing*. There was no communication between me and those at home in Canada or in southern Germany until we called from a pay phone at the Augsburg train station saying we were back and needed to be picked up.

One of my favourite postcards, this was sent to my grand aunt sometime around 1920. It is framed for part of our St Patrick’s Day decor, even though the main ‘shamrock’ is really a four leaf clover (the shamrocks around the harp are proper little trinities). It was sent to remind Marian of ‘Old Ireland’ and includes the very Canadian news that “they say a flock of crows came back this morning”, wondering if she had seen any yet, which I just may add to my St Patrick’s Day greetings from now on.

I haven’t been writing so many letters on this blog recently; one reason is that a lot of creative energy is going into poetry. Maybe it needs to be a season of small, yet beautiful snapshots of life — some borrowed from my family boxes, some brand new.


* A postcard bought, but never sent: “Evening mood — Hell Station” from when my travels took me to Hell (Norway) and back. Yes, the sign on the shed does read, “Hell, God’s Expedition.”

old photos-5

To read a blog post illustrated with beautiful postcards sent to my grand aunt, such as the above photo, click here.

3 thoughts on “The Art of the Card

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s