Over this past summer I’ve noticed I haven’t gotten many postcards. Friends go away on vacation and usually drop one in the mail from wherever they’re visiting. It usually has some kind of landmark from the area. A lighthouse, a tourist attraction, or some kind of scenic view of the area.
Most of the time postcards don’t have much information about the trip. The old cliché “wish you were here” or some version is popular. What they ate, what they did, are doing or will do is condensed to a few lines.
I always think it’s interesting to see how different people utilize the small space on a postcard. Some try to write as small as possible just to squeeze in everything they possibly can. Others who write big take up most of the card with the address, your name, their name a maybe a few words.
I’m kinda disappointed I haven’t gotten many postcards this summer. At first I didn’t know why. There’s never any real heartwarming message on them, the pictures are nice, but usually get beaten up through the postal system. No the reason I like postcards is that it’s usually the only form of written communication I get from most people.
You know those stories where people save love letters, or it’s an unexpected surprise when they get a letter in the mail from someone they haven’t talked to in years. During WWII, wives were encouraged to write to their husbands overseas to keep up morale. Many widows held onto their letters long after their husbands were killed.
Nowadays we rarely get any kind of hand written anything. Occasionally, we’ll get a post-it note or a small scrap of paper to remind us of something. Most of the time most of our written letters are in the form of email. It’s rare that we get a personal letter. One you save in a box and look at and read every few years. You can examine the writers little nuances of their penmanship, the mistakes they tried to correct, how did they end their letter (“Love”,”Sincerely”, “From”…and how big is that “Love” in relation to all the other words? Did they dot their i’s with little hearts?)the way they sign their name and how they folded the paper.
I know some of this sounds crazy. But to me all these touches make up a more personal message. So that brings me back to postcards and why I like them. These 5×7 cards are the majority of written words I get from anyone. And those greeting cards don’t count. Most of the time people fill in your name and their name. They let the poem inside do most of the work. Sometimes they’ll write a message inside it. I would rather have the message from them then some Hallmark workers words that are supposed to fit the occasion.
It’s a shame written letters seem to be a dying form. It would probably mean as much to people in the technological age now that it had in the past when people only had pens and paper. Consider if you got one letter written in the “old fashioned” written way from your “sweetheart” and the same exact letter emailed to you. Which one would you most likely save and hold onto? Come on, when was the last time you printed up and saved an email?