Friday, February 3, 2012

Picture Postcards

You might want to settle some, as this post took on a long life of it's own, rambling here and there and everywhere. Sometimes things just tumble out of a person when you least expect it. I thought I should edit and trim down to a nice palatable snippet, but there must be some reason for it, so I'll let it stand as it is. It is a good story and it has a happy ending! Still, I thought I ought to warn you.

I have long had a "thing" for postcards. I started a collection in my youth; beginning with quirky postcards from places I'd been with my family. Then it was postcards of kitschy tourist attractions across the US (I had a rather impressive variety of postcards from The Trees of Mystery! and The Prehistoric Gardens; both somewhat local attractions that I had actually been to on school field trips); which then graduated to cheesy 70s motel postcards from random places.

Later in my teens I took my first trip to New York city; wandering alone - I got lost on the subway, finally found my way to Greenwich Village, bought an amazing black leather beatnik coat in a funky old junk shop, kissed a boy on Madison Ave. in front of a blind saxophone player and started an obsession with artsy black and white photo postcards. For years I kept my collection in fragrant and tattered old cigar boxes; in every room of every flat that I lived in during my San Francisco years - there was always a wall or the back of a door taped and tacked with a mosaic of my favorite postcards. Man Ray's lips, Dali's skull, Frank O'Hara's piercing eyes, Bukowski's knuckles, Braughtigan's hat, Sophia Lauren's collar bones, Robert Johnson's hands, Theda Bara's make-up, Tiny Tim, Cezanne's Atelier, and at least two postcards with b/w photos of rumpled beds - they were like talismans, treasured and packed from place to place.

Post New York, but BSF (before San Francisco) I lived in Santa Cruz, California (a midsize Northern California surfing, hippyish, hipster, happy coastal community). I was working retail in a trendy-semi-edgy clothing store; my uniform at the time as I recall, was Monkey Boots with red satin ribbon laces, stripy stockings (yes, even back then), vintage slips and my Grandpa's old golf sweaters (turns out, an outfit that was not as attractive as I imagined it to be). The music I was into ran the gamut from Howlin' Wolf to Brian Eno, Camper Van Beethoven to Tanya Tucker and... Whoopsy there, I just slid straight from a ramble into a full on tangent, pardon me and my trapdoor nostalgia; I swear we will soon be coming back around to postcards.

So... one day a girl I knew from my circle of friends came into the store I worked at, she told me she was looking for a special black dress. I smiled at her and said, "Ooh, you got a hot date?" and she replied, "No, I need something for my father's funeral." It is a vivid, suddenly sweaty and most awkward moment that somehow, a couple of weeks later, turned into the two of us becoming nearly inseparable friends. I apologize Sabrina if I'm getting it wrong, but it's how I remember it. We stroked our late teenage angst with champagne, cemetery visits and the Singing Nuns; she was a great artist and I was very dramatic. We took up pseudonyms and penned postcards to one another. The Anguissola sisters, she was Sofanisba (after the Italian painter) and I was Persephone. We carried on this correspondence of our alter egos for some time, until life carried on and we eventually lost touch.

Are you still with me? Then I shall continue...

Not too long ago, through the labyrinth of social media, my friend and I found one another again. Sabrina has her own lovely blog called "Schtuff at Home" where you can see her amazing and varied creativity in the form of altered art and paper, drawing, painting, soldering, sewing, and more!
At the beginning of this year when I popped over to her place, I saw that she had joined an art postcard challenge. I saw that she was writing the postcards with two familiar names, Sofanisba and Persephone! Granted these two personalities are very different from our long ago alter egos, but I was so tickled to see those names again and love the project! You can see Sabrina's wonderful art postcards and learn about the challenge HERE!

Call it serendipity or synchronicity or some other "ity" word, but at the same time I found another postcard affair of the loveliest kind in "Postcards from Across a Pond" postcards between two crafty ladies (in digital form), the lovely Bernina, Rachel of Ted and Agnes and Panini, Tif of Dottie Angel. I love this too!

There is just something about a postcard. A few lines, a pretty picture, a moment in time, everything and nothing, a casual missive, a work of art, a connection to another place and time; such is a little scrap of card!

I'm gonna think on it, may have some to-doing about those postcards, yes indeedy.


mel @ loved handmade said...

Oh boy, I love this story! Yes, you must do something with those precious postcards. I'm sure you will think of something perfectly fitting..x

Sabrina said...

Dearest Persephone, yes what an awkward moment that was! But those were awkward times, at least for me. Thank you so much for sharing this. You really are the reason I started blogging and I hold you up as an inspiration. If only I had access to these like-minded bloggers when I was young - I wouldn't have felt so awkward and alone. Ah well, it's great to have it now and to enjoy our "virtual" friendship alongside our real one. Thanks!
- Sofanisba

teddybearswednesday said...

Oh what a wonderful story! I love it, and i love this whole post. WHen you get off track and ramble all add to it by giving it context.
it's just one of those stories you know about well fate and life and friends.
And reading the comment above from Sabrina bought a tear my eye. ( and I could relate to a lot of what she was saying)
and yeah I do understand about the postcard love,
thank you for sharing xo

Floss said...

That was a charming ramble, my friend! I really struggle with my vintage French postcards - translating the curly writing is quite a challenge, although often they were just sent with best wishes for the New Year or another jour de fĂȘte, which isn't so hard! I love your collection of real imagages and imaginary correspondence, and have enjoyed following up the links, which are so much a part of the story. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend!

greenrabbitdesigns said...

Brilliant, I love when you go off on a tangent!
Quite jealous of your Santa Cruz life. ;)
V x

Pomona said...

I love the rambling on - it is so interesting to hear such tales, and I can never be concise either, so that makes two of us! And I love the little sidetracks too. Have a lovely weekend!

Pomona x

chriswreckage said...

Love this post! Thanks for sharing the postcards. During one stretch as a High Schooler, I bought every one those "fishing is great in Oregon" postcards with the giant fish in a canoe from every store I saw it in. Now I wonder what I did with all of those...

Sherri B. said...

When I see a box of post cards at at thrift shop, I feel drawn over to look through them. One I found from the 40's, was a sweet Happy Birthday from a boy to his Uncle, all very properly done..It feels a bit strange to peer into lives like that..but I love it just the same and even find myself making up stories about the family. - The post card you made is great, at first I thought it was one you may have scanned..(chuckle). - Just reading your post and thinking about the post cards leaves me feeling a little nostalgic (?). - Then when you mentioned the two rumpled beds, made me feel sad, hummm.

Really great, thought provoking post, I opened it last night right before bed but new that I needed to wait to read it until I could give it proper glad I did. xo