I have a postcard lying about the house somewhere, scrawled in my own hand, from the International Rose Test Garden in Portland, that I sent to my mother one of the times in recent years I visited my brother Keith and his wife Heather and their son Gavin.
It was because of my mother, that the first time my husband and I flew to Finland via Minnesota and Amsterdam, I rushed through each airport to purchase and scrawl out a quick greeting to each of our kids–who were scattered about several house in our neighborhood (so as to prevent fighting) while we were gone. I purchased stamps and then posted them before boarding each new leg of our flight.
Once in Finland, I repeated the same routine through most–if not all–of the cities we visited. At Santa Claus Village at the Arctic Circle, however, I purchased a single “message in a bottle” inclosed in a pale blue plastic bottle, complete with an address label and wrote out my home address before purchasing the proper postage and sending it on its way. Of course we were all reunited at home before that one arrived.
I put a hook through the cork at the end of it and hang it on our family Christmas tree every year.
It was my mom who started it.
I don’t really recall that she went anywhere without us very often. But if she did–I remember Hawaii, in particular–she was always mindful to send each one of us our own postcard from wherever she was.
It could have been part not wanting us to forget her or for one second think she had forgotten about us, and part wanting to share with us the wonder of her rare trip away from the six of us.
In any case, for the longest time I kept them all.
Along with the occasional postcard from my grandparents Jacobs. (Perhaps this tradition originated with them? Although they traveled even more infrequently than my mother–only going to Hawaii once and because a good friend of my grandfather’s lived on a military base and had his own guest cottage, so all they had to pay for was plane fare.) Most likely from somewhere in San Diego.
As I got a bit older, I would purchase a postcard and a shot glass from anywhere I had the rare blessing to visit. Mostly likely also either Sea World or the San Diego Zoo. And occasionally Salt Lake. I’m sure there was a shocking lack of tourist postcards and chotchkies to be found during our annual trek to Randolph during branding season.
And I’d long grown tired of looking for my actual name D-a-l-e-n-e on the signature license plates of various locals on could find in tourist traps.
So postcards and shot glasses it was.
The shot glasses are long since lost or broken.
But every now and then the occasional postcard turns up in some long lost pile of memories.
(I forget to label them as such, but I’m trying to keep up with the occasional writing prompt provided by Ann Cannon on her Facebook page. You will find them tagged under the category cannonball run, for no other reason it seemed more interesting than “prompts by Ann Cannon.” )