UPPERCASE Magazine: Issue 34 (Summer 2017)
When I was eight years old, my mom and I took a road trip with my grandfather. We rolled down the windows of his celery green Datsun station wagon (minus air conditioning) and hit the open road. We stayed at kitchy roadside motels and ate at local diners where enormous slices of pie rotated within big glass cases. My favorite picture from this trip is of the three of us standing beside an enormous tree while touring the Redwoods. I recall that the tree had an actual door leading to a small gift shop. We twirled the postcard racks selecting the best ones to send home to Grandma and Dad– short notes scrawled in my young handwriting describe the meals, sights, visits with family…and the number of times I had been carsick.
Most of us struggle to remember the last time we received a postcard in the mail, yet in the early 1900’s, the preferred method of staying in touch required just a few lines on a pretty card and a one cent stamp. These postcards featured illustrations of animals, courting couples, grand public buildings, bridges and landscapes. However, it’s the classic “Greetings From…” sentiment that became the most enduring staple of the genre. Perhaps these cards were our first form of social media, satisfying the age-old compulsion to say, “Look! I was here! I had a good time!”