• Novelty postcard, ca. 1946

Or received one?

Postcards used to be a common form of communication. Particularly with those of a certain era. I remember getting lots of postcards from my grandparents as a tad. They were the original, literal text message: quicker to dash off than a letter, and cheaper to send too. (My grandparents, having gone through the Depression, were thrifty.) The only downside is that the mail carrier and anyone else who came across it would see the message written on the card. But the message coming from my grandparents was always “Love you and miss you.” Who wouldn’t want that to be seen?

An informal poll taken of the people in my immediate vicinity revealed the following. The older folks among us confirmed the grandparental use of postcards. But obviously said grandparents had no Internet access back in the day, as the Internet did not exist then. (I was excited when I got an actual enveloped letter from my GPs, as I knew it would often contain a stick of Juicy Fruit gum as a treat.) The younger crowd, eh, not so much. Postcards were most often sent while traveling. “I was here” the postcards say, in effect. (And you’re not, they imply.) Here’s proof. Check the postmark. (The poll also confirmed that grandparents are still the primary senders of postcards.)