Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Vintage Postcards

Today we went back to the thrift market up the street.  It's one of the only places we can walk to from the house, and I wouldn't have anything else in its place.  Until today, I had yet to spend over three euros fifty there in one shopping trip, and I have bought whole lot of neat things so far.  Then everything changed today when I bought these vintage postcards.  In total, I now have ten of them.  They are stamped, postmarked, addressed and, in some cases, even written out.  All of them are from 1903 to 1908.

I was just about to walk home when my new best friend, the man who works in the book department, told me that they had just gotten some postcards in.  He thought I might like them.  He said I would appreciate them and see the difference between them and some reproductions of cards from around the same period, which he also showed me.  Or at least, that's what I inferred.  In actuality I have no idea what he said, but that's irrelevant.  He knows me, even perhaps better than I know myself.  I personally had no idea how thrilling leafing through antique postcards might be. This is despite the fact that I've only been to a handful of the places pictured and I still don't really know what they say.  
In the end, it was hard to only bring home ten out of the two-hundred or so cards.  They all had something, whether it was a hand-tinted facade or a particularly striking figure.  They're mostly from around France, a mix of Paris, resorts and rural areas.  While the people are too small to really make out their features, you can see their clothing and general attitudes.  There are shopkeepers posing on the street and bathers sitting on the sand.  There are men with bicycles and impressive mustaches. There are streets and skylines.  Then there are the notes written on the back in impeccable penmanship and fading ink. They are casual, but also speak of a time of more formal manners. Overall, the notes appear lighthearted and inquisitive, punctuated with jaunty flourishes.  I can only imagine the excitement of writing them to friends and lovers and the stories that lie behind them.  Who collected them and why did those people value them?  Being the guardians of these words, written by and for people who are long gone, is an indescribable feeling.  Walking away with them in my purse gave me shivers and made my heart pound.  Now, what to do with them?

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