So Long and Thanks for All the Postcards.
Keeping in touch with children at university:
Today a postcard arrived for me. My daughter Edith had been to an art gallery in Brussels and thought of me. Here it is:
A mother bird; it’s in there if you look. Very appropriate for a mother hen (well sometimes I act like one).
On the back was written:
“Thanks for all the postcards”.
I had sent her a lot of postcards: one a week for four years.
Postcards had been one of my ways of keeping in touch.
The dreaded day had arrived and we duly took her up and helped move her in and then I stood in her student room and felt myself starting towel up. She looked at me a little sadly, and kindly but firmly dismissed us: she had friends to meet and a life to make. It was time for us to go, but so hard to leave her behind.
How to resist the need to pester her with needy calls and fussy messages?
A few days later I came across a box of Penguin postcards in a drawer; I’d used a few but there were plenty left and here was an old fashioned solution – paper! All the excitement that a real letter or card always brings with a reminder that we were still there for her.
I flicked through and seized upon the prettiest one I could find, ( The Unconsoled? -perhaps notSo began a weekly postcard ritual, first to her and then also to our second child when she in turn took off to her new life. It was good therapy. I got to stay in touch and took delight in seeking out new postcards wherever I went. There were plenty to choose:
Picture postcards of her home city (oh, sorry, is this making you homesick?):
Penguin book covers with appropriate books covers:
Quirky Ladybird titles:
And the puffin ones for a touch of nostalgia:
And what happiness to go and visit our girls and find the postcards up on their walls. They really liked them!
I’m still sending the cards; we’ve not stopped, though sometimes I miss a week. But now the traffic is starting to come the other way.
Just when they have a bit of time to spare.
Where to buy
I was delighted to spot a box of Puffin Postcards in a real shop in Bristol. So you can shop local at Iota on the Gloucester Road, but they don’t seem to have them online :