13 January, 2012

Postcards from the Past

Today I went for a ramble through Greenwich.  I hadn't set out to buy anything, but the market was so unusually calm that I stopped to sift through the old ceramics and coronation memorabilia and worn maps and carved pipe heads.  So many stories intersect in an antiques market, intersect right beneath my fingertips.  I stopped at an expansive crate of old postcards, organized by the countries from which they were sent.  I eavesdropped on the vacations of Brits who are long gone by now, learning that Marjorie and Dad had a terrible crossing to Sweden but were enjoying Gothenburg, and that Maria found it horrific to have to pay 3 marks to send post back to England from Germany.

One postcard caught my attention and wouldn't let go.  It was from Berlin in 1911 and was covered in the most amazing script.  I bought it for a pound really just so that I could keep looking at the stunning handwriting!  I can decipher barely a single word of the message, but the script has a beautiful, buoyant rhythm and the ink has gone purple with age.

I am holding a hundred-year-old memory.  One hundred years ago "Miss Dora Watson, Greestone Mount, Lincoln, England!" received this chance to experience 3x5 black and white inches of Berlin.  She saved it, and someone after her saved it, and someone after that person...so now today I am aware of 1911 Berlin, Miss Dora Watson, and the traveling friend who linked them.

I wonder what will become of my memories.  Will my journal, or my digital photos, or any of the rambling words I deposit onto this page on the world wide web, last a hundred years?  Will any of it remain -- tangibly -- to tell someone about London in 2012, or that I existed, and existed here?  I like to hope that something might.

1 comment:

carrie said...

I LOVE this post. Did you know I collect old postcards? I am pretty sure we should be friends forever and ever.