Blog > A special postcrosser: Corry1919 from the Netherlands!
Disclosing one’s birthday isn’t a requirement in Postcrossing, but it does allow us to compile statistical data, send you an email on your special day, and occasionally, spot some cool postcrossers… like Corrie (aka Corry1919) from the Netherlands!
As you can probably guess from her username, Corrie was born in 1919, and is now 96 years old, making her one of the oldest postcrossers on the website. Her life spans several major events in the history of the world, and so much has changed in the meantime that we were curious to hear about her experiences — especially in relation with mail. So we talked with her about it with the help of her two nieces Marry and Marian, who introduced her to Postcrossing “to make her world a little bit larger again. When you are that old, friends and family pass away and only loneliness remains. We thought that postcards from all over the world would bring her back the world.”
From them, we learnt that Corrie Loos was born on May 25th, 1919 in Wognum, a small village in West-Friesland. She’s the fifth child in a family of eight siblings and used to work as a housekeeper and later in a butcher shop until she retired at the age of 65.
Because of her beautiful handwriting, she was recommended in the thirties to apply for a position at the Land Registry. She did, but was rejected for health reasons… though you’d never guess it looking at her now 96 and still in good health! :) To know more about her relationship with mail and Postcrossing, we asked her a few questions.
- Corrie, what is your first memory of writing letters and postcards?
When I was young I sometimes got a postcard for my birthday. Later, when I was on holidays I would always send postcards to my family and friends. I have also corresponded for many years with a Hungarian girl who had moved from Hungary to the Netherlands. She has lived with my family for many years and in the sixties, she moved back to Budapest. From then on, we regularly sent postcards to one another to keep in touch. Internet was not available in those years of course.
- How did you hear for the first time about Postcrossing?
My niece Marry was already a postcrosser and she thought it was a lovely idea to create also an account for me. She made Marian, another niece of mine, also an enthusiast and then ‘suddenly’ I got postcards from all over the world! Now that I am old and my legs are painful, I don’t go out much anymore. But with Postcrossing the world comes to me at my home! It is always a great joy when I find new postcards in my mailbox. My favorite card I got from Aats and Nica (aka aatsnica) from Estonia. There is an old barn on it with some sheep and chickens, very beautiful!
- How does Postcrossing work for you? What can you do yourself and on what parts do you need help?
My nieces Marry and Marian actually do most of the work. They write and translate the cards and put the pictures on my profile. Every week my niece Marian visits me. She then brings her laptop and a stack of new, unwritten postcards with her. First she translates for me the cards I received that week and then we read about the details of the new Postcrossers we are going to write and look for suitable cards. So my nieces keep me very much involved with Postcrossing, which is, I think, a modern version of an old-fashioned way to connect people with one another from faraway places.
- What do other people think about your hobby?
They love it! I live in a retirement home and sometimes my neighbours visit me of course. I think they are a bit jealous. They always ask how it is possible that I get so many beautiful cards. The nursing staff speak some English and translate the text when I receive a new postcard. They are also always very curious if I have got new cards again.
- How has mail changed during your lifetime? Is there anything that was particularly different before, compared to now?
Yes it is! Previously we wrote and received many letters, nowadays almost everything goes through the e-mail. Even the bills you get are digital. Therefore, the postal traffic is becoming increasingly expensive. I’ve got a card from my father in 1937 with a stamp on it of 1.5 cents. Nowadays you have to pay 73 euro cents for a stamp; you could send a hundred postcards for that, back then! Can you imagine that! And if you would send a card with a short or incomplete address, it would still come to the right house. During the war my younger brother was sent to Germany to work there. When for the first time we got a letter from him, it went like wildfire through the village. Everyone wanted to read it, the world was so much smaller.
Postcard sent by Corrie’s father from Bergen to Wognum in 1937.
Thank you Corrie, Marry and Marian for this wonderful interview!
PS – Thank you everyone who sent Corrie a postcard for her birthday — she got more than 900 of them! Head over to our Facebook page for some photos, plus a message from Corrie and her nieces. :)