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Blog > Postcrossing Spotlight: eta55 from the USA!


I met Eric (aka eta55) last year, when we were both invited to talk about Postcrossing for the Transatlantic Educator Dialogue podcast. During our conversation, he struck me as a really interesting person, so I wanted to bring him to the blog for a spotlight interview. Enjoy!

How did you get started sending postcards? What is your earliest memory of them?

I have always been interested in correspondence. My uncle served in the Marines, and he used to send me letters from when he was deployed overseas. I thought it was amazing to get a letter from a foreign country when I was a little kid! I really never knew very much about postcards though. I knew they existed, but never really sent or received any until I joined Postcrossing.

How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

I read a news article about it somewhere, but I don’t remember the source. That was in the fall of 2017. I then encountered a teacher during a holiday gathering who was using it in her classroom to get her students engaged with other cultures. Our encounter inspired me to pursue it further, and I joined Postcrossing in January of 2018 and have been enjoying it ever since.

Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!

Here is a photo of my mailbox:

An American style mailbox stands on a lawn, surrounded by blooming flowers

It is out here in the real world, hungry for postcards!

The post office I use most frequently is a nondescript little shop front in a small strip mall on the way to work. Not particularly photogenic, many post offices in America are not, sadly. It has a postmaster and one clerk. The bulk of the cards I have sent have gone from there, so it has been instrumental in my involvement with Postcrossing. The postmaster got covid in December 2021 and was in and out of the hospital (very dedicated woman, she kept returning to work too soon and they had to call an ambulance for her twice!). She was a long termer, and was struggling throughout January 2022. I reached out on the Postcrossing forums and asked for postcards to be sent to the postoffice for when she returned to work and welcome her back. She got over thirty well-wishing cards from all over the world, and the next time I came in she told all of the customers they just had to wait, and went through each card with me in tears. Another story of Postcrossing and the power of loving gifts to strangers. I am pleased to report that she is doing much better now, back to her old self, and hand cancelling all of my postcards with glee every time I drop by!

Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.

I can’t show you a picture of it, because my favorite postcard is always the next one I will receive! There is hope and love and potential coming to my mailbox, and each card has a unique message, and very often a delightful image. Each one gives me the opportunity to go learn about the person who sent it, and to explore where they live, and learn more about our world. Each one creates a connection, even if only fleeting. Someone sent me a little gift a few days or a few weeks or even a few months ago, and when it comes today, that will be my favorite.

I do have favorite topics. I am always moved when I get a battered, scarred card that has fought its way through to me, often after a very long trip. I recently got a card from a postcrosser in the Bahamas, it had taken over two years to get to me from an island in the ocean about 750 miles away. I messaged the sender since it could no longer be registered, and they were delighted to hear that I had finally got it! Another connection! I always like to get meetup cards, because they mean that a group of postcrossers has actually crossed the gulf between sender and receiver and gathered together to celebrate each other and these connections. I met a group of Irish postcrossers via a couple of virtual meetups and I got a really special card from them recently. A few weeks ago a group of them travelled to Spain to attend a wedding of two of their group! So the Irish meetup card from the wedding in Spain I think really speaks to what I love about this hobby!

This is an impossible question, really, each one is my favorite!

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

Hard to pick just one thing. There is the joyful anticipation of walking out to the mail box, for sure. I think what I really like best is the little puzzle of finding a way to spread some joy to a particular stranger. You draw an address, and you have no idea of who it will be or where they will be located. Their bio and their favorites may provide you some ideas. Then you have to find the right card, and the right stamps, and craft a message to create a little package of a present all on a postcard. Sometimes you decorate it. I think another really joyful part of the process is the “hurray” messages. When you find out that little piece of cardboard that you released into the chaotic universe actually made it across oceans and continents and into the hands of another human that you don’t really know, and that they were glad to get it and that it brought a smile to their face! The fact that can actually happen, over and over again, thrills me every time!

Have you been surprised by any place that you have received a postcard from or sent a postcard to?

If I asked you to guess the country I’ve received cards from that has the shortest average travel time, what country would you pick (keep in mind I do receive cards from my home country)? I think most anyone would say in the U.S, you’d receive quickest from the U. S., right? Nope. That average receipt time is 10 days. I got a card from Rwanda (my only one from there) in eight days! Wouldn’t you love to know the story behind that trip? My only other cards (officials) from Africa have come from South Africa, they average 36 days. How did that Rwanda card get here in 8 days? That’s the shortest trip from anywhere I’ve received cards from!

Is there anything else that you are passionate about?

I am passionate about dogs. Of all of the creatures I have interacted with, they are my favorite.

I am passionate about science and the accumulation of knowledge. That is another keystone of the way forward. I am always delighted to gain an understanding of how things work!

I am passionate about the Constitution of the United States of America. It is an imperfect document, to be sure, but I believe it provides a template for the best way forward for humans as a race. Democracy is a messy business, and it is hard and requires dedication. Finding a balance between individual freedom and what is best for the group writ large is always a compromise. We have to continually work at it. I have to say as well that we (Americans) are not always very good at it.

I am passionate about communication. I am fascinated by the ways we go about it and it is utterly astounding to me that we are able to effectively communicate at all. We each experience the universe differently, our senses themselves often differ in capability, and yet we still are able to somehow bridge that gap and share ideas. That is nothing short of amazing. In that vein, I would offer that I am passionate about poetry.

Beethoven. That music speaks to me in my bones.

What excites me? What am I most passionate about?

Margo. My partner, my lover, my friend. Above all Margo.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or collections?

My wife likes to say that I collect hobbies! In no particular order:

  • I am a birdwatcher, so in a sense you could say I collect birds, or at least observations of them.
  • As a retired sailor, I love to visit beaches and lighthouses, so I collect those images and experiences.
  • I am gradually building a Lego city in my basement; the patterns of pieces and construction techniques intrigue me.
  • I collect rocks and tumble them. There is both a tactile and science/knowledge component to that.
  • I play chess, and have a small collection of chess sets.
  • I have a collection of submarine first day covers, as well as other ship first day covers, mostly sailing ships.
  • I have a small collection of fountain pens.

If I had to summarize the nature of my collections/hobbies/interests, I’d have to say that I collect knowledge and experiences, and that I have a fascination with patterns, in many dimensions and modalities.

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64 comments so far

Piquita, United States of America

Hi Erik from another birder in the US! Loved this spotlight. Especially your story about your postmaster. I love my mail carrier, she is looking at knee replacement surgery unfortunately, she loves to walk.

marit_la, Norway

Nice to read about you Erik.

beesknees, United States of America

Thank you for your story, wish my post master was like that

BestWishesEric, United States of America

Hello, Eric! Great to read about you on the blog. Hope to make it back to the DC meetup again someday!

Wynnie, United States of America

Eric - you struck again. Just reading your insights and feelings about Postcrossing made me feel very happy. I love it for being such a great "conduit for positivity", and you did a great job explaining the allure and the joy of it - thanks!

Marghit, Austria

We already met through a postcard. So great to read this interview now.

LovelyLindaPost, United States of America

Hooray Eric!!! I love to see you at Meetups!!!!

Judi-Wildflower, United States of America

You have a lovely, inviting way with words. It was a joy to read about you.

CaroLion, United States of America

I sent postcards to my students for 30 years whenever we went on family trips, they loved them, some who are adults now ask if I still send people postcards! My daughter showed me Postcrossing a year or so ago, and that fit right in. I just delivered a bunch of the Postcrossing cards to a friend who teaches at a low income middle school for her kids to enjoy.. Those kids loved them, some have never traveled anywhere, even 50 miles from home. You never know how those simple cards may reach, just like Eric said. =)

BeckyS, United States of America

What Eric said! Here, here! <3

Flippie, Canada

Thank you Eric.

farrallon, United States of America

Hi Eric:
I loved your thoughtful responses and share your sentiments. Plus, yes to Legos and fountain pens!

queenofc, Germany

Margo is one lucky woman !

CindyMc, United States of America

Nice to meet you, Eric! I really enjoyed this interview. 😊

mysweetlife63, United States of America

Hey Eric,
Donna from WI. What a great interview my friend! Thoughtful & moving responses!
Your Margo answer rocks!
My best to you & your lovely bride, always!
Don sends his best as well!

Ramya, United States of America

Way to communicate so well what a lot of us feel about this incredible hobby, Eric! Great interview, full of joy and downright good postal observances. So glad you were highlighted!

sonataca, United States of America

Yay Eric! So happy to see you on the spotlight!

WalkinMomma, United States of America

Lovely to meet you through this interview, Eric. Now I am even sadder that you weren't able to make it to my meetup in January. Thank you for sharing the story of your postmaster and I'm happy to hear she is better. Your comments about your wife made me tear up a little bit. Margo is a lucky woman. So glad they picked you for this spotlight!

June060310, Hong Kong

As I know, Eric is also a wonderful member in the forum. 💙 His thoughtful points of view and poetic expressions always brought me lots of positive feelings, though I haven’t been connected with him personally yet.

SalishSea, United States of America

geat interview---love postcrossings folk.

mikebond, Italy

What an inspiring interview, Eric! I would love to meet you, someday!

pmsobon, Switzerland

Great stories! And thank you for what you organized for your Postmaster.

NIDUSKA, Finland

Thank You for nice interview

Alba_jam, United Kingdom

Thank you Erik, your story made me smile; delightful.

Pacomole, France

Thank you Eric for this beautiful evocation of our hobbiy.
And very nice initiative to thank this charming employee of the post office.
As a collector of philatelic mail and retired sailor I agree with you perfectly.
Wonderful story.

abbyaguas, Philippines

Eric! I am soooo happy to see you here in the spotlight. Before clicking and reading this blogpost, I was thinking of learning chess just to overcome my feelings of defeat whenever I play it online. And the next thing I learned is that you play the game!

Anyways, hoping that I can visit you and the American postcrossers in the future for a meet-up!

mamash, United States of America

This TX birdwatcher enjoyed meeting Eric through this interview. Now I’m off to learn something new: what is a “first day cover” with regard to ships. A good day always includes learning, thanks Eric!

Shalottslady, Belgium

Eric is an outstanding Postcrossing Ambassador! Among the best, if not the best...

Meirkat, United States of America

Terrific interview! As a fellow birdwatcher, fountain pen collector, and all around fan of the USPS, I can only be thrilled for Eric to be featured this way. Well done, All!

epadron, United States of America

What a beautiful, thoughtful collection of answers. Nice to get to know you a little bit through this interview, Eric.

MsKoby, United States of America

Eric, it's so lovely to meet you. I feel like I know you. You are an eloquent speaker. Thank you for sharing part of yourself with us.

angeli91, United States of America

Love this spotlight, and the thoughtful responses are so wonderful! :)

betslets, United States of America

One of my favorite activities within Postcrossing is “meeting” other Postcrossers...I enjoyed “meeting” Eric and I especially enjoyed his response to the question regarding a favorite postcard...being the next one he will receive, along with the connections all cards provide. Maybe someday, I’ll enjoy an actual exchange with Eric. Great Blog post.

rdquintas, Portugal

Thank you Eric, truly inspiring to read your interview

Banissalam, Indonesia

Nice interview, thanks for the story

Toome2, Netherlands

Hi Eric, great story and a wonderful way of words why you and most of us love postcrossing...

DianeM, United States of America

Loved this interview. Eric, you gave me a number of fresh ways to look at the postcards that I receive. Thank you! Love your floral mailbox setting.

GayeDoreen, United States of America

This was fun because I recognized his Avatar! I sent a card to him back in 2019 and it took 13 days to travel 178 miles, so I totally get it. I get cards to Europe faster than that, but like he said, who knows where they go first. Great interview! 😃

Lynneizle, United States of America

Hello Eric,
I just sent you our Meetup postcard from Montclair, CA. I enjoyed reading more about you.

bmariej, Australia

This was a lovely read, thank you, and that's the happiest letter box that I've ever seen :)

Ssabalongo, Uganda

Its nice to see, our friend Mr. Eric on Postcrossing Highlight. In Covid times, Mr. Eric used to arrange the Online Poscrossing meetups, those were fun meetups ! Mr. Eric, lets have those online meetups again !


wifetoalineman, United States of America

It is great to know about you Eric. Thank you for the fun facts and for sharing your interests for postcrossers like me.

Julia79, Ukraine

Loved this interview.

bigskycrafter, United States of America

Glad you shared and I love the picture of the mailbox. Happy post-carding!

Ginnine, United States of America

Eric, what a wonderful peak into your life. So much of what you said about postcrossing resonated with me. Take care of you and happy postcrossing always.

Sharonscraps, United States of America

My sister, WalkinMomma, already mentioned that you had givein thought about traveling to Attleboro, Ma for her Meetup. It would have so nice to meet you. I was thrilled that shortly after that Meetup I got your name for a postcard and I was very happy to send you a card from that meetup.

I so agree with your what you said. It's not so much the picture on the front of the card that excites me. It is the personal note someone has taken the time to write that I love.

Thank you for sharing you story with us all.

seaview, United Kingdom

I really enjoyed this interview. Thank you Erik for sharing.
I like the Irish Postcrossers story you shared. I wish I got a postcard from Ireland one day. I am closer to Ireland than you are...hehehe.

One last thing, I can not find the interview.
If anyone knows the episode so I can listen to Erik share more in his spoken voice?

smiles, Seaview

seaview, United Kingdom

UPDATE: I found the direct link to the episode mentioned in the blog post

EPISODE Marcia, Anna, and Eric talk to us about the power of Postcrossing.

ChrisRe, Germany

Thank you Eric for this wonderful inspiring interview. I just loved reading it.


Thank you Eric.

cannycjy, Canada

What a great interview about Postcrossing and your personal experience. Thanks for sharing.

max_charly, Germany

Our very first address that we received from Postcrossing in May 2021was - that of Eric!!
And the hurraymail was so warm, we knew straight away - postcrossing is what we want to do!
He taught us that patience is very important here.
And we've learned to be patient.
Now, we read more about him and realize that our opinion about him is correct: He is a good man!
Thank you for giving us an insight into your life

marypostcrossing, United Kingdom

Fountain pens are an excellent thing to collect!

orange_memo, United States of America

Thank you Eric and hope you are having more and more wonderful postcards along the year

Bookworm72, United States of America

Such a great interview. I especially like the part about receiving hurray messages and the happiness of knowing that your little piece of cardboard that was released into the chaotic universe was delivered and brought joy to another individual. That's one of my favorite things too.

pbjohnny5, United States of America

Thanks Eric! Your meetups have been great, I appreciate all you do for the community! <3 :)

Lablauri, United States of America

If you’re ever in Washington State, USA,stop by MaryHill Museum. They have the largest display of Chest sets. I have never seen so many. Every shape and form and some very very old ones too. MaryHill is also a winery and is located on the Columbia River. Beautiful place .

Ching6767, China

The story of postmaster really touched me a lot . Wish all of you the best in health and happy life ! 💟

trillianastra, United States of America

What a delightful interview - thanks for featuring this wonderful human!

cartolineNH, Germany

Hello Eric, great to read about your interview. I wish you all the best in your life - stay healthy ! Happy postcrossing

fisherman, Ireland

Hi Eric - Great interview - Greetings from Ireland again.

harrickson, United States of America

Yay, Eric! Lovely blog post! Such a positive impact!

eta55, United States of America

All of you are so very kind, I am glad my words spoke to your hearts. It is because of you that this hobby is such a delight! I hope you'll excuse me, I have six open slots.....

rockycip, United States of America

Good afternoon, Eric,

What a joy to read your well-written article/story! My favorite line you wrote is where you said you collect hobbies. That is lovely.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Wishing you well,



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