Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Posts tagged "usa"

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live on Mars? Maybe the question brings to mind flashbacks of Matt Damon cultivating his crop of potatoes on The Martian… but what about other important stuff, like mail? Who will deliver our postcards from Mars to our friends back on Earth? And how will mailboxes on the red planet look like? 🤔

We might not be able to send postcards to space just yet, but with the help of Matthew (aka COSmatthew), some families in Colorado Springs, USA enjoyed a fun space & postcard-themed afternoon this month! He organized a workshop at the Space Foundation Discovery Center that helped everyone sign up for Postcrossing, and send their own space-themed cards to people all around the world. How cool is that?!

Here is Matthew’s report of this event:

Greetings from the beautiful city of Colorado Springs in the United States of America! Our City is a large hub for the space industry in our country, so it’s no surprise that we have the Space Foundation Discovery Center, a top-notch space museum here for which I oversee Guest Relations.

Postcrossing workshop at the Space Foundation Discovery Center!

This Summer, the Space Foundation Discovery Center is exploring the topic of what it will be like to live and work on Mars. One of our activities is a station where you can create your own postcards to send to others to let them know what you’ve been learning. This station has been so popular that I knew adding in Postcrossing would be a natural fit.

Postcrossing workshop at the Space Foundation Discovery Center!

With the help of the Postcrossing staff, our Programs Team went to work learning how to use the Postcrossing platform and how we could best teach our guests how to get the most out of the experience. By the time the “Postcrossing to Mars” workshop came and went, we had a lot of smiling faces and kids (along with adults) who were positively giddy at the prospect of receiving postcards from around the world.

And who knows? One of our custom postcards that was made in the workshop might be coming soon to a mailbox near you!

Postcrossing workshop at the Space Foundation Discovery Center! Postcrossing workshop at the Space Foundation Discovery Center!

Well done Matthew for this very cool workshop, and for bringing Postcrossing to the Discovery Center. Those big monitors make it look like a command center, and it’s really neat to see the website up there! Who would have thought that putting two cool things together would make something even cooler?!

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Earlier this year, we noticed a curious link on Terry’s (aka Terry5) profile… which triggered a few enthusiastic email exchanges, and eventually ended with the Little Mail Carriers jumping onto an envelope headed to Ohio to check out a very special place. Come discover the Postmark Collectors Club, and their wonderful museum!

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

Hi everyone! We traveled to the center of the USA to visit the National Postmark Museum, the premiere collection of the Postmark Collectors Club. Yes! There is a whole club devoted to the collecting, studying and enjoying the trusted postmark! The Club has been around since 1946 and a few years later some of the Club members formed a group collection of postmarks. When the collection began to grow, they actually put it into an old School Bus!

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

The club’s membership comes from all across the USA and many other countries. Each year they hold an annual convention somewhere around the USA, getting together to share postmarks, stories and good wishes. The Museum has continued to grow and preserve material important to the field of postmarks and postal history. The Museum has been in a few homes along the way typically moving to larger spaces to house the holdings. Then it moved to Bellevue, Ohio, USA, into the Historic Lyme Village, where it has been since 1978.

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

One of the largest single holdings is the Willett-Thompson Collection, and today it is held in more than 300 blue binders.

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

We checked out many of the special collections including postmarks from Military Camps and Bases. “First Day Cover” with postmarks that were only cancelled on the first day that a new stamp is issued by the Post Office.

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

There are so many of these in this collection, covering many years. Some of the other special collections here in the Museum include postmarks with slogans, “Pray for Peace” cancels, and individual U.S. state collections. Being mail carriers, we moved over to our favorite part of the museum, a collection of Post Office photographs.

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

The museum has drawers and drawers holding more than 55,000 pictures of Post Offices including new and old ones, from around the USA and around the World. They have thousands more pictures in their on-line internet collection.

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

Another cool stop on our journey was the assortment of memorabilia and artifacts from Post Offices, hand stamps, canceling devices, sorting windows, mailboxes… and even some model mail trucks! All of these tools helped move the mail. There is certainly a passion here for collecting and showing mail and postcards, especially those with interesting postmarks. Each letter and postcard has a story to tell and the cancel helps telling that story!

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

PS – Thank you very much Terry and Ron for these wonderful photos and report! They were a nice distraction from the nail-biting wait for postcard number 50 million to be registered…

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Helen (aka Honney17)

Member Caroline (aka Luminarium) is a social worker from the USA. A few weeks ago, she brought to our attention that a postcrosser she was helping to send postcards found it funny that she was older than the age settings the website allowed. We were intrigued, as no one had ever complained about this bug before… but then again, we probably don’t have many postcrossers like Helen (aka Honney17) who celebrated her 101st birthday earlier this year! 🎉

We were so happily surprised, we decided to ask them a few questions!

What are your first memories of writing?

I used to write a lot of letters to my friend I went to school with; We were in the same grade, but I was a year older than her because I got sick. I wrote my friend Virginia McCafferty. Her family was from England, and she lived beyond me. When we got out of school, we’d walk together home. She was my dear friend. Her family raised prize winning black angus cows. After school we’d walk down the hill and through a cow path in the field. We’d get to her fence and she would jump over and we’d walk to our own houses. You could get a postcard for a penny back then. I wrote to her till I got married. Galveston, IN (where Helen was born) had eight houses then. The house I was born in is still there. Our first cousins lived there too. I think I’m the only one left of this generation. My mother’s family was from Ireland. I used to love to write. They always used to call on me because I made up good stories. They wanted me to be on the high school newspaper. I only got one semester of my freshman year. I was 14 and didn’t have a home then, so I went to work in a dry goods store.

A framed painting of Helen's family barn, painted by a friend from a photo.
A framed painting of Helen’s family barn, painted by a friend from a photo.
How did you hear about Postcrossing?

I heard about Postcrossing in a place I used to live, but didn’t start participating till my helper introduced it to me.

What do you do and what do you need help with to participate in Postcrossing?

I think up stuff, but I have trouble writing because my hand is clunky, so I need help writing. What you don’t use, you lose! I save the postcards I get for my helper to register them. She gets the addresses for me and I tell her what to write. I sign them all.

Helen (aka Honney17)  and Caroline (aka Luminarium) Helen (aka Honney17)  and her postcards
Helen, Caroline and some postcards they’ve received.
What are your first memories of getting mail? How has mail changed over the years?

Back in the beginning, a horse and buggy brought it to us in the country; then they got a car, a Ford. A rattling good car. Sometimes if you didn’t live in a city you had to go downtown to get mail because they wouldn’t deliver it. I had a cousin who delivered mail. We had a little mailbox along the dirt road and I mostly remember when the mail carrier had an old jalopy and would bring it to the box. It was a Ford, I think. They were the first cars anyone knew about. “Shake, Rattle, and Roll.” There was a box on the side to help fix a tire and you had to crank them! And, if you didn’t do it right, the crank would go backwards and break your arm. My brother used to push it (our Ford), to get it up and running, and then had to run and jump in.

What do people think about you participating in PostCrossing?

People that work here notice I get mail; it doesn’t look like anybody here gets much mail. Maybe people have family here that don’t write. My son and daughter visit me. I lost my cousin and my friend so it’s nice to get mail.

Helen (aka Honney17)  and her postcards
Helen and her postcards.
What does Postcrossing mean to you?

It’s interesting because you get personal, and that’s big—to get mail. We all live in our little worlds, and you don’t have many activities to do, and this is a hobby you can be busy with. And the cards come, and people are living all over the world, and it’s interesting to read about their families and work and see the cards they send. I bet they wonder about America the way I wonder about the places they live. It’s almost like taking a trip—you get a picture in your mind. It’s like a little vacation. The postcards are something I look forward to. It really makes me think about places and people differently than I have before. Every postcard is something to look forward to.

Do you have a Favorite post card?

DE-7117460. It looks like a dog I used to love that my grandson adopted when he was going through a hard time. He got that pup and it helped him out of his depression.

DE-7117460
What kind of post cards would you most like to receive?

Besides birds and dogs, it would be nice to have pictures of your country. Your buildings, and how they are built, and what the people look like.

Thank you so much to Helen and Caroline for this lovely interview!

As Helen mentions in the interview, people in her Senior Assisted Living community don’t get much mail nowadays… so how about we send them some? With the permission of her family and Activities Director Valarie, we’re publishing here the address of the place where she lives, so that if you want, you can send a postcard there and make a senior’s day a little bit brighter. 😊 Send iconic images of your town/country with a fact and greeting from where you live, and then Caroline and Valarie will organize them so that everyone can enjoy them! :)

Shall we fill their mailbox with postcards, and give Helen and her friends the opportunity to travel around the world through them?


This initiative is now finished, but here’s a quick update from Helen’s caretaker Caroline in February 2019:

“There’s nothing like a beautiful piece of mail to brighten a grey day. Helen has LOVED receiving all the mail you’ve sent. She’s hit a rough patch, but being the resilient woman she is she’s pushing through. Your postcards are a constant source of smiles, wonder and support. Helen frequently looks at them and says ”It’s just like a vacation!" or “Ah, Finland…I always wanted to go there.” or looking at a card from Indonesia “Can you believe that? From all that way?!” This rough patch (and rough weather) has stalled out our original bigger plan for sharing with other residents. Don’t worry though, your cards are getting a great deal of attention and will be shared with the wider community. Thank you for spreading your joy. At nearly 102 you’ve sincerely brightened Helen and her caregiver’s days. From Helen, her family and Caroline, her helper – Thank you."
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The PhillipsFamily lives in a small town Minnesota, USA, where they homeschool their daughter Maya and use Postcrossing to teach her about geography and cultures all over the world. Some months ago, we received a very nice email from them, letting us know that Maya had won 1st place on her county fair’s 4-H project by submitting a presentation about Postcrossing and her postcard collection! 🥇 We were so proud of Maya that we decided to interview her for the blog — here she is:

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

I found out about Postcrossing from a friend who thought I would like it because I really like geography. I was hooked right away! I LOVE getting postcards from all over the world and learning about different countries and people. I’m always excited to get the mail everyday to see which countries I can add to my collection. Recently I received my first postcard from Spain. I have postcards from all 7 continents!

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

My family really likes geocaching together. We have seen so many beautiful places hunting caches. I also really, really like to read and play board games. My favorite books are the Harry Potter series. I play Legos a lot (thanks Denmark!), and also scrapbook.

Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!
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I keep my postcards in a nice box. They are sorted by continent and country. My mama really likes that I can have such a big collection without taking up much space.

Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.
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One of my favorite postcards is from Gordon the Great. He is a cat from New Zealand who has to put up with Fat Dog and Skinny Dog. I’ve showed his postcard to lots of my friends because it’s so funny.

Have you inspired anyone else to join Postcrossing or start collections of their own?

I entered my postcard collection into the county fair as a 4-H project. I made a big display showcasing some of my favorite cards and wrote a description telling everyone about Postcrossing and how they can join.

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I won first place in my age group and second place overall. I got a big ribbon for it! I was so excited because it was my first time entering anything into the fair. I hope a lot of people signed up after seeing it.

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

I was surprised when I received a card from San Marino. I didn’t even know it was a country until then.

Is there anything that you are passionate about?

I am passionate about reading. I like reading new books and rereading old books. Besides Harry Potter, some of my favorites are Calvin & Hobbes, Anne of Green Gables, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. I’m currently reading through Mensa’s Excellence in Reading book list. It has a lot of classics my parents like.

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Becky (aka BeckyS) is a postcrosser from Port Orchard, a small town in the Puget Sound region of Washington state. She is a trained electrician, but a homemaker at heart and has a very cool hobby… Read more to find out!

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

I no longer remember how I found out about Postcrossing. I imagine that I read it somewhere on the internet. What I do know is that I am glad that I joined Postcrossing. It gives me the opportunity to “travel” the world and to connect with people from all walks of life.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?
Becky and the pinball machine

I enjoy reading and spending time with my two granddaughters. I am also a competitive pinball player or what is affectionately called, a “Pinhead.” I am a member of the Bremerton Pinball League. Many of the other members are much younger than myself. Fortunately, for me, they generously share pointers on how I can improve my “Skillshots.”

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

Each November, I edit my Postcrossing profile to include Christmas themed postcards. This holiday season I have received 193 Christmas postcards from Postcrossers. Often, Christmas postcards arrive as late as March. Which is okay, because I keep them up on my wall for the entire year.

Stamps and recipe postcards

I keep a good assortment of stamps and I also collect recipe postcards. Over the years, my Postcrossing Family has introduced me to many delicious foods. One of my favorites is the Steam Pudding postcard, GB-348590. I love food and trains.

Many postcards!

Once upon a time, I received 18 postcards in one mail delivery. Which made my mailbox very happy!

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

One of the first postcards that I received through Postcrossing, and the first that I received from Russia, was from nata_, RU-56490. She drew and painted the postcard. Also, on the flip-side of the postcard, she wrote an original fairy tale. She continued to send handcrafted postcards to my granddaughters for a couple of years.

Nata's postcards

Her work is really quite amazing and she must have spent countless hours creating them.

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

I enjoy everything about the Postcrossing experience. Although, my favorite part has been reading the emails. It gives me great pleasure to discover that my postcard brightened a fellow Postcrosser’s day.

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

I am always impressed by the kindness and generosity shown by Postcrossers. In my profile, I mention that I share the postcards that I receive with my mother. I also mention that she is a fan of Elvis. Guess who now has an impressive collection of Elvis themed postcards?

Elvis postcards that Becky's mom has received

Look at how happy Postcrossers have made my mother!

Have you met any other members in real life?
Puget Sound meetup

Ever since I received my first meetup postcard, I have wanted to attend a meetup. This past Summer, I discovered the Puget Sound Postcrossing Group in Seattle. I have attended two of their meetups and enjoyed myself tremendously. We share stickers, write postcards and chat about Postcrossing over cups of coffee. If you ever get a chance to attend a meetup, please do, you will enjoy the best of times.

Is there anything that you are passionate about?

People are my passion. My husband says that I have never met a stranger. I savor that moment when I make a human connection with someone. It is simply delicious to see a smile light up their face. I’m looking forward to making more connections through Postcrossing. Keep a lookout, someday, I just may send a smile through your mailbox. Happy Postcrossing!

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