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Postcrossing Blog

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

Posts tagged "usa"

Anyone who has ever received a postcard knows they’re tiny windows to far away places, transporting us to different landscapes and realities. Sometimes those places are so enticing they make us wish we lived close enough to pay them a visit! The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota is one of these places. Have a look:

The Corn Palace 1

No… those are not huge tapestries on the walls… they’re murals made out of corn!

Built in 1921 in the Moorish Revival style, the Corn Palace is an arena where different types of events take place. But the special thing about it is that every single year its facades are decorated by local artists using corn ears, as well as other grains and native grasses. Corn is a major crop in the area – and they’re proud of it!

Postcards from the Corn Palace tell the story of each year’s theme. 1957's theme was “Popular Athletic Games and Attractions in the State”:

The Corn Palace

In 1999, the theme was “Building as a nation”:

The Corn Palace

And in 2009, “American’s destinations” were featured:

The Corn Palace

Between Memorial Day and Labour day each year, a theme is picked and new decorations are stapled and nailed to the walls, and you can follow the corn-structions on their Corn Cam. :) The theme for 2015 is “South Dakota’s 125th”, so if you’re in the area, go check it out – and maybe grab a postcard for the rest of us!

A big thank you to Brenda (aka 9teen87), who owns a huge postcard collection, and brought these great postcards to our attention. You can see these and other interesting postcard topics on her blog.

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Carol (aka carolreader) hails from Ohio, a northern US state. She’s been a postcrosser for over 8 years, juggling a stressful job, family life and distance running, along with sending postcards! :)

Here is what she had to say:

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

My daughter always finds new and interesting things. She told me that she’d joined Postcrossing and received a postcard from a teacher in Japan. I thought that was so cool!

When I first joined, I asked for only one address. I had no postcards, nor did I know where to buy any. So I took my lunch hour at work and walked around downtown Cleveland, Ohio, looking for a postcard to send. I found a nice one! Since then, I’ve learned where to find postcards, and try to have a variety of cards on hand to send.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

I am addicted to distance running, and I run between one and twenty amateur races every year. This was actually an obsession a few years ago – I spent two years trying to qualify to run the Boston Marathon — to do this, you have to run another marathon in a certain time, depending upon your age. I achieved my goal in 2009, and ran Boston in 2009 at the age of 58. I consider this one of the great achievements of my life. I started running in my 40’s, and I’d never been athletic. I worked for this, and got lucky.

But the older I get, the harder it gets to run. I keep at it because it makes me feel good, and good about myself. But I’m too old for marathons now!

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

This is the letter box at work where I mail many of my cards:

Mail slot at work

My postcards albums for received cards:

Postcard albums

And boxes of cards on hand to send out:

Cards to send out
What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

Picking out the right card to send, absolutely. I love trying to find different kinds of cards, so that I have the right card to fit even an odd request or interest.

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

I love quirky cards – and I love animals. Here are some quirky animal cards that I like a lot:

Fav card 3Fav card 2

The one below from Russia translates to “Smile, it irritates people.” I thought it was funny, and loved the great message on the other side.

Fav card 1

But another card sticks in my mind – it wasn’t just a card, it was a card and a letter and two photos. A group of girl guides from Poland sent me group pictures, and told me about themselves. I love all the cards I receive, but every so often one arrives that warms my heart –and often from an unexpected place!

Have you met any other members in real life?

A few years ago, I went to a small meet up in Minneapolis with forum members. It was great fun. I would love to see a meet up in northern Ohio. In a year or two, when I retire from my job, I hope to organize one. In the meantime…perhaps someone else will volunteer?

Is there anything that you are passionate about?

I love hearing from people all over the world, regardless of the politics between our countries. I don’t know if this type of person-to-person communication would have been possible 40 years ago. I can “talk” to people in other nations now that I would never have dreamed of back in those days. I need to hope and believe that this doesn’t stop!

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Maude Hart

Over one hundred years ago, in February 1913, Maude Hart and her husband embarked on a journey across the world. Postcards were at the height of their popularity back then, and Maude wrote back to their family often during their 9 month trip, especially to her sister Myrtle (who she calls Toots) and her mother “Mussey”.

Family mementos like postcards and their stories have a way of getting lost when people move or families unite and separate… but somehow, Maude’s postcards survived 100 years until Patricia Eacobacci (Maude’s great grandniece) discovered them in her mother’s things and put the story together. She scanned, deciphered and uploaded every card with a lot of care, and set up a blog to share her Postcards from Maude.

The first time we laid eyes on this collection we were quite speechless. Postcards are often seen as a one-off thing, but Maude’s postcards (as well as her photos and letters) tell the tales of a epic adventure from another era, one that took place over the course of 9 months. The trip, organized by Thomas Cook & Son, started in San Francisco, and went on to Hawaii, Japan, Philippines, China, Singapore, India, Egypt, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Ireland and then back to the US. Here are some snippets:

Postcard from Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan April 5
Hello Toots
We are doing Tokyo – a wonderful City. 3 millions natives living here. Only 50 Americans. Just think of it.
Maude
Postcard from Egypt
Port Said, Egypt. May 22.
My Dear Mama, We are now going through the Suez Canal in Egypt. Can only go 4 miles an hour. It is very narrow. Tomorrow we get off & go through Egypt for 14 days. This is a most interesting country. Will take 18 hours to pass through Canal.
Much Love,
Maude
Postcard from The Netherlands
Amsterdam, Holland – Sunday night Sept 7.
My Dear Mama.
Hello Mussey dear, how are you? Here is a view of a wooden wind mill. You see hundreds of them here & the people are dressed just like this. We leave here tomorrow. Hope I hear from home when I reach Brussels.
Tons of love,
Maude

Towards the end, you can feel Maude’s homesickness and her eagerness to return to her dear family. On October 22nd 1913, she boarded the SS Majestic bound to the United States on the final stretch of her trip, and wrote again on October 31st, delighted to see New York once more.

These postcards (and the story within them) are a real treat. Thank you Patricia, for all the work and research, and for sharing them with the world! You can see all of Maude’s postcards and follow her voyage in the Postcards from Maude blog.

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I love perusing random postcard walls on the website, just to see what lovely cards I can discover. Apparently I’m not alone in my little pastime, since quite a few of you have found SeanPatrick’s gallery and sent us the link! :)

Sean uploads photos of his postcards to the website, but with a twist: featuring himself as well as the postcard! Here are some of his photos:

SeanPatrick's postcards SeanPatrick's postcards SeanPatrick's postcards

It took a little getting used to, but I must confess I love it and couldn’t stop myself from going through his entire gallery, like a mini-stalker! I was intrigued by his unusual approach to the postcard wall, so I decided to reach out to Sean and he explained:

I was curious what the postcards would look like upon arrival when I sent mine and I wondered what they might look like in the hands of those that received them. Then it occurred to me… why not take photos of myself with the postcards I received?

Brilliant! How often have I wished for the same thing, to get just a glimpse of the reaction that lights up someone’s face when a postcard I’ve sent finally arrives? I think we can all relate to that.

SeanPatrick's postcards 1

Sean’s photos are taken by either himself or his daughter, and a bit all over the place: his home, his wine shop or while he’s out and about outdoors. He says many people enjoy seeing their postcards like that.

SeanPatrick's postcards SeanPatrick's postcards

Postcrossing is about connecting people, first and foremost, and the more I look at Sean’s wall, the more I’m reminded of this. At the end of each postcard’s journey there’s always a person who will receive and hold that card, just like he does… the smile on that person’s face as they open their mailbox and find an unexpected postcard there – that’s what it’s all about!

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David (aka david2051) is passionate about giving, be it through micro-lending or by sponsoring children in poor countries. He likes to share his Postcrossing cards with his sponsored kids, and says they love to receive them! :)

Here is what he had to say to our interview questions:

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

My very close friend Ryan told me about Postcrossing and the wonderful postcards he had received and it sounded like fun so I thought I’d give it a try.

I was so surprised when, shortly before going on a vacation to New York City, I received Ryan’s address for an official card! I had a great time finding a postcard for him and then mailing it from the United Nations post office with UN postage.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies? What are you passionate about?

I’ve been interested for some time in doing my part to help fight poverty. For several years I was very involved in microlending on Kiva.org and I co-captain the Postcrossing team on Kiva, along with Ana and Paulo. As a team of 100 members, we’ve made 946 loans in 66 different countries. It would be great for more postcrossers to give it a try!

In the last few years though I’ve gotten very involved in child sponsorship through Children International. A small monthly donation helps provide medical and dental care, clothing, shoes and supplies for school, some tutoring and after school classes as well as access to safe playgrounds, sports and financial literacy programs, libraries and computer labs. In addition you can exchange letters and of course postcards and photos with your child and their family. I now sponsor six children in five countries: Ecuador, Guatemala, Chile, Zambia and the Philippines. In addition I belong to three sponsorship groups (where up to 12 people sponsor one child) for kids in Zambia, Mexico and Colombia.

Kids Dec 2013

This collage shows all my kids plus two children sponsored by my friends.

For me one of the most satisfying aspects of sponsoring is being able to provide assistance beyond the monthly support. Whether through individual donations or fundraising efforts, this can include anything from assistance in shopping for food, clothing or birthday and Christmas gifts to digging a well to provide safe drinking water, from helping a single mother establish a small restaurant or cafe…

…to paying off a pedicab loan so a father can retain an additional 35% of his daily income or putting a new roof on a home to keep out the typhoon rains.

Of course I wanted to share Postcrossing with my sponsored kids too! I asked on my profile if anyone would want to send postcards to my sponsored kids, as an official card or for swaps or just as extra cards, and the postcrossing community has really come through. Since July of 2012 I’ve received well over 200 cards for my kids! Several people have sent envelopes containing one card for each child, and some people have sent them cards more than once. It’s just amazing how kind and thoughtful the members of Postcrossing are!

I think this is a fantastic way to widen the horizons of these kids, to share views, greetings and words of encouragement from countries all over the world; it really inspires them to learn more about the world and set bigger goals. When my kids write me letters they always express so much appreciation for the cards and sometimes they include messages back to the senders as well.

There is a wonderful community of Children International sponsors and I blog about my sponsorship experience and the postcard I’ve received for my kids so many sponsors have learned about Postcrossing at the same time many postcrossers have learned about child sponsorship. I think we all benefit and the two go so well together since the sponsorship experience revolves around exchanging letters and cards with these wonderful kids.

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

This postcard shows our old post office, sadly no longer used as such, but it’s still a major landmark of downtown Evansville.

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This is my mail slot. I can’t wait for the mail to arrive each day! I couldn’t believe I got 6 official cards today! :-)

David's mail slot
Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.

Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t pick just one…

This one means so much to me as I love Seattle and gnomes! It just brings back so many good memories!

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The card below is a favorite because of the immigrant story the image of the steamship RMS Majestic can tell us if we take the time to see it. I like to do family research, so I thought it was fascinating to read about a family researcher whose grandmother brought her children here on this steamship, and the postcard image is actually the cover or jacket for her ticket to a new life in America.

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And this is a wonderful handpainted card. It’s such an honor to receive a card that took so much effort and love to make. I think this shows how postcrossing brings out the very best in people.

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But there are so many awesome viewcards too…

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

All of it! When I get a new address I love reading the profile, learning about the recipient’s location, and viewing their favorites to find the perfect card or making one for them. When I receive a card I also read the sender’s profile and study their favorites to get to know them better. I love to study the location depicted on the card and usually look up as much as I can online and place the links I find in the comments and I love the beautiful stamps. Whether meeting nice people in a brief exchange or becoming penpals and cherished friends, it’s all a wonderful experience.

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