Deltiology — a postcard glance at history . . .
“Dear Max and Pat:
Just sitting down to a huge T-bone – eating so natch we think of you. One blow out, one flat, otherwise as good trip. Nice visit. Will write later. Love, Helen, 23 July 1967.”
That’s an example of deltiology. Deltiology is the collecting and studying of postcards, so maybe I’m stretching it a bit, since that card is half of my collection.
The other half is one from my dad to his mom, mailed 18 March, 1918, from France. A postcard with strict instructions because it’s army issue. The instructions on the front are: “The address only to be written on this side. If anything else is added the postcard will be destroyed.”
Mati Hari was loose in the world in those days, which might explain the diligence.
My dad survived, so did my mom’s father, who was “over there” too, but they didn’t know one another then.
Tens of thousands of others didn’t survive. Imagine if all your only memory was one of these “army postcards?” The war to end all wars wasn’t successful in ending anything, except thousands of lives.
Postcards just point to the story and this one points like an arrow reminding us of the thousands of Canadians we need remember and be thankful for on every day, but especially on Canada and Remembrance days.
On the lighter side, Patrick Finnegan was the author of a postcard send to Irish Rail in latter years.
“Gentlemen,” he wrote, “I’ve been riding your trains daily for years, and the service is getting worse. I am tired of standing in the aisle both ways on a 14-mile trip. Your transportation system is worse than enjoyed by people 2,000 years ago.”
The railroads area manager, Mr. Larnrod Eireann, replied, rather flippantly, “We believe you sir, are confused in your history. The only mode of transportation 2,000 years ago was by foot.”
Patrick pounced back with, “Gentlemen, I suggest you, not I, are confused in history. I refer you to the Bible, Book of David, 9th chapter. You find that Balaam rode to town on his ass. That, gentlemen, is something I have not been able to do on your train in the last two years.”
Maybe, sometimes, a few words are worth a thousand pictures, when you set your imagination in high gear.
Who’d have guessed the lowly postcard you could once mail free, can fetch $500, or more from an avid deltiologist for a rare, and simple postcard?
A tip of the hat to storytellers, including post card artists, and writers. They reveal tads of the nitty-gritty which historians cast aside in their massive tomes.