Attentive readers will remember that last fall, I began a little experiment by sending some vintage postcards (above) to a couple dozen friends and family members. I was interested in seeing what kind of response they got, in this day and age that's relatively postcard-less.
The response was a loud and clear "meh." A few people replied to acknowledge and thank me for the missive. Notably, most people did so via online media, e.g. a Facebook message asking me to be someone's penpal and a text message to the tune of "Love the postcard!"
As for everyone else, maybe they didn't get the cards? Did I put the wrong postage? Did they accidentally slip inside a catalog or some piece of junk mail that got thrown away? Or maybe people just don't care about postcards enough to remark on them.
Or, more likely, they were confused by the kitschy ones I sent, featuring jackalopes and "bratwurst beauties" and trout gobbling chum and advertisements for products such as sliced bread, antacids and water heaters that must have seemed more impressive in the 1960s.
One highlight of 2009 for me was receiving perhaps the only postcard of the year from my dissertation advisor, a terrific journalism historian. About a week after talking to him on the phone about my Slow Media project, I received a postcard featuring a photo of our old university library and the message:
Someone with a collection of typewriters sending me an unsolicited postcard? My hero.
My mother, who is 94 and never has had a computer, always types letters on a manual typewriter. So, I type to her in return, often sending postcards. That's about the only use I get out of my old Underwood these days. It always works, though. Typewriters never "crash," although the movers dropped my mother's' when she moved recently. I had to give her one from my collection.