Posting vignettes based on great postcards found in my mail box and elsewhere.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Frost flowers

"Mt. Fuji and trees with frost-flowers. Oshino Hamlet. (Yamanashi Prefecture)" is the label on the back side. The card was printed in Japan by the Nippon Kotsu Shuppan Company of Tokyo.

"Frost flowers" is a lovely phrase, isn't it?

I wrote the following three weeks ago before leaving town on an unexpected trip. In the haste of leaving taking and unable to access a computer while away, I was unable to post it until now.

This morning's dawn, around 10 am, came with deep cold (38 below zero f.) and a clear sky. Fetching my newspaper, the snow under foot crunched noisely. Paper in hand, I looked up into an azure sky to see the birch tree branches coated in delicate "frost flowers" and thought of this card. For decades it and other cards have lain burried in post card boxes, quiet as a dormant volcano, in the crawl space under the house. Like Mt. Fuji, most of its contents will remain quiet and undisturbed, except a few cards will "vent" in this blog.

The Fuji card was mailed January 4, 1971 to my great aunt from a Japanese friend who wrote a return address (unusual for a post card) from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. My aunt was spending the winter in Lecanto, Florida. Setsuko thanked my aunt for her "warm hospitality." She had spent the holidays with them and received chocolate fudge and jams which "grandma made." I'm not sure who grandma refers to. My great grandma had died by then. I suppose it could be my aunt's husband's mother but I never heard mention of her. Thus another mystery.

My aunt, no doubt, gave this card to her sister, my grand mother, to give to me. At the time I was a few months from high school graduation and had given up collecting post cards, yet it seemed I could not say no to a "gift" from grandma. She, her sisters and younger brother, among others, were co-conspirators in my post card collection. For decades their received cards were dutifully given to me. Only now do some tell the stories of people and events otherwise forgotten.


  1. Great card. I don't think I have any of Japan.

  2. How lovely for your Aunt that you have taken such care of this collection and have written so fondly of your family. Thanks, Diane

  3. Frost flowers is a gorgeous phrase!

  4. Every once in a while I find a postcard to or from me or a family member that is mixed in with my topical cards. They seem so much more interesting and nostalgic than they did years ago.

  5. Thanks everyone for responding.

    Diane, it is facsinating how family members shape our interests even those we do not realize for years.

    Marie, yes, I love gorgeous phrases, especially those I find on postcards.

    Postcardy, as usual you are spot on. Our family cards always carry powerful significance. They seem to carry an emotional trigger that often runs deep. When I read family cards with the benefit of hindsight, years of living seem to imbue a phrase and sometimes a whole card's message with a prophetic power.