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

Monday, September 28, 2009

Wild Music

This untitled photo postcard taken by an unknown photographer will definitely go into the mystery category. It is one of over three million postcards sent through the Postcrossing Project. Go here to find out about the project.
This whimsical postcard image came from postcrosser ananaks, a graduate student from Russian studing biology in the U.S. Could we give it a title? What does this image mean to you? Perhaps: play your music in the wild, or maybe, bring the wild into your music. In either case, just from the selection of instruments, these musicians are headed for an adventure in the proverbial musical pass just ahead of them. Thanks, Anastasia for the great card and welcome to The States.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mother and Child

This beautiful mother and child photo postcard was sent to me in July by Postcrosser Jying. She is an 18-year-old student in Taiwan studying communication design. By the looks of this homemade card she is well on her way to success in her chosen field.

In the photo Jying's hands hold a photo that was taken of her mother holding the infant Jying. She said she likes the photo because it reminds her of her mother. To me, it is both an iconic picture of love of mother for child and a daughter's way of remembering and honoring her mother's gift of life.

Thank you, Jying, for this precious postcard.

If you would like to send and receive unique and interesting postcards from around the world, join Postcrossing.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Golden Gate Bridge

Vic, one of my postcard swappers from Postcrossing, sent me this wonderful historical reproduction postcard. The postcard's picture shows Fort Point (now a National Historic Site) in the foreground and San Francisco Bay -- the future site of the Golden Gate Bridge. (Now if we can just get the postal service to quit ink-marking the face of our valued postcards.) For an unmarred view of this historical photo click this link. For a contemporary picture of the bridge, showing Fort Point under the bridge's supporting arch, go here.

Some postcards just get to you. This one did me. I think I began to imagine the sheer scale of the task. Pondering this scene with the tiny steam-powered tug and a three-masted clipper ship in the waters of the bay made me appreciate what a monumental task a bridge of this magnitude requires. Constructed during years of economic depression, 1933-1937, it was the longest suspension span bridge in the world(4,200ft). It took great vision, endless engineering calculations, and years of difficult labor to construct. It is a bridge to the future.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Conquering Fear: Farol de Rodillas

This postcard of a moment in a bullfight (La Fiesta Brava) is strikingly beautiful. It depicts the daring move of the matador called, farol de rodillas, literally, “light of knees.” It refers to a maneuver in which the matador drops to his knees before the bull and as the animal charges waves his cape over and around his head.

The bullfighter painted here is the renown Carlos Arruza (1920-1966), also known as “The Cyclone.” Arruza was one of the most prominent bullfighters of the 20th-Century. He began fighting bulls at the age of 14. Born in Mexico of Spanish parents, he moved to Spain in 1944 and fought bulls for many years. He also appeared in several films about bullfighting and even had a part in the 1960 John Wayne film, The Alamo. Like may artist-athletes, Arruza came out of retirement three times – the last time as a rejoneador or a bullfighter on horseback with a lance.

I wish I could make out the artist’s name in the lower left corner. I’ve used my magnifying glass but the signature is not legible -- another mystery. Maybe one of my readers can help here.

The other mystery is how this postcard became part of my collection. I do not remember my grandmother or any one else giving it to me or buying it. There is no post mark and the stamp has been removed rather indelicately. The card was mailed to a Jeff Malone of Livonia, Michigan.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Will Always Be A Zebra; Save the Zebras

How I came in possession of this postcard is, like many in my collection, a mystery. There is no written message on the back and no canceled stamp but I think it is from the 1960's, maybe 1970's. Whatever its date or origin, I like the mother and child composition. They seem so stately and serene, yet they, like many of their kind, are running for their collective lives.

This postcard of a mother and foal zebra was printed by the East African Wild Life Society. The society was formed in 1961. It is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and works to protect endangered and threatened species and habitats in East Africa. You can find the society's address and phone numbers here.

There are three species of zebra. The Grevy's zebra (the largest, which I think is pictured above) and the mountain zebra are endangered, according World Conservation Union. The plains zebra seems to be doing well. Trouble for the zebra comes from the typical suspects: diminishing ranges, loss of grazing habitat and access to water due to competition with herds of domestic livestock and irrigation. Another threat is uncontrolled tourism which tramples vegetation.

I like zebras. In fact, I will always be a zebra. Before you quit reading this blog, thinking it's composed by a loony bird, understand that I attended Wayne Memorial High School in Wayne, Michigan, and our mascot was the zebra. No kidding, folks. See here, if you don't believe me.

When I played football there I was a fighting zebra, even though our colors were blue and gold.
I always assumed that our blue and gold colors seemed out of sync with the black and white strips of the zebra. Yet, in looking at this card I see that the sky is blue and the ground is gold. Could it be that someone was thinking of the the zebra's habitat way back when as the debate over what our school colors should be? Perhaps.

Thinking back, I now realize being a zebra taught me how to endure the sling and arrows of outrageous adolescent fortune. There was even the joke where a kid from another school would pretend a terribly bad French accent and say, "How does it feel to be a zeee-bra."

Actually, it feels great.
Dare to be different.

Help create habitat for zebras of all species.

On You Zebras!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Women with Deer

I worked as a Humanities Department archivist at Eastern Michigan University nearly four decades ago. This was in the era before power points or computer assisted classroom instruction, so the work was slow and meticulous. I took photos of art history antiquities from books that were later developed into slides for use in projectors. As I spent hours sweating over a camera beneath hot lights, I began to admire these ancient images. I remember photographing this image in particular. Some years later, I bought this postcard at an art gallery in Petoskey, Michigan.

This postcard is in pristine shape but the actual Roman fresco (nearly 2,000 years old) has cracks and other degradations. The fragment is from the First Century A.D. called Fresco with Woman and Deer. The caption on the back says the fragment is housed in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California. I have not had success locating it among their online archives, though I found another similar fresco with a women and swan here.