My love affair with greeting cards began as a child. I experienced the joy of receiving mail on birthdays, Christmas, and assorted milestones from my grandmother in France. The envelope, exotic by virtue of the foreign stamp, stirred anticipation. In the beginning, my mother read them to me, my imagination taking hold of the chain of words that linked me to my grandmother’s part of the world, her stories taking on color, shape, and texture.
Afterward, I’d store these timeless treasures in a hat box for future readings.
In time I was reading on my own, admiring the artwork that graced each card my grandmother selected just for me, a profound gesture that carried an endearing quality in its simplicity. Frequently, the letter started on the card, then continued onto a sheet of paper folded neatly inside. I took note and responded in kind.
The perfect card took on a significant meaning in our home. Sometimes making the card myself was the perfect idea, providing a welcome outlet for creativity: an original drawing, a photograph adhered to the front, a collage - - oh the possibilities! Other times, buying the perfect card was the thing to do. I would linger before the displays, hoping for that one card to catch my eye, providing the perfect backdrop to encapsulate my world - - the card the link in this loving ritual between grandmother and granddaughter.
Little time capsules of childish whimsy, pressed flowers, a smudge of chocolate, ink splashed by a tear when my mother died… the perfect card extended across the ocean that separated us, a bridge between two worlds and two hearts.