Going Postal: A Mystery Among Mysteries

The eighth installment of my column Going Postal: A Column About Postcards.

I cannot believe the blog I came across yesterday.  Gem, a retired transport worker from Alberta, has been a collector of postcards for over 40 years.  His goal is to collect at least one postcard from every country and a stamp from every stamp-issuing entity.  This is insane, or at least so I think, but after 40 years I guess a lot is possible.  With or without a card from every country, Gem – whose real name is Glenn – has reached 2,500 received postcards.

By looking at Gem’s blog (Gem’s World Postcards) I can see that he hasn’t received a card from each country (yet), but 2,500 is impressive.  When I think of my postcard collection, I think much smaller.  It fits in a plastic bag.  That can then be folded over a few times…  But to be fair, I’ve only seriously been collecting for about a year, and my level of serious collection means asking my friends to send me one during their holidays.

But I have work to do!  Will I ever catch Gem’s continually rising total?  My mom probably hopes not because it would cost a lot to send 2,500 return…  But perhaps I have found my solution!  Today I received – cue suspenseful music – an anonymous postcard!!!

Yes, a card without any name, any return address, or any other clue about who sent it to me, other than an 85 cent American stamp.

The card is homemade by the looks of it, irregularly shaped, with a collage on the front.  Images I can make out are two sections from a black and white image of camels separated by an image of an old city bus with headlights on.  Glued onto that image are two coloured strips of paper and two cut-out hands.  Whether the original black and white image, printed on thick cardstock, is part of something larger or printed for this card only is beyond me.

The back is even more mysterious.  The only writing, aside from my address, is the following:

Although, of course,

you end up

becoming yourself.

What does this mean?  It could be a poem, it could be part of a larger story, or it could be something that just came to mind.  Is this a famous quote?  An inspiration that I conveniently need to hear?  Only time will tell.

Along with the writing, the stamp – an image of Glacier National Park, Montana – is not touched by a postmark.  Neither is any other part of the card!  Could this card have been hand-delivered?!  Do irregularly sized postcards sometimes miss a postmark?

The final curiousity is the little trumpet drawing on the bottom of the card.  Most likely a secret signature or mark, but alas, I do not know.

Are you my mysterious postcard sender?  Do you know any answers to the questions I’ve posed in this post?  Are you Gem and are reading this?  If the last option is you, congratulations and good luck on getting all you need!  I know you’ve already received probably hundreds from Canada, but I’ll send you a card soon.  If you’re not Gem but can answer any of the first two, then please post in the comments below!


4 responses to “Going Postal: A Mystery Among Mysteries

  1. Pingback: Going Postal: Permament Stamps « @befaster·

  2. Pingback: Going Postal: Summer Recap | @befaster·

  3. Hey! Did you know that “Although of course you end up becoming yourself ” is the title of David Lipsky’s interview book? He interviews David Foster Wallace, and “Although…” is probably some of the phrases DFW said… I don’t know, DFW writes a lot about Canada in his book: Infinite Jest.

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