Going Postal: the Bowen Island Blues

This is the 11th edition of the accredited Going Postal: A Column about Postcards series.  Awesome.

How can such a happy postcard make me so sad?  The lovely girls on the front in their vintage bathing suits enjoying a day on the beaches of Bowen Island seem like such a pick-me-up.  But alas, no, I am sad because I am not there.

Mia, a friend from university who spends her summers at her home on Bowen Island, is becoming a regular correspondent in postcards.  I enjoy receiving cards from her because she finds very unique ones (this was one she couldn’t wait to send after walking into her local marina tourist shop looking for my latest card) and because she manages to fit so much information into one little space.

Mia’s perfect writing (and almost perfect spelling) allows for almost a short novella written in the 3.5″x4″ space.  This time it was about how I made a big mistake by not taking a co-op on Bowen Island.

You must know a few things to understand this point.  My co-op is at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.  This was not a one-choice deal, I had many to choose to apply to, and even some choice in where I accepted positions.  Bowen Island has a museum that I was interested in working at (and maybe even renting a room from Mia’s folks, or at least getting some tips as to where to live from them) and was even offered a position or at least an interview, I forget now.

The problem was, and the problem with most arts co-ops is, that the money was just not enough to allow me to travel there and live for four months, while also saving enough to go to school in the fall.  It is the sad reality of being a student of the Humanities and what our society puts money into.  The program they are running looked great, it would have been a great fit for my studies and my interests, and I hope to go and visit them someday, but it just didn’t work out.  Sadness.

Did nobody notice the postcard from Bowen Island, BC is “custom made in the USA”?

Mia also told me about the first time she was stung by a bee.  Ouch!  But it just goes to show, Mia, not to be putting your fingers into just anything.  Showing off her visual arts skills, Mia drew me a flower and a bee with diagrams just in case I didn’t know what it was.  Apparently her flower drawing skills need some work, but I wouldn’t have known the difference.  I tried to draw something in my reply postcard (my leg covered by mosquito bites) but it ended up looking like the leg of the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

My leg drawing turned into something like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.  I’m just trying to give you a hug, Mia, stop running away! (source: Twenty Four Frames)

Needless to say, my art skills aren’t what they used to be.  So I will stick with writing and hopefully Mia and others like her will continue to write back to me.  Oh the suspense of waiting kills me…

Mia’s card had one final point of interest.  For a postcard (and for most mail that I’ve encountered), the postmark is relatively small, usually over the stamp, and can often be faded or hard to read from too much use/not enough ink/pressure.  This was a bit different…

While the postmark covers the stamp from corner to corner, there is no mistaking where it is from.  The postmark was so hard it made dents in the other side of the card!

Bowen Island, I am glad to have received you.  YOU ARE COMING IN LOUD AND CLEAR.

Thanks Mia, always a treat.


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