When my children were younger I watched with fascination as they developed collections. Matchbox cars. Star Wars figurines. Stuffed animals and baseball cards. A shelf of Tin Tin books for the oldest, ceramic cats the fascination of my daughter. Later baseball hats filled shelves as did a rainbow of nail polish. But even as I encouraged and often funded their collections I wasn’t interested in acquiring one of my own. In one botched attempt I dutifully declared I would begin with lighthouses and to prove my devotion I held out a 3 inch reproduction, the very one they had given me after a trip they had taken (without me) to Maine. I assured them I adored lighthouses and someday soon this one would be surrounded by many. They looked pleased with my resolve.
My small lighthouse reproduction sat on a window sill in the kitchen, alone, for years, and I never did add to it. Yes, I love the regal isolationism, the dedication to assisting wayward mariners, regardless, I didn’t traipse around to acquire more to adore my sill.
What did happen, somewhat organically, was a collection of postcards. For years, every time I went anywhere for a night or two, I purchased a few cards and sent them to people I imagined might appreciate a glimpse of my sights, like my grandmother or elderly neighbor. If I was gone longer I would send one to my parents or children left at home. I found I not only loved finding the right vista but I enjoyed writing in the small square. I loved the one or two lines captured by the card itself: the crafting, the exactness, the story. For many years, postcards were the only place I let myself write with a flare. With my own voice.