Every time I think about what I want to study for this entire semester my stomach clenches and I think about something else. A semester is quite the commitment for me and I always have a difficult time choosing subject matter.
So I started thinking about what I chose for my Core II project, the Trenton Makes the World Takes bridge. For my Harper’s Annotation I used a few postcards of the bridge.
Then I started thinking about how I used to collect postcards when I was younger. I never sent them out. I don’t know anyone who does anymore. No one really sends personal mail anymore aside from the occasional Christmas or birthday card. Yet we buy these postcards because they tell where we have been and usually feature a picture or text that relates to this location. We keep them for nostalgia, to remind us of the happy time we had at that location. We keep them as proof that it happened. We did make it there. We have evidence. We have a souvenir. They become part of our life story. Documentation that we lived.
And the vendors sell these pieces of our history for two reasons–they can mark them up much higher than it cost to make the flimsy piece of cardboard and they are marketing tools for the locations. Images are carefully chosen to reflect the qualities of that location whether they be fun or historical. The message they are sending is “Wish You Were Here”. It’s almost like a message to both those who buy them, look back later, and wish they were there again and to those who haven’t visited, see the visitor’s cards, and then wish they had been there with them.