After staying for 5 years in her rented apartment, my friend eventually was able to purchase and invest in a town house. She took the opportunity of upgrading her status from being a renter to an owner of a cozy, brand new home. I was happy for her.
One month before she was to transfer to her new home, we began packing up her things. I don’t consider her as a “pack rat”, but, Dang! she had accumulated lots of stuff; personal and non-personal items, important and not so important things, or even (maybe) junk. We used up at least 10 big boxes to put all the things that she wanted to take with her; the rest was donated to Salvation Army.
The last closet that we tackled was in her bedroom. She stored so many boxes, in different sizes. As I started to check out and sort out the contents, I became curious and surprised. Every box was labelled with names of the places where she had travelled. She really is a travel bug! Rummaging through the various souvenir items, I noticed that she had a collection of at least 1-2 postcards of each and every place she had been to, and, to my amusement, mailed to herself! My first reaction was: “She’s nuts!” Who, in their right mind will mail postcards to themselves, when they’ve been there and saw the place firsthand?
One postcard that she mailed to herself was postmarked Paris, France. The picture was a beautiful snapshot of the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The professional photographer who took the shot, captured the exterior beauty of this imposing Gothic structure. While I was looking at this fascinating photograph, I felt that I was drawn towards the front of the facade, and was dwarfed by its magnificence; a glorious feeling to behold.
Centuries ago, perhaps this was the same feeling that Victor Hugo experienced when he quoted:
“Each face, each stone of this venerable monument is not only a page of the history of the country, but also the history of knowledge and art…Time is the architect, the people are the builder.”
That was also exactly what my friend felt when she got hold of the postcard, and according to her, writing the notes while she was there, captured the essence of this historic monument. And, in the years to come, when she sees this postcard and the others that she sent to herself, she will be transported back in time, re-visit those places in her mind’s eye, and treasure them in her heart.
July 31, 2010