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Postcard Banff
Old postcard of Banff, Alberta, found in my mother-in-law’s photo collection
Vintage postcards inspire a story

Last month, an online photo of a vintage postcard struck a chord with me. The postcard, a collage of London sights, reminded me of one I found in my mother-in-law’s collection of photographs.

This past weekend, Winnipeg Writers’ Group launched Volume 14, Number 1 of their literary journal Voices. My short story Postcards appears in that issue.

The story was partially inspired by my mother-in-law’s postcards. Not the postcard of London, but postcards of Jasper, Alberta and Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba. The postcards dated back to 1948 and 1949. The old postcards look and feel different than today’s postcards. They are smaller. The colours are more muted, almost surreal. The colour postcards are thick and rough, with a texture like construction paper. The black and white postcards are thinner and glossier.

Postcard Yoho National Park
Old postcard of Yoho National Park

The following two postcards are the ones that made it into my story.

I remember the excitement of receiving a postcard a mail and making a point to send postcards when on vacation, even if I might make it home and see the recipient before the card arrived. Today, you receive more instant and complete information on a friend’s travels via status updates and photographs posted on the Internet.

Do you still send or collect postcards? Do you have a favourite vintage postcard?

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  1. Hi Donna, I do not collect but find them fascinating. There is an antique shop in Shakespeare, Ontario ( Jonny’s Antiques ) that has an outstanding collection. In a relatively newly developed country like Canada they provide a contrast between what travellers would have seen in the past versus today and your examples of Jasper and Winnipeg Beach serve to highlight that which is essential to the appeal and remains unchanged.

  2. Donna, In my mother’s hometown they have a collection of old postcards in the basement of the town library. They are so interesting to peruse. I love it.

    1. I’ll have to check if my local library has old postcards. I don’t think they do, but it would be interesting to look through them if there were some.

  3. I used to send postcards to friends and family all the time when I traveled, but haven’t done so the past few years thanks to the rise of social media. I still buy a few here and there for my own photo albums though.

    1. I no longer send postcards either and tend to post a few pictures on social media for my family and friends to see. This weekend, a friend told me about her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who still send postcards every time they travel. She loves getting their cards. I may make a point of sending cards again on my next trip.