Boxes of postcards littered the vendor’s table. I could see Dave in my peripheral vision scratching his head. No doubt he was wondering if I was going to blow the next two or three hours sifting through them, each postcard like a little mystery, while the charms of Provence went on charming without us.
So as polite as the vendor was, it was clear as he started packing away his postcards, I had a time frame. Here at home the only way I keep myself from becoming too absorbed in any one thing is by using a kitchen timer. When I leave it upstairs and I am down, I often get lost spending the whole day doing one thing, something earth shattering like programming the DVR for the next six months, or wish list building on Amazon. Well intended to-do list go undone.
So among the 10 or so postcards I chose is the one pictured above. When we got home I pulled my little collection out of their special postcard bag, which was almost beautiful as the postcards. I studied each one to see exactly what I had purchased. I had no memory of several of them. I studied this particular card, puzzled as to why I would have chosen it. Then I remembered that at the last second the vendor said that since I was purchasing four of one kind, I could choose another for free, which frankly made me feel panicky; but I made my choice as quickly and as confidently as possible, selecting one as if from a deck of magician’s cards.
As it turns out of all the cards I bought that day, this one is the biggest mystery. The text under the woman’s picture says, “Coiffure et Costume de la Provence,” which means “hairstyle and dress of Provence.” Other than that, this card has left me with many questions that hopefully some of you experts out there will be able to shed some light on. Or maybe this woman is someone’s long lost Aunt Eunice?
Those of you who don’t want to see any deeper into the workings of my mind may skip the next paragraph. The following questions will make it clear why my husband was justifiably concerned at the thought of me at a postcard vendor:
There are no clues on the card as to what era this woman represents, and if this card shows a style from the era’s past, or was representative of the time. And who is this woman? Did people have their own postcards made? Perhaps is that her own handwriting? What does the handwriting say? Why was the address splayed across both the writing and address section? Why is “Carte Postale” crossed out, and what is the word written above as if to replace it? Why are there po stmarks on the front and back? Why did they put stamps on the picture side? What are the two ribbon things that crookedly hang from the V in her neckline? WHO ARE YOU HOMELY PROVENCAL WOMAN? TALK TO ME!
For more postcard fun, be sure to visit Marie, the French Factrice!