Follow up to the Paris Birthday Surprise Trip: Or How all I Got from Paris was this Lou…Awesome Postcard

img090. Paris post card

My always-thoughtful father-in-law, sent me this postcard about Mischa surprising him in Paris for his birthday.  I shall give my translation skills a whirl. Too bad I’m meeting my German- speaking, Swiss journalist friend for breakfast–too late for a translation check! She’ll get a good laugh out of my inaccuracies, but most of you, hopefully won’t know the difference. It reads:

“One grand surprise.”  What a really huge Surprise this has been on Saturday (16. Febr. 2013) Heide and I had  just gotten to our hotel in Paris–Montmartre–and were just in our room 405 at the Holiday Inn.

(I still ask, what European stays at HI? But, they must have gotten a deal…)

There came a knock on the hotel door. I thought, the hotel-boy with the hat had knocked, but….what great surprise–at the door stood–without hat–Mischa!


Lovely greetings from Paris an 19 Febr. 2013

In the end, my thoughtful husband brought me/us a piece of artwork from an Algerian we often see selling paintings on Monte Martre. Since Mischa’s solo motorcycle tour of North Africa in the ’90s when we met, he feels connected to people from that place.

But about the Algerian, who wouldn’t? On the first of more than one visit through the years he sat us down to share in a huge plate of black figs as we’d strolled by.

I love postcards. Collect them from all over the world. Have my students write them and send them to them years later. Send them to myself. Would you believe I’m always surprised? (And, no, I did not do too many things I should not have in the ’60s. I was a baby!)

On postcards, I love the photos, curve of handwritten script, imaging places through which they have passed. And above all? The cancelled out stamps. Nothing says “been someplace” to me like a cancelled stamp.

Here’s an interesting thing to consider for post card collecting enthusiasts like me: the Postcrossing project/website. Check it out at:

What is postcrossing you might ask? It allows anyone to receive real postcards from random places in the world.  You log in and request an address and a postcard ID. You mail a postcard to that address and you’ll receive a postcard from another “postcrosser.”

Cool, eh?

13 thoughts on “Follow up to the Paris Birthday Surprise Trip: Or How all I Got from Paris was this Lou…Awesome Postcard

  1. Oh how fun and a sweet surprise! I like the idea of the postcrossing, it is definitely something I will look into. Also, and again we are so similar, I have a postcard collection somewhere packed away in the depths of my closet. Perhaps I should take a second look!
    As always, your posts are fun and well as informative. Keep writing!


  2. What a fascinating blend of travel and family and a fun hobby! Great post, Renee. (Not having fun where I am at, though there is travel, sort of).


    • Hugs Luanne. Hang in there. I’ve been learning a lot from your posts. We could certainly talk about how writing keeps us sane, keeps us upright and level – flying with the dirty side down as my fly-boy likes to say!


  3. Your father-in-laws postcard will be a wonderful addition to your collection of memories! I love that you collect them. I’m going to check into that website you recommended. How fun!
    I think Postcards are the perfect expression of sharing snippets of our lives. I’m thinking the creator of postcards must have been a man. They are masters of keeping things short, simple, and to the point. I bet if a woman designed it, the size of the card may be closer to a legal pad piece of paper.
    Your message reminded me of a book I wanted to read. Pulitzer prize winner Robert Butler wrote a book called, “Had A Good Time” which is a collection of antique postcards he has collected from the Twentieth Century. You might find it interesting, too. 🙂


    • Kristi you encapsulate the postcard idea so well. And, I especially like how you note that they were probably invented by a man. I try to take note when I’m communicating with someone, their communication style, and imitate it. There are studies that show how this works in person and on the page. Also, men get really ancy if communication takes too long. So when I talk to a boss or my husband, I try to keep it really short. Esp if I want something. Must be a physiological thing: attention spans, blood pressure, ability to multi-task (or not), etc.


      • You couldn’t be any closer from the truth, Renee. My husband tells me constantly that when I really want to be heard, make my statement brief and to the point. That is SO hard to do sometimes because I love to describe the details of things. It’s different to be the “talker” of details than the “listener” of details, though. This I have learned through motherhood. Teenagers
        especially, do not like to hear stories, lectures, or words of advice from a mom who talks too long. Next time I need to share something with them, I’m keeping my words limited to what fits on a postcard. 🙂


      • Yes! You are a gem in my thinking/writing life. I thought of you: I have to tell you I’ve been doing some of the most intense journaling and creative searching of my life. And when you do that you can start filling in the holes to the unanswered questions. I think all the forty hours of writing and healing research I did gave me that gift. It’s not showing up in the blog, but what can, will, in the book. It’s a fun life!


  4. Your translation looks perfect 🙂 Love the story. I miss postcards, but have to say I when I’m on a trip I buy them generally for my family in Europe (here no one seems to ask for one) and then forget to send them, because I was to busy or I can’t find the post office 🙂 So I too have a large stack, but from my own travels 🙂


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