April 6th 2020
John Claydon’s ‘Confessions of a collector’ part 3
While I was studying history at school and then university in the late 60s and early 70s, the second great age of postcard collecting had not quite established itself. I acquired cards whenever I could, with the great benefit that I was not choosy about what came my way. A friend sent back cards from all over distant lands during a round-the-world trip in the days long before most students went travelling, a holiday employer passed on more First World War cards, and a steady stream of cards, mainly from UK holiday destinations came from family and friends of my parents.
Two episodes from this period of my life in postcards stand out as distinctly cringing experiences that still make my flesh crawl. The first took place of all occasions on the historic night when man first walked on the moon. A group of us, lads and girls, watched the historic moments on TV at the home of one of the girls whose parents were away, and it became quite a party. But I left relatively early as I’d been handed a shoebox of cards amassed by the girl’s parents (I think perhaps no names here) which they’d left for me, and was eager to examine the contents. Sadly, I never did see those cards. When I got home the box wasn’t in the car. I remembered putting it on the roof, so rapidly retraced my steps expecting to find somewhere a sea of postcards across the road. It became a long evening in the end, but the cards were never seen again. I wonder if they’re in somebody’s collection now?
The second event might have had even more perilous consequences. This involves blushing as well as cringing. How do you entertain a prospective girlfriend, who became my wife, when she first visits your house? We weren’t going out together at this point, and I was being hospitable as her family had recently moved to our town and we’d been introduced because we attended the same university. The front room was the entertaining room, but all my things which might serve as a basis for conversation were in my bedroom. So, yes, I uttered the immortal line, “Would you like to come upstairs and see my postcards?”.
* WW1 French comic by Boulanger (given me by a family friend- is it any wonder I’ve always collected WW1?)