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Love by mail

Author used postcards to woo girlfriend

Stack of postcards
Journalist and author Jeff Gordinier used postcards to woo the woman he would eventually marry.

Jeff Gordinier sees postcards as a way to keep in deeper touch with loved ones.

He should know.

Gordinier, a journalist and author, used postcards to woo the woman he would eventually marry, a story he recalls in a recent essay for the Real Simple lifestyle site.

“On any given evening, after coming back from the office, she might find a postcard bearing a portrait of Patti Smith, another graced with the cover of a vintage Italian cookbook, another with a Cézanne still life of apples, another with an image from Vogue from the Roaring Twenties,” Gordinier writes.

Before marrying his then-girlfriend, Lauren, in 2018, Gordinier mailed her hundreds of postcards during the course of a year — “enough to fill a couple of shoe boxes.”

And just what did he write on those postcards? Both a little and a lot.

“I would contort myself into fresh ways of telling Lauren that I loved her and missed her. But the objective was not to bombard my girlfriend with effusive declarations. … The objective was just to stay in touch, to keep that element of surprise alive,” Gordinier writes.

“So sometimes the postcards carried arbitrary or quotidian observations, two lines of a poem, a song lyric, a snippet from an essay I had just read, a comic sketch of a rude passenger on a plane, gossip, mantras, complaints, recipes, childhood memories, descriptions of weather.”

The essay is accompanied by suggestions from stationery company founder Ali O’Grady on crafting handwritten messages to loved ones, including mailing them out-of-the-blue greeting cards.

“Your life is the occasion,” O’Grady says.

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