Love by mail

Stack of postcards

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.