• ebhowell

Postcards from Home – Summer 2020

It’s almost the 4th of July and I'm thinking about one of my favorite Fourths.

It wasn’t the backyard pool party or the relay race around Acadia Park. It was the weekend I received a handmade card from a friend. I was living in Maine during the summer before my senior year of college. Getting mail was a big deal. Most days, we’d walk or bike down to the post office perched on the dock for some news.

The card popped out of the envelope.

It was a water-colored flag, painted perfect sky blue, a dash of red and the right amount of imperfect yellow stars. The handwritten script shouted, "Happiest Fourth."

News filled the inside from top to bottom and side to side. It was a funny report from a friend living in a far-off state. She used code names for summer crushes and inside jokes and gave a hysterical update on her internship. This was long before texting and social media, so I treasured the original card. I remember reading it out loud to my mother and brother on the porch. Mail was a communal experience from gathering to reading.

I spent a lot of time that summer writing letters to my friends who were sweating back in cities learning about business or teaching children to ride horses in the mountains. I was busy helping the ferry that summer, selling tickets to day-trippers who were looking for a way to explore the islands. I wrote so many letters and postcards while I waited for the boat that ran on the captain's watch and the predictable tides; it would pull-up in the harbor to unload and load-up every two hours.

The little flag card remains on a shelf of memories in the guest room. It’s stuck there like a concert stub from a better summer. It reminds me how friendships last even when we stop sending cards and we scroll through our screens and we don’t see one another because we are living in the most unusual COVID-19 summertime.

Happy 4th to you and your family as you might be doing less, staying in your backyard rather than cramming into a field to see fireworks. Consider, picking up a postcard at the grocery store or make one from office paper, and turn it into something festive. This is a challenge. Let’s write more postcards this July and August.

Fill them with your handwriting that you rarely see, and your friends haven’t read in years. Use all the blank space from top to bottom and surprise your loved ones with your words.

Surprise them out of the blue: Happy Independence Day.

To learn more about me, visit my website:

Note: I will replace graphic with the real postcard, soon. I'm prepping, battening down the Southern hurricane hatches, readying the ship to head North.

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