Sunday, April 5, 2020

Postcrossing, postcards and the pandemic

I haven't sent many postcards during the past month, partly because I don't want to add too much non-essential mail to the heavy workload being dealt with by our incredible U.S. postal workers. In a Thursday news release, USPS noted: "The United States Postal Service is proud of the work our more than 600,000 employees play in processing, transporting, and delivering mail and packages for the American public. We provide a vital public service that is a part of this nation’s critical infrastructure. The Postal Service has a dedicated Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Command Response leadership team that is focusing on employee and customer safety in conjunction with operational and business continuity during this unprecedented epidemic." We owe them a great deal of thanks for all they've done, delivering to our mailboxes and doors.

I do, however, have some Postcrossing odds and ends to note. The postcard pictured above is from an attendee of a Postcrossing meetup that happened in Norway from March 6-8, which was unfortunately about a week before it truly started to dawn on most of us that we had to shut everything down and keep our social distance. I hope gatherings such as that have ceased in Norway.

In other notes:

  • Romy in Germany received one of my postcards on March 15 and replied: "Thank you for your postcard with the cool stamps! I can only agree reading your words 'to build a world of peace, freedom, conpassion and equality for all on Earth.' Wish you all best — specially good health in times of Corona-madness."
  • A pen pal in Czechia sent me this email on March 20: "I don't know if you received my letter. I can't even give you a look. With children we must not out or just with a protective mask. How is it with you? I have 7 coronavirus infected in town. We got protective masks in hospitals too. We sew them at home on sewing machines and distribute them to hospitals, firefighters, police, retirement homes ... We try to be calm and take everything easy. I don't have the machine, we're going to be humorous now to make us feel calmer, I hope you and your family are all right."
  • Another pen pal, a journalist in the Netherlands, emailed on March 31: "In The Netherlands, we have been in a lock-down for over two weeks now. As far as I can tell, almost everybody sticks to the social distancing rules etc. Nonetheless, over a 1000 people have died here of COVID. (We have 17 million inhabitants.) And I'm sure the worst is still to come. Fortunately, I live in the province with the least contaminations ... Anyway, I'll keep my fingers crossed that everything will turn out okay for you and your family!"

Meanwhile, Picture Postcard Monthly, a UK magazine I subscribe to, has gone under because of COVID-19. This is an excerpt from the note on its website:
"We regret to announce that PPM will cease publication in May, 2020 – after 40 years of continuous production, making it the longest-running postcard magazine in the world. The threat posed by Covid-19 – the coronavirus – has caused the cancellation of nearly every fair planned in the foreseeable future, from the world’s biggest event at Shepton Mallet next week (March 27/28) to much smaller events including Portchester, near Portsmouth, also on March 28. The Postcard Traders Association has already cancelled its two-day fair at Woking in May. Any readers considering travelling with a previously publicised show, should check with the organiser if the event is still on. The cancellation of fairs has obviously heavily impacted on our advertising for the weeks and probably months ahead, which means it is no longer viable for us to produce the magazine. A recent fall in subscription levels also reflects current reader confidence. We are incredibly sad to have to make this call, especially so close to the 500th edition of PPM, which was due to be this December; and appreciate the news will come as a big disappointment to many of our valued readers. We can only apologise for this. ... For four decades, PPM has been THE top magazine for postcard collectors across the land – with buyers from around Britain, and subscribers in 24 countries outside of the UK, including Europe, Scandinavia, Thailand and English-speaking countries overseas such as South Africa, Australia, Canada and the USA. We have aimed to help champion and provide a voice for our great hobby."

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