Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Saturday, 20 October 2012

...a postcard or letter?...

Dear YOU,

thank you for this beautiful postcard!
Britta Huegel
I grinned when I read your text:

"Dear Britta, 
in the exhibition 'Man Ray, Lee Miller and the Surrealists" I discovered YOU on a photography by M. R. - as proof I send you this postcard with the warmest regards from very sunny California..." 

Oh I love getting "real" post! Of course I am happy that we can correspond via email. But there is a difference: sitting in the parlour, anticipating. The postman only comes once - in Berlin early about 9 o'clock in the morning. We hear a 'clonk!' when the letters (advertisement and bills, mostly) drop through the letter-slot in the door. Yes: we don't have letterboxes here, the poor chap has to run up even to the 5th floor and bring the letters per pedes. Why? Well - the owner of the house doesn't want to disturb the beauty of the marble entrance hall...
Ah: to feel the texture of the envelope! Crisp paper, heavy or not? The choice of a beautiful stamp. The handwriting. You see by the holes on the postcard above that I collect letters from my friends since school days - I have vast amounts by my friend Atie where the envelopes were all decorated with drawings or collages - once she glued the paperthin seeds of lunaria - annual "honesty" - around the sides of the envelope. And the postman was as glad as I when it arrived whole and complete.
In Hamburg a postman once rung my bell and came up, though there we had letterboxes at the groundfloor. He said: "I wanted to see the woman who gets such exciting cards!" (Did he read them? Was he acquainted with the Law of 'secrecy of the post' - and did he believe that it also includes postcards?! A young friend of mine had chosen his favorite cards with - very elaborate :-) - taste).
Yesterday in The Guardian a graphologist had to look at ten letters and guess who was the writer.  His guesses were astonishingly accurate. Title: "Beyoncé, Obama, Lady Gaga - what does their handwriting say about them?" - I loved especially his sentence
"It looks as if this person either hasn't been taught how to write, or has forgotten all about it – maybe someone under 30. " (It was a Royal person - "Someone who is conscious of the distance between them and the rest of the world? The gap between words is larger than usual, a graphologist would note.") 

See: that is the downside of e-mails: we cannot impress others by the gap between words that is larger than usual - though of course it is :-) 

With aloof noble greetings 
your friend                                 Britta



  1. This is a post beyond price! I hope you will show us a photo or two of Atie's decorated correspondence sometime. Isn't it amazing what is able to arrive by mail? "Aloof noble greetings," I must try that one on sometime. Great postcard post . . .:)

  2. Dear Sue,
    thank you! I always think: oh, I can't post that - it is so trivial -- then I think: but that's what my everyday life is :-) The whole collection of letters from Atie are in our attic in Hildesheim - as I have both(!) sides of letters, and my diaries of that time (with funny drawings), I sometimes think that has to be brought into order - and might amuse my grand-children. Then I recognize that at the moment I don't have grand-children, and it still might take some time :-)

  3. 'Clonk!' And all for the sake of a marble hall. How unbearably lovely.

    The gaps between words ...

  4. Dear Suze,
    so the postman does not need a fitness studio. And the gaps: might be as in Ringelnatz' poem the holes in a sieve. :-)

  5. I do worry about handwriting. How awful if no-one could write anymore! x

  6. Dear Pen,
    "use it or lose it" seems to be right here too. I read that in Japan with those many complicated letters they found out that writing exercises the brain - well, maybe computer-writing too.

  7. Hello Britta:
    We are at one with you! There is absolutely nothing to compare between 'real' and 'virtual' post. There is so much to be seen and appreciated in the handwritten letter or postcard that cannot possibly be conveyed by the oh too sterile email. As you say, the thickness of the card or paper, the design, or lack of it, the handwriting style, biro or fountain pen.....we could go on. And, joy of joys that you get to see your postman too...what secrets he must know from your postcards....

    1. Dear Jane and Lance,
      I thought that you would agree with me! To think of the inks and foutain pens to choose, the way to a letterbox, well - and the joy to read a letter more than once (I can do that with an email too, but they 'disappear' sometimes in a load of others).
      Ah, and that postman -- I think he knows the Law of secrecy - of the post. :-)

  8. What a lovely post Britta!
    Nice postcard and ... nice postman!!!
    I totally agree with Jane comment! Real post is the BEST. It's so exciting when you see a letter writing, maybe on a beautiful paper, instead of a "cold" virtual post.
    I have to write you a real postcard from Italy, absolutely!
    Bisous, Babi

    1. Dear Babi,
      now, that is nice to see you here again! And I listen to that 'clonk!' - might be your postcard from Italy - it will be very welcomed!