Since I was a youngun, I have collected old postcards. It started quite innocently enough. I grew up in a small town in Eastern Arkansas with a lot of huge old homes. My momma loved to frequent estate sales at said homes. To occupy my busy little bored self, she would send me to the area that had the postcards. You see, postcards could be purchased for quite cheap and I think the people putting on the sale were happy I wasn't jumping around and meddling with the "good stuff". I have amassed quite a collection of postcards. Anyway, I digress, I wasn't meaning to ramble about my (totally awesome world-wide collection of antique) postcards.
Several years ago, (okay, more than several, less than many) I was a young single mother struggling to make ends meet. (Now I'm an old married mother struggling to make ends meet - ha) I can remember it quite clearly as I had no money at all on that particular day and needed to buy diapers and I really didn't want to ask my parents for money again. I had been crying as we sometimes do when it seems nothing is going to work out.
I needed a breath of air so I walked down to the mailbox to check the mail. In my mail, on that very day was a yellowing envelope addressed to Cynthia Martin (only select people have EVER called me Cynthia). The name and address were scrawled across the envelope very deliberately, as if attention and concentration were given to each word. I went in the house and opened the envelope. Inside were two very old postcards back to back. I was quite touched, someone had thought of me and sent me a couple of postcards.........as weird as it was. When I pulled out the postcards for closer inspection, there was two $20s and a $5 folded neatly between them. That's all...........nothing else.
The money couldn't have arrived at a better moment and the postcards were a personal touch that let me know, indeed, it was for me.
(I'm all teary eyed as I write this even) Now, this part you may find strange. I was sure I recognized the writing and saw the writing again several times through the years when I would dig through old stuff at my grandma's house or that my momma had. When my momma was little, there was a lady who lived "on the hill" named Florence (we called her FlorenCEE). She had helped my grandma with my momma and her siblings. When we got old enough to mosey around by ourselves, we were allowed to go to visit Florencee. We loved to rub the soft, smooth, sagging skin under her arms. She put cocoa in old tin snuff cans so we could "dip" with her. And best of all.......she had no indoor plumbling! If you had to potty, you had to use the slop jar. How cool was that, you will never know.
Anyway, one cold winter night, Florencee had her gas stove on for extra heat and the ceiling of her (I LOVED it) two room, tar paper house caught on fire. Her brother died in the fire and she was barely hanging on. She was in the hospital for a long time, we would go visit her. But one day, she wasn't there. Her daughter took her to Chicago with no regard to those who loved her so much or who she loved so much. We never heard anything else about Florencee, no matter how hard everybody tried to find out. Her daughter had never been around in so many years that nobody knew anything about her.
The writing on the envelope, I am sure to this day, was Florencee's writing.