Snail's Postcard Post

Father’s Day

photograph by a cousin of his father’s card game

IMG_5818IMG_5819IMG_5820IMG_5821A very American-feeling artist known for his dynamic watercolors, Kenneth Perrin Becker was the father of a family friend who has since set up this website of her father’s work.

Our friend carries on her dad’s craft in her own way. Residing in New York City, she keeps watercolor journals, illustrating daily life in the City. And she displays them on a website of her own. Absolutely charming! Fans of New Yorker cartoons and Eloise will adore antoniebecker.comIMG_5822Grandpa Snail (on Papa Snail’s side) appropriately sent me this postcard for me when I was participating in an outdoors program in the Four Corners area (where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet) and which included volunteer work on a Native reservation. (I participated in this fantastic program every summer of high school. Check out Deer Hill Expeditions.) Our relationship’s never been what I’d hope, but I can say Grandpa Snail has always been a good letter-sender. Receiving his cards and notes is when I appreciate him most.
IMG_5823IMG_5824IMG_5825Where Grandma and Grandpa Snail live, near San Diego, California. The area’s beaches have black sand that makes marbleized patterns in the tan sand when the waves wash over it. And the bluffs are always crumbling. It’s an ever-shifting landscape.
 IMG_5826IMG_5827(for more letters I received and sent from camp as a wee snail, check out this post)

And from my dear Grandpa Snail on Mama Snail’s side… 

IMG_5828IMG_5829In 1960, Grandpa Snail was working in Guam as a civil engineer.



Grandpa Snail’s block print handwriting always seemed related to his engineer’s mind, and it sticks in my mind for the way it filled in the squares of the LA Times crossword puzzle that he did every morning. When I’d sleep over as a hatchling, I’d wake up in the morning always to find him in his old kelly green bathrobe, already with pencil in hand. He passed away in 2006.

From my own Papa Snail:


(for more postcards from Papa Snail’s travels, check out this post)

For a project recently, I was searching online for a 1950′s photograph of a California freeway, when I came across this postcard from a harried father to his son back in England. It’s from the site of a vintage postcard eBay store (

Postmark: El Monte (East of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley),
May 31 PM 1973
Thursday a.m.
Dear Mike,
This freeway system really is crazy! Everyone drives at the permitted 70 or 65 mph in all four, five or even six lanes. Overtaking is OK on either side–there is almost no warning before an exit–cars [swop?] lanes with gay abandon when they want to leave the freeway. Not my idea of [car flexible ?] driving.
See you soon


And finally, one of the most informative postcards I’ve found from a stranger, breaking news that perhaps changed his family’s life:IMG_5843IMG_5844IMG_5845Found this at a boutique. Why is the postcard from Vancouver, B.C. when it was written and mailed from the San Francisco Bay Area? Did Dad go to Vancouver earlier on his entrepreneurial trip? And why is there a postmark on the front of this postcard, and backward at that? 

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Bloomsday as well! Sorry I don’t have any postcards of James Joyce or Dublin.  


This entry was published on June 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm. It’s filed under Series and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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