About 2 years ago in a second hand/ junk shop in Udine I came across a box full of old postcards marked €0.20 each, presumably being sold purely for their philatelic value. The voyeur in me found the chance to read messages written and posted to other people in the past too great an opportunity to miss and I immediately started rifling through the whole lot. Amongst the usual garish "Best Wishes from Paris!" there were a few that looked decidedly older, and oddly all seemed to feature images of roses. So many and so similar in style it couldn't be a coincidence.
Intrigued, I flipped them round and discovered they were indeed all from the same person- one Giovanni Delfino in Palermo writing to Antonietta Ponticello in Trapani, Sicily. Amazingly, amongst the pile of cards in the box were some of Antonietta's replies; where Giovanni sent roses she sent forget-me-nots, and where he wrote reams of impassioned prose, she neatly signed her name.
The set spans from 1920-1926 and there are many gaps in what is written, I assume they sent letters to accompany the cards, especially because many of them come without a postmark or stamp. Maybe that goes some way to explaining Antonietta's slightly cold and impersonal responses- a young lady wearing her heart on her sleeve for all to see on a postcard might not have gone down so well at the time. Or maybe that's just the way she was, preferring to keep her sentiments private and to herself, safely locked in the papery confines of an envelope.
Speculation on the authors aside, how did these 2 sets of postcards end up together? and so far away from their initial destinations? and who sold them?
I can only guess that Giovanni and Antonietta eventually got together, that would explain why the cards were in the same place, but why they ended up in Udine and why someone would sell them is a mystery.
Since I found them, I've been dying to go and stalk their old addresses in Sicily, just to see what's left of the world they lived in. I feel like a child standing on tiptoes, jumping around, trying to snatch a glimpse of what's on the other side of the mysterious wall I'm not quite tall enough to see over yet.
Hopefully one day soon I'll get the chance to go, in the mean time, I'm going to use these as a starting point for my next project- graphically I think they're amazing, and I love the idea of using them as a spring board to start drawing from.
Anyway, here they are, in chronological order: Antonietta & Giovanni.