Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Postcard from Havana

Back in 1990 when I bought my house from my Aunt and Uncle, I was faced with the daunting task of cleaning out my Grandmother’s apartment.
In my Aunts old bedroom where she used to stay, there were rolls of silk, lamp shade skeletons along with boxes of nick knacks from my Grandmothers old lampshade store at 90 Church Avenue. Just one of those weeks where you sat in a pile of "stuff" and slowly went through every box, always trying to find something that your family never knew existed. The “Family Jewel” or that
“Lost Photograph”, that’s all.

But interesting enough I came across a bunch of postcards from Havana, Cuba. These were cards sent to my Grandmother and Grandfather at 399 East 4th before Castro took over the place and made it into a perpetual “antique car show”. I have to tell you that side of present day Cuba fascinates the Hell out of me. All those 57 Plymouths running around in 2008, Wow!

But anyway, these cards were all sent from the resorts that my cousins must have stayed at while they were visiting my Great Grandfather there. They all contained loving messages to both my Grandparents here in Kensington, and were post marked from December of 1955.

So you can see I was real excited about this find and wanted let my aunt Dolores know as soon as I could. Maybe she’d want to frame them or read them to her Mother, who knows.

Now, there was always a special spot for the mail when it was delivered to my house, and it was usually placed on the sill under the stained glass window in the hallway. The mail placed there was usually for my Grandmother Isabel, who was now living with my family in Florida, New York. My Aunt Dolores believe it or not, still worked for doctor Sheps at 310 Beverley, and must have made the longest commute anyone has ever known at the time, 85 miles each way to East 3rd street. And on Fridays she would always pick up my Grandmothers mail from the windowsill before the weekend.

So what do I do that Friday morning without thinking? I just throw all the postcards on the windowsill along with the Con Edison and Keyspan bills; no big deal is all I thought.

And remember that “Family Jewel” or that “Lost Photograph” I was talking about? Well, my poor Aunt Dolores, she was just so excited to get that “lost” mail after all those years. Thinking it must have been under some ones desk over in the Kensington Post Office since 1955, and was finally found and delivered. Which wouldn't be too much of a stretch anyway considering our local post office.

Well, I just didn’t have the heart to tell her I put them there that morning without thinking twice. I meant to tell her, but probably forgot. And it’s been almost eighteen years now so why spoil a good thing?, and besides it makes great dinner conversation.

So the next time you get that postcard form some far away place. Just throw it in a box somewhere and pack it away. Because maybe someday it may be another “Kensington Story”, that was almost
too good to be true.

Ron Lopez

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