Judy Brandon: Religion columnist
With the beginning of school, I always think of my sister Susie and her postcard project.
Susie was an elementary school teacher for more than 20 years. Even though she no longer lives in Clovis, her past students still stop me at times around town and ask if I am Susie’s sister since we look so much alike.
Susie had a postcard project each year in her second-grade classroom. Sometimes she had students whose parents were in the military. When the children would move away and leave her class, they would still participate in the postcard project. Susie would visit with people in the community and they would also participate in the postcard project.
Whenever Susie knew about someone going to a foreign country, she would ask that person to send her class a postcard with a picture of that country. So the picture was really “worth a thousand words” to those second graders.
For many years, any visitor to my sister’s second-grade class was immediately impressed with the scores of postcards affixed to her classroom wall. Susie felt she could in a small way take students on an imaginative journey of their own to see places in the world they might not ever see. In addition, it was a great way for Susie to teach her students about geography.
So during those years, any visitor to Susie’s room would see the green hills of Scotland, camels in the Sahara Desert, the mountains of Canada and the colorful guards at Buckingham Palace.
Postcards from Japan brought a distinct oriental feel and Susie’s students could see the shores of Waikiki on others. A postcard from Turkey showed the native dress while one of several postcards from Germany revealed a quaint little village.
There was one postcard from Switzerland that reminded me of the book Heidi that I read when I was a little girl. A postcard showing a Moscow scene was pasted on Susie’s wall and another had a tulip farm from Holland with acres of red and yellow tulips.
That was only a sampling. Susie collected over the years literally hundreds and hundreds of postcards from all over the world. These postcards proved to be one of the best forms for Susie’s students to see the world.
First, they were economical to buy and they did not require an envelope. They made it easy to write a short note because the writer didn’t have to go into so much detail; the picture said it all.
When Susie’s students received postcards, they were thrilled. They knew that someone — other students, friends, people Susie knew and others — were thinking about them. Someone once said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” If that is true, volumes about the world were written on Susie’s walls in her school classroom.
Pictures do tell us more than words. Susie’s little second graders could travel the world because of postcards. What they saw told them things about people and places — people they will never meet and places they will probably never travel.
The spiritual parallel to that is awe-inspiring. Paul wrote the Corinthians: “You yourselves are our letters, written and known by everyone. Written not on tablets of stone but written on human hearts, written not by hands but written by the Spirit of the living God.” (2 Cor. 3: 2-3)
Postcards may be worth a thousand words. Yet, the lives we live daily are letters that others read and pictures that others see. If we claim to be Christians, our lives and words should reflect the hope and faith in Jesus Christ living within us and that is worth volumes.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: