At Easter-tide I’m dipping once again into my Grandma Fannie Martin Longenecker’s stash of vintage post cards. Here is one dated April 1908 from “your RBC,” it says, with the postmark wrapped around the face of the card.
Another, from 1910, displays the marvelous passion flower adorning the cross.
The message from Grandma’s cousin Elizabeth begins with “Dear Coz” and in black flowing fountain-pen ink cursive begs her for a visit: “Try and come down to E-Town on Sat. Eve and come to Demmys. I will be there now don’t forget it.”
The passion flower which blooms in the spring has come to symbolize the suffering and death of Christ, hence the nickname “passion.” Mary Delany, herself a late-blooming artist, constructed a lovely flower with 230 petals with her scissors art.
The bloom (Passiflora) grown in my garden illustrates the religious symbolism explained below.
One writer, a Franciscan sister, has expressed the meaning of the flower parts in this way.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries adopted the unique physical structures of this plant, particularly the numbers of its various flower parts, as symbols of the last days of Jesus and especially his crucifixion:
* The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the Holy Lance.
* The tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ.
* The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (less St. Peter the denier and Judas Iscariot the betrayer).
* The flower’s radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, represent the crown of thorns.
* The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents a hammer or the Holy Grail
* The 3 stigmata represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance).
* The blue [purple] and white colours of many species’ flowers represent Heaven and Purity.
This is the season of spring, Easter, and Passover. Happy Holy-day to you!
Coming next: Climbing the Swiss Alps: 7 Steps Toward a Narrative Arc
I love this, Marian! This is exactly the reason we need to cut down on e-mail and send handwritten cards, letters and postcards.
I found some usable postcards from my mother\’s stash when we cleared out her house. When I remember, I can use them for special notes to friends and relatives.
Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, a best-selling author who has just recently come out with her second novel, June, swears by using hand-written notes in correspondence with people in the publishing world. I guess it takes them by surprise because it is so unexpected. Thanks for your kind words – Happy Easter, Jill.
Happy Easter to you too, Marian.
Thank you for sharing your passion flowers and your passion with your readers, Marian.
Happy Holy Week and Easter to you.
As you know, WP posts can be put into a queue long before they go live. My plane was delayed in Philly yesterday, so today will be a day of quiet renewal, getting my strength back. Maybe passion will emerge tomorrow.
After your NZ trip, you know how that goes! 😉
Most old postcards needed only a name and city/state because the postman knew everyone in town!
So true, and that\’s part of the charm. The world was smaller then and as we look back, seemed much more civil. Your comment takes me back to the 1960s when I was on a cross-country trip with a friend. My mother in PA sent me a birthday card address only to Los Angeles, CA. Of course it was \”returned to sender.\”
She should have sent it to you c/o General Delivery. We used to do that when someone was travelling before days of cells phones (and call boxes were too costly for long distance). Then the person just picks up their correspondence at the main post office. It helps to know that you are expecting mail/ or sending, whichever.
Happy Easter to you and your family. I hope you will be together.
Good point! I checked back on my posts about the trip West and noticed that my aunt used the \”General Delivery\” tag: http://plainandfancygirl.com/2015/06/06/mennonite-girls-go-cross-country-part-2/
Possibly my mother didn\’t and that\’s why her letter didn\’t make it. Yes, we have plans for an Easter dinner. We have been scattered for a few weeks now, so it will be nice to be together.
Marian, What a lovely and informative post capturing your passion for family and the joy of Easter. I have many postcards and greeting cards from my grandparents\’ house in Germantown, which I have no idea what to do with, although I had thought of framing some. How lovely they are and reminders of another time, another place. This post is also a beautiful visual. Happy Easter. Susan
What to cull and what to keep, that is the dilemma. Maybe keep some from each season or choose a few from special relatives. Some museums welcome artifacts of this sort The problem is – it\’s simply hard to let them go.
I so enjoyed meeting you this week and value highly your input on my work. I have a feeling our paths will cross again. Happy Easter to you and your family too.
Good morning, Marian. I lost my first responder status today, but what a lovely post. I love that your grandmother kept those postcards–and that you still have them. (And that they\’re addressed with just a name and town!)
Thank you for the lesson on the passion flower, which I knew nothing about.
Have a wonderful Easter!
Your gravatar photo has greatly expanded, Merril. I can now see a three-dimensional friend sitting at Janet\’s table warmed by the sunrise on Chincoteague – with coffee!
The passion flower symbolism is intriguing. I\’m glad you enjoyed it!
Oh my goodness, I love your response. We are now definitely three-dimensional friends!
Happy Easter to you too.
Thank you, Fatima. Enjoy the day wherever you are traveling these days. 🙂
Off to France this afternoon! 🙂
Safe travels on your path to France!
How interesting! They say we learn something new every day so I guess learning about the Passion flower is my lesson for today! And now I\’m going to get my old postcards, from my great-aunts, to see what I can find! Thanks again for a stimulating post. Have a very happy Easter!
I\’d love to see your old postcards too. Maybe you can post them on a blog sometime. Your girls may enjoy seeing them too. They may even want some. Crista has a New Year\’s card from her Grandma. I\’m certainly in the passing-down-to-the-next-generation mode of thinking; I hope she wants some more.
I looked some up this morning, but they are all Christmas and birthday postcards. But I\’ll keep looking…I know I have more! 😉
I picture you sifting through stuff, as I\’ve been doing. Be prepared to be surprised! Thanks, Anita.
I love the cousin\’s reminder \”now don\’t forget it.\” There\’s probably a lot of history behind that familial reminder. Cards from over a century ago are indeed a treasure, interesting to share.
You just can\’t say \”now don\’t forget it\” as effectively in a text, can you? I\’ve pondered what was behind those words. Was my Grandma Fannie forgetful? Elizabeth, a needy person? I guess we can only surmise.
Think of the anticipation (and maybe suspense) waiting for a reply that would take days. Happy Easter, Melodie.
A perfect Easter post Marian! I love the old postcards, so precious. The explanation of the passion flower is one I hadn´t heard before, thanks. I wish you and your wonderful family a meaningful Easter.
I just read your post for Wednesday, and mentioned what crafty thing we might be doing with the grandkids.. Can I look forward to a post about Easter in Spain?
It´s on its way!!
Wow what a beautiful flower and the significance of it. I need to find this for my garden. This coming week I planned doing break for my grandchildren without noticing it was Easter Sunday, I made plans to take the kids to San Diego CA to visit Point Loma University where Imani wants to study. I never miss church especially Easter Sunday. All plans are in place and can\’t be changed. We\’re taking advantage of trip stopping in Grand Canyon staying the night there before going to San Diego. Then to cousins in Salida, CA. Then San Francisco. On the way home Prescott, Arizona to friends from church to stay the night with them. Long full and tiring but great time and memories.
Have a happy Easter.
Of course you can observe Easter Day anywhere. The GrandCanyon would be an awesome place to worship. I\’m happy to hear of Imani\’s plans for study in San Diego.
Easter comes early this year which is one reason you may have been caught unaware. Safe travels to you and the whole caboot, as Mom used to say!
Marian — What a beautiful passion flower! And to know that it came from your own garden astounds me. It so exotic, it looks like it would be found on a tropical island. I enjoyed learning about its parts as they relate to Christ and the crucifixion.
I just hand wrote and mailed hundreds of book announcement postcards. I haven\’t written that much in so long that my hand actually cramped and ached. I think my printing started looking like chicken scratch after awhile…
I didn\’t receive chicken scratch, Laurie. The printing was elegant and the lines straight as an arrow. How did you do that? I\’m so excited to see your dream unfold one step at a time this year as prepare to launch. Enjoy the season!
Hey you – back to ya! BTW, I like your new gravatar photo. 😉
Thank you Marian for sharing your passion through these treasured postcards and your beautiful words. Wishing and yours a blessed Holy Week and Easter.
I enjoyed our talking on Skype and the follow up here. You are a trooper. Everyone says that because it is true. 😉
May you and your family enjoy all the events of Holy Week!
Oh, and thank for sharing on Twitter.
I got some direction about Twitter use and hashtags this week. There is so much to know and keep up with these days. 😀
O that is such a lovely story and photo of the Passiflora Marian thank you! The religious meaning is profound. I will come back to this I know – I did not know before about the symbolism. And how lovely is the \’old\’ postcard!
A blessed Easter to you and family.
I\’m most happy to pass on the flora symbolism. I\’ll never look at passion flower blooms the same. After you\’ve seen the flower, the explanation makes so much sense.
Enjoy this season, which I assume is autumn where you are. I hope you\’ve taken a breather too after the wedding.
What beautiful treasures. Thank you for sharing and showing your exquisite flower. So many delicate components – a photographer\’s dream! A Blessed Easter to you and your family!
Like the artisans who made rose windows in medieval cathedrals, these postcards artists weren\’t interested in quantity.
God\’s creation is beyond awesome too. I\’m showing the exquisite passion flower. But think of the peacock, and the ______!
Wishing you a Happy Easter Marian. Thanks for sharing those beautiful cards. They certainly don\’t make things the way they used to. 🙂
Time appeared to move slower. People seemed more civil then – at least from my perspective more than 100 years later. Happy Easter to you, Debby.
Agreed on all counts. 🙂
Marian, I remember looking through my grandmother\’s stored postcards and letters, amazed that just her name and the name of the town was enough to have them delivered. A more simple time, indeed. This is a lovely post. Thank you, and Easter blessings.
I would imagine the style of art would be similar to what you see here, but with a Kansas postmark, just guessing on the state. I\’m glad you enjoyed the post and said so here. Enjoy Easter with your family, Marylin.
I love how light reflects, refracts and sets a mood for objects. When trying to bring out the richness and bas relief on some of these postcards I actually tilted the card so light would catch part of the card I wanted to emphasize and then adjust the distortion of the card–back to its normal view.
Marian keeps up with growing her flowers and sharing their names…I just admire them and sometimes take a photo of them, such as this passion flower. The different parts of a passion flower are certainly a visual sermon in itself, especially thinking of this Easter season.
This is my chance to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help restoring the features of old cards and photoshopping pictures for my blog. Lucky me that you enjoy doing it too! 🙂
Marvellous old postcards!
Thank you! I believe you may be celebrating Easter in England. Happy holiday wherever you spent it, Lady Fi.
Grandma Fannie Martin Longnecker ( I do hope I have the lettering right) are you sure that didn\’t come straight from the pages of Dickens ? 😌Such an amazing name.
I shall look up Mary Delany , that work of art is beautiful and I love late bloomers ( hey that\’s a pun is it not )
I had no idea of the significance of the Passion Flower Wow thank you for that .
Happy holy day to you my friend …hope you have a hot cross bun ( do you have hot cross buns ?) . Mine it ready and waiting for lashing and lashing of butter…well it is Easter 😆😆xxxx
You notice all the details, Cherry. And of course the comparison to Dickens among them. If you click on the link, there is a whole blog post about Mary Delany, who didn\’t get into the art business until she was over 70. (There\’s hope for us all, I say.\”
We probably won\’t have hot cross buns, but I\’m guessing dinner rolls – something with butter for sure. Enjoy Easter however you celebrate it, Cherry.
These are lovely Marian… Have a wonderful Easter. 🙂
You too, Marje. Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for saving and sharing all these images, especially those old postcards. I loved hearing the symbolism of the passion flower. Mary Dalany\’s work is gorgeous. As I say to my Italian mother-in-law, \”buona Pasqua.\”
Ah, dear 100-year-old mother-in-law Virginia. In your Italian greeting to her I detect a reference to the Paschal lamb, which for me evokes images of innocence, sacrifice, and atonement in the Jewish and Christian traditions, maybe others.
Buona Pasqua to you too, Elaine.
Passion flowers are some of the most complex and beautiful. I\’m always glad to see them. I hope you had a happy Easter. As you can tell, I\’m very behind with my reading right now,
But you are writing and walking – good for you! I don\’t know how you do it all – with a full time job too.
Wow! Beautiful memories! I had no idea about the Passion Flower but everything in His creation points to and gives Him Glory as it should….thanks for sharing right before Resurrection Day! I just posted about His Cross today too.
A blessed Easter to you as well! Now over to check out your post this week. –