Monday, July 16, 2012

Postcards from Disneyland

Remember the trips you took with your family during your youth?  Every stop, every hotel, every Stuckey's, they all had postcards for sale.   I vividly remember wanting to purchase a postcard at every single stop and mail them to people to show them all the cool places I was visiting.  There were even those really cool 3D postcards that looked like the scene came alive and jumped off the card when you tipped it and tilted it different directions. My favorites were always the galloping horses.  To this day they still fascinate me.

Ah, yes - postcards..... They are all a thing of the past for me now.  In the past 26 years I have traveled the world, and I have been to some of the most exotic places one can imagine, but do you know how many post cards I have purchased? I am guessing 2, maybe 3.. The postcard took on a different meaning for me years ago and has never quite been the same.  Besides, buying a stamp in China is a chore!  Finding a post office is nearly impossible, you usually arrive home before the postcard (even if you are gone for a month and mail it on the first day), and really, when you think about it, does someone really want a postcard sent from an exotic land, stating in big bold letters scribbled overtop of an exquisite scene that says, "Wish YOU were here!"

Many years ago we met a family at church that had all moved to Taos from southern California.  One brother and his family moved out here, followed by another brother and his family, a sister and her family, another brother and his family, and finally grandma. Pretty soon about half of this large family had moved to this area.  One thing they always spoke of when I was around them was how much they all missed living in close proximity to Disneyland.

They would all speak about how they would enjoy the warm California nights hanging at Disneyland.  How they would meet up with friends after school and spend their nights laughing, eating junk food, and riding the rides. They always made it sound so wonderful, but one family in particular (the sister and her family), they really seemed to miss Disneyland.  Her kids were younger and they had lived very close to Disneyland.  It was hard for the children to move to such a small mountain town giving up Disneyland for sage brush, one Walmart and a theatre. They would speak often about how much they missed their old life.

This woman and her family became dear friends of mine.  They had moved here with hope that things would be easier, housing would be cheaper, jobs would be more plentiful, and well - they would be closer to their family (who had moved here a few years earlier).  As it turned out and is often the case in Taos, homes were more expensive, jobs were scarce, it was not always easier, but they still had their family.  In retrospect, I think they would have endured all of the others factors, the only one that gave them the worst time was, you guessed it, the family.

The youngest brother in particular. He was trying so hard to become a young, wealthy entrepreneur that he often treated those around him rather harshly.  Money and success became his only driving factor.  So much so that you couldn't stand to be in the same room with him because all he could talk about was himself and making money. The biggest problem with him was, although he bragged, boasted and went on and on and on about his wealth, it did not actually exist. It was a facade he placed up for everyone to cover his actual lack of success.  He would bully his family and remind them that they had come out here and were worse off than he was, because only he had become successful.

This young man especially loved to rub this in his sister's face. Why he liked to hurt her and demean her the way he did, I will never understand - but he did. He would remind her over and over how she would never amount to anything and would never attain his level of success.  It was particularly sad, because on the human scale, my friend and her little family rose high above the like-ability, ethical nature, and pure substance of her brother and his wife.

One summer the brother and his wife and 2 kids drove back to California for a mini vacation.  I had gone over to my friends house and she said, "Look, it looks like they are having a wonderful time.  I can't even imagine staying in a place so expensive."

She handed me a postcard from one of the areas most expensive hotels, not far from the front gates of Disneyland. Scribbled on the back of the postcard were the words, "Wish you guys could be here, but its far too expensive."

She handed me another, from a famous, you guessed it - rather expensive restaurant. It read, "Wish you were here, the food is delicious."

She was heartbroken, but nevertheless,  she went on to say that she hoped they were having fun and that she wished her plans had turned out differently when she had moved to Taos.  She felt like a failure, mostly because her brother would remind her that in his eyes, she was.  I would remind her of her strong points, there were so many! Her heart was kind, she was giving, she had a wonderful family, she was smart, she could cook up a storm (and it rocked!)...There was absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, she was beautiful.  But she never came to realize that about herself, and as she was struggling to get through every day, more post cards came.  Very much the same as the last, and several from, yup - Disneyland.

For a few weeks my friend's self esteem had really dropped, then her brother returned home. He came over to house and spoke of how wonderful everything was, how he could do it all because of his success, and how she would never have that ability.  It wasn't until a few weeks later when his kids spent the night at her house that she found out the rest of the story.

She asked the son how Disneyland was, telling him how she couldn't wait until their family could go back and visit.  His reply was, "We never went to Disneyland, dad said it was too expensive."

She asked about how they enjoyed staying in a big fancy hotel, but his reply was, "We stayed in Motel 6 for a couple of nights and then we finished the trip by staying with some friends."

The restaurants? You know how that goes too. They packed a cooler in the mornings and ate bologna sandwiches on the tailgate throughout the day.  There never was Disneyland, the hotel, or the restaurants.  The brother had taken the time to drive around to these places, go inside, get the postcards, go to a post office and mail them back to his sister just to stir up strife and jealousy.  The entire thing was a facade, one used to hurt and destroy another's self worth while building up a fake self worth of his own.

I have often thought of this event over the years.  I have wondered why, as people, we treat others badly from time to time.  When we try to be more than we are there is always hurt that affects someone.
I think back on my friend, she may not have had monetary riches, but she would feed you, love you, and give you the shirt off her back if necessary. This has always reminded me of the verse, What is desirable in a man is kindness, and it is better to be poor than a liar.  Proverbs 19:22

 It's interesting how this story ended. All of the family moved back to southern California, except for the younger brother.  He has been wandering around New Mexico, family in tow, trying to make his fortune.  The sister, well - you guessed it.  She lives in southern Cali, not far from the gates of Disneyland.  She doesn't send postcards, she has nothing to prove, she just lives happily in the moment...

1 comment:

  1. what a powerful story...and i can't help but smile thinking about postcards. I have a friend who works in the film industry, she travels alot, and sends me postcards very frequently. She's the only one who sends me postcards (although my parents sent me one from Italy a few years ago)...I like 'em, I think they are nostalgic and cool and i totally remember the 3d ones