Unwanted, Recycled–and Otherwise: Received from Austria, Belarus, Canada, China, Finland, France, Greece, Hong Kong, & the U.S.

I am SO behind on posting postcards I’ve received.  I grabbed a big handful to scan, and the main theme for most of them seems to be “unwanted cards.”  We’ll soon get to what that’s all about, but I want to be sure to start with two cards I really do like!  Both of them found their way to me in Postcrossing Forum tags.

I just love this sketch of a Hong Kong storefront & apartments; it really takes me there!  The sender asks, “have you tried egg tart before?  It has to be my favorite Hong Kong snacks.  California has always been somewhere I desperately want to visit, and hopefully I can visit there soon!”

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That breathtaking mountain view came to me from Shaanxi, China, and the sender tells me it is called Hua Mountain, and “it’s a little dangerous to climb, but because of the wonderful scenery, lots of people still trying and enjoy it.”

Next up, the kitty classroom, comes to me from Belarus, thanks to a Postcrossing Forum “favorites” tag.  I’m so forgetful, I didn’t even remember having marked it as a favorite.  Good thing to check those once in a while!

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Another cat, this one riding a tortoise, and it comes to me from France as a regular Postcrossing card.  The sender’s writing is quite difficult to decipher, which is a lesson to me, even though I THINK my printing is neat, that I could stand to try harder.  I thought she wrote that she is in the “Louie Valley,” but a consult with Ask Jeeves (or whomever it is running the internet these days) let me know she probably meant Loire Valley.  Also, if I’m reading this correctly, she hopes to open a bed & breakfast next summer.  Or it could be that she just got back from a waterslide with Santa–I just don’t know.  Well, I do know I prefer the latter.

These next 3 cards all came my way via swap-bot.  The big building is the Fine Arts Gallery in San Diego, California–but the card was sent to me from a swapper in the state of Georgia.

I think the Santorini, Greece, card actually came to me from that locale.  The sender wrote:

“You can walk to the top.  To get to the volcano you can get a small local boat to take you straight there.  Otherwise you can take a tour that includes Thirasía.  When you get to the top, the view of Santorini is incredible!  This is must place to visit if you here.  You can jump into the warm springs if you want.”

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The last card of that trio is the boat on the river.  The card was sent by a swapper in Illinois.  She sent it in a “recycled postcard” trade, but if she did indeed but a new backing on a card she previously received, I sure couldn’t tell–and I picked away at 3 of the 4 corners!  When I do these, I always like to leave the original stamps exposed (but on the bottom left of the new backing), as a bonus for the new recipient.  Anyhow, this card’s sender says the scene pictured is the Mississippi River, a sight she’s never seen in person, but that she imagines herself taking “an old time paddle wheel river boat ride down this river, if they still exist.” They do.  No, I’ve not been on the Mississippi, but more than once, I HAVE ridden a riverboat on the Rivers of America.

There’s a tag on Postcrossing Forum called “The Card You Want to Get Rid of,” and if I’d had this next card, I’d have sent it off in this trade, too!  I might just send it out in the next “recycled postcard” trade in which I participate.  The sender is in Tampere, Finland, and she told me, “I find this tag superb; it’s hard to find a suitable recipient to every postcard, but every postcard deserves to travel.”

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Another postcard I’d be happy to get rid of is the “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt” card–that comes from Sheffield, England, in a swap-bot trade.   The sender wrote the card on July 11, telling me: “right now it is nearly 10 a.m. and it’s raining, and probably won’t stop for the rest of the day.  Typical UK!”

Still more cards getting no love: the trio below were sent to me together from Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada, in a swap-bot “I Don’t Want These Postcards” exchange.  I’ll have to post them in my page of cars available for trades!  That one that looks like a b&w “magic eye” game will probably have to go out in another round of these “I don’t want it” tags!

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This next card came my way from Graz, Austria, in the “recycled postcard” tag I’ve been mentioning, and I may just have scanned & posted the other side here before, but I didn’t mark it as such, so either way–here we go.  In this tag, a person is supposed to slap a new backing on a postcard they received from someone else, & then send it to their assigned partner.  Let this serve as a warning that all glue sticks are not created equal; there was no postcard attached to this backing.  When you flip it over, all you see is shiny streaks.  In any case, I thought you might enjoy reading the hand-written recipe.

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Well, it’s just about stamp time, so let me ask you now:  what are your favorite cards this time?  Which ones would you first choose to send off in a trade of recycled or “I don’t want this” cards?  Remember, one good use of a postcard you don’t think anyone else will love, is as a vehicle to send a message to your elected representatives!

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Showing a Lot More Backside Than I Intended: Sent to England, Finland, France, Germany, & Japan

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The Genie went off to Köln (AKA Cologne), Germany, for a Postcrossing Forum trade in which people were to specify what kind of Disney card they would like.  I told the recipient about the Aladdin stage show that ran for years at Disney’s California Adventure park in Anaheim, California.  For years, that was really the only reason I went to that park–and I’d see the show multiple times in a visit.  Yes, it was that good.

A lot of Peanuts characters are running for office this season.  I pulled another Postcrossing name, and Linus is off to make his case in Kamimashiki, Kumamoto, Japan.  The recipient enjoys traveling, so I wrote about travel, and she likes Peanuts, so I Peanutsed-up the back of her card:

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My tiger went off in a Postcrossing draw to Saarenkylä, Finland, and I awoke this morning to the “Hurray” message:

Thanks for the great card! That tiger is so cute 🙂 Stamps are also very nice! The place you are telling in this card sounds amazing! I hope I’ll visit there someday.
Have a nice day!

I guess that demands that I share the flip side of the card:

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I swear, I wasn’t going to show off more than one card backside this time.

Snoopy went to Peacehaven, East Sussex, England, to a Peanuts-obsessed friend of a friend who contacted me via Instagram offering a postcard trade.  She has already received it, and loves it; as of this writing, hers is still on the way to me.

I drew a Postcrosser in Aveyron, France, and sent that person, a map lover, California’s Natural Wonders.

Finally, the Skunk Train went off to Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. This was a regular Postcrossing draw, in which the recipient expressed an interest in trains.  I told her that on this train, dogs are allowed to ride–just as long as they have a ticket!

One particularly busy backside (the only one I intended to show in the first place:

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There’s a Lot to Unpack Here! Outgoings, Incomings, Updates, & Some Sweet Relief

Yes, for someone who is nervous about participating in swap-bot, I am participating in the site way too much!  This time, it’s a little trade of Disney items.  What I didn’t notice until right now is that the person I was assigned is the swap creator!  Now I am more knotted up than ever.  Let’s look at the swap, though.  This went off to a swapper in Zella-Mehlis, Germany.  It’s to have been a “little Disney swap,” and we were to send 4 items.  I sent 6 (officially 5, because if you send 2 of something, it counts as just one).  We’ve got goods from 3 different stores here (oh, these special swap-bot shopping trips!), plus a prior online purchase.

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So how did I choose the specific items in the photo?  My partner did share some Disney info on herself:

“Right now I am collecting different Disney things: postcards, stickers, and letter sheets/note books…My favorite movie is Beauty and the Beast, I also really like… The Lion King…”

After that, it just comes down to what is available where I shopped.  Let’s look at the pic again, evaluating it as if I were the recipient:

* Postcards: I like these postcards very much; they’re my favorite thing, I think, in the package;

* Princess stickers & notes: not for me, but would make for some lovely regifting;

* Laundry bag: I think this is a very cool find–but I’d probably use it as a gift wrap for someone, and be very excited about doing so;

* Minnie jelly beans: Disney candy packaging is awesome!  And also I hate jelly beans.  I would regift them.

But that’s just me.

I wrote my partner a note, and packed it all up:

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So we’ll find out how that goes over.

UPDATE: The results are in, and I got my high score: 5-and-a-heart!  The recipient wrote:

Comment: Thank you so much for all the nice things! Yes I have indeed seen The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast on stage. There will be a new production of the Hunchback of Notre Dame next year after almost 20 years an I really want to see it!

Also, I’ve received MY small Disney surprises, and they came from a swapper in La Teste-de-Buch, France. AND, as so often happens with soft mailers, the first thing I did was to destroy part of the contents when I opened the envelope.

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Look at the lower left corner area.  Snipped off.

Only regiftable as a part of a gag gift.  😡 There must be a better way.  If you have some opening-soft-packages advice, I’d like you to share it with me, please!

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Olaf’s a nice, funny guy, but I can’t recommend these cookies of his.  And his movie makes me itch.

Is there anything here I would have bought for myself?  Nope.  I think my benefactor had about as hard a time shopping as I did.  Also, I think that if I am going to participate in swaps beyond just postcards, I should refine my profile again to offer some helpful suggestions.  Now, the stationary stuff here is very nice–for someone who wants it–and it’ll move right along to someone who I think might like it.  Or at least enjoy regifting it.

And now, this:

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W h o a !

Whoa!  From Canada comes this day-making “small package swap.” Not so small, at all, and the sender REALLY went to a lot of trouble.  Those blue things on top of the book are custom-made return address labels, in some of my favorite cartoon characters–and you see she also made matching ornaments!  Dark chocolate (and in Aero, which I love for its texture), a book (because I like to read), and 15–15!!!–Kinder egg capsules!  For some reason, this woman enjoys Kinder-brand chocolate (I love the eggs, but what they call chocolate I sweep up into the trash).  This package induced gasp-after-gasp as I delightedly opened each of the little parcels within the padded envelope.  This shows me that despite the fact I resist making my swap-bot profile a demand list, there’s enough in there for people to deduce exactly what I might love to receive.  This trader is beyond perceptive–and generous.  I’ve already used a couple of my new return-address labels.

So, going along with that swap, I HAVE ANOTHER UPDATE!

The package I sent out (look for the photo with the bookmark & cookie cutters) to the U.K. for this trade has landed!  And I did get my 5-and-a-heart.  Here’s what the recipient had to say:

Comment: Thanks for the great package 🙂 I adore the spotty packaging tape and pink bunny cookie cutter, but everything is lovely thanks ❤ It arrives here as Autumn is starting to set in and the heating in my house has finally gone back on!!

Whew!  Whooooooooo!  I don’t even know if my heart can handle more swap-bot package swaps, but when you receive a package like that last one… the addiction can be real.  But maybe not as real as the nerves.

A 227-Day Borscht! Received from China, France, Russia, Sweden, & Taiwan

I’ve received my first Postcrossing card from Sweden–and it’s meerkats!  I love those li’l guys.  The card’s sender lives in Stocka, Sweden, and she writes:

“One of your favorite cards had a suricate, so I hope you like this card too! 🙂  I’m 66, retired, and living with my husband at the Swedish eastcoast (+-300 km N of Stockholm).  We live in a small village at the seaside and enjoy very much the beautiful nature and the quietness.  🙂 “

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The mountainous scene is from Yangzhou, China, thanks to a Postcrossing Forum trade. The sender tells me about the art:

“This series of postcard is about Chinese ancient poems and paintings.  And this one mostly expresses flash of time, and homesickness.”

Next comes another Postcrossing Forum card from the same country: the map watercolor came from a sender in Fuzhou, China, who told me a bit about herself:

“I like to read too.  I like detective novels and of course, manga.  XD  I enjoy my summer holidays now.”

Aren’t those basset hounds great?  It’s a regular Postcrossing receipt from an elementary school science teacher in Taichung, Taiwan, who writes about the food stamps you’ll see below:

“The stamps show the delicious Taiwanese street food: Ba-wan, stinky tofu, and sugar apple.”

The aubergine borshch is another Postcrossing card, and it came to me from Kazan, Russia, and, WHOA!  IT TOOK 227 DAYS TO GET TO ME!  Postcrossing card assignments expire after 60 days, clearing the slot so the sender can mail off another card.  If another, uh, 138 days had passed, I wouldn’t have been able to register it!  Where do you suppose the card was, that whole time?  Nothing revolutionary in the message, just a 16-year-old writing that she hopes I will like her traditional cuisine.  I don’t know if I’ve had this exact soup, but there is a restaurant near me that serves a tasty Hong Kong-style borscht!

Finally, the toon card, another regular Postcrossing incoming, is from Paris, France (well, in her profile, the sender says, “I live in Paris, but not in Paris”).  The sender tells me she purchased the card “when I was in the UK at the beach.”

Stamps, postmarks, & stuff: I love the delicious top line of stamps here:postcard737

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Her Favorite Food is Sugary Cereal: Sent to Czech Republic, France, & the U.S.

Some Postcrossing, some swap-bottery!  The 2 cards on the left went out for a swap-bot “recycled cardboard”-themed trade.

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So, I had to get a new iron last month.  My old iron, after years of faithful service, just quit one morning without giving notice.  Fortunately, I had an ironed shirt in reserve.  I put the dead thing in my car, to remind me to go buy a new iron.  Here, you can see what I did with the box from the new iron.   I told my sad tale to the recipient of the card, who lives in South Elgin, Illinois.

The card below that was hewn from a box of Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch, and it’s on its way to a swapper in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, who says that her “favorite food is sugary cereal.”

In the right-hand column, we have two new Postcrossing draws, and the top one is another zebra card acquired on my most-recent postcard-shopping spree in San Simeon, California. This particular zebra shot is most fortunate, as you can see Hearst Castle–this pair’s ancestral-ish home–in the background.  The card goes to Strasbourg, France, to a Postcrosser who is interested in images of wildlife, landscapes, and also black & white images.  Check, check, check!

Finally, there is the berry drawing, which is making its way to Brandýs nad Labem, Czech Republic.  This Postcrosser is an interesting case: she’s been active on the site for over 6 years, and to keep things interesting, she has posted monthly themes.  This month, she requests that the people who draw her name send her postcards picturing fruit (“especially berries”).  I love it!  I don’t particularly like this colorless card, but it’s the only berry image I had, so off it went.

Stamps, stamps, & washi tape:

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Popeye & His Feline Friends: Sent to China, Czech Republic, France, & Scotland

I drew the names of four more Postcrossers today:

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Popeye is on his way to say ahoy to a Postcrosser in Glasgow, Scotland.  In his profile, the recipient had a link to his flickr account showing photography he’d turned into postcards, so I thought I would send him one of the cards I’d created from my own shots.

The Morro Bay card goes to a woman in Saint-Nazaire, France who was hoping for cards showing the senders’ cities.  The cards of my city aren’t very well done–and furthermore, I don’t have any right now–so I sent her one of a city I enjoy visiting whenever I can.

The cartoon Sherlock is headed for Guangzhou, China.  The recipient of this one is a high school student who hopes to travel to Germany next year.  She expressed interest in animals & cartoon characters, among many other things.  Hope she likes this.

Lastly, I hope that sleeping duo is not disturbed on the way to Jičín, Czech Republic.  This Postcrosser did have a short list of likes, which included cats.  She didn’t say much of anything else, so I just talked about the weather.  Well, the season, really.  Basically, that fall is here, and I am looking forward to spring.  That’s just the way it is!

Stinking Marshmallows! Received from France & the United States

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Mickey!  I got him from Portland, Oregon, thanks to a Postcrossing Forum Disney tag trade.  The sender shared a quote she attributes to Mickey Mouse:

“Live every moment as not to regret what you are about to do.”

I only just now realized he probably did not mean that in a malicious way.  I guess I identify way too much with Donald.

Bob the Lucky Charms Guy came to me from Iowa in a food package postcard trade, and the sender tells me:

“Sadly, at 41, Lucky Charms are still my all-time favorite cereal.  I love those stinking marshmallows.”

In thanking her for the cool card, I shared the fact that I missed out on a lot of cool cereal toys as a kid because I dislike marshmallows.  Only recently did it dawn upon me that I could have gotten some exercise by picking all of the “stinking” things out & carrying them out to the trash.

Lastly, from France, thanks to Postcrossing, come those views of Provence.  The sender tells me:

“I love nature, animals, dancing and music.”

Stamps!  The character on that French one makes me think of Egyptian gods.

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Two Down from the Disappointassortment: Sent to China, England, France, Germany, & Netherlands

EuropeEuropeEuropeEurope this time–and also China!

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Mulan is going to Kunming, China, in a Postcrossing Forum Disney tag trade.  No, I would not have sent a Disney Mulan card to China, without the user specifically specifying she would like such a thing.  By the way, I love Disney (and Pixar) concept art.  Heck, when it comes to Pixar, I like the concept sketches much better than the finished product!

The rest of the cards are regular Postcrossing draws (by the way: I am newly at the level of being allowed 13 cards traveling at a time–though this week’s four out only take me up to 9 now traveling).  The rabbit goes to a bunny fanatic in Maastricht, Netherlands.

I couldn’t tell the recipients of the boat & garden cards where those nice shots had been taken; both are part of the disappointassortment, which doesn’t bother to share such vital details.  The person who wanted a boat card lives in Lille, France, and she is the mother of two grown children in their 20s–and she enjoys riding around on her Harley.

The garden goes to a fellow garden lover in Kent, England, a woman who met her husband the day she moved into her home–he was her new next-door neighbor!  Isn’t that sweet?  And they look absolutely happy in the photo she posted–do you think that means they still live next door to one another?

That gorgeous tiger went off to Iserlohn, Germany, to a student who said she might like a card with Hello Kitty–or maybe the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Since I had neither of those, it was nice she also expressed interest in “a special one or a funny one (or) maybe one which is connected to yourself or expressing yourself in a way.” That gorgeous tiger is all of those things.

Stamps for the stamp lover receiving the boat card:

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Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’: Sent to England, France, Germany, and Taiwan

“Use your profile to write about yourself.  Your account’s profile is the place where others can learn more about you, so please enter a few sentences.”

–From Postcrossing Community Guidelines, ‘On using your account’

That is such a big part of Postcrossing: learning about other countries by learning a little bit about people who live in those countries.  Also, when you write a profile, that helps people not only get to know you a bit, but also it aids in choosing a card for you, and in knowing what to write on that card.  Thus, I was disconcerted by the minimalist profile of the Postcrosser from Bielefeld, Germany.  I’ll share her entire profile between the two lines that follow:



Yes, you read that correctly: she wrote absolutely nothing in her profile.

Who is this person?  What type of a card might she like?  What might I write to this person, who obviously chose to say absolutely nothing to me?

I tried to rationalize her choice: maybe her English is not so good.  Heck, there are plenty of people born here in the U.S., whose families have been in the country for generations, whose English is not so good, but they still manage to be prolific on Postcrossing & swap-bot!  No, English is the language of Postcrossing, and even people who admit their English is terrible manage to bang out a rough paragraph or two, perhaps with the help of an online translator.

Maybe she is brand new? Yes, surely she is brand-new, and just hasn’t quite gotten to this bit.  Nope.  She has been around for over three years, and has sent out over 1,600 cards.

In a last-ditch effort to suss out which card I might send her, I went to see her favorites from her wall of postcards.  It was in that section I learned that in three years of Postcrossing, she has not favorited a single card.

It is this Herculean lack of effort that made me take the drastic measure of sending her “Tiger Markings,” the card at top left in this photo.

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L’il Cartoon Girl is absolutely appalled.

I’d feel horrible about it, except for the fact that I so totally do not.  For all I know, she will love this!  It’s a draw from Animal Box: 100 Postcards by 10 Artists, and if you read the reviews of that set on Amazon, you’ll see that depending upon whom you trust, only 30 to 70 of the images are worthy of their postcard status.  One reviewer even said she used the fine card stock of these pieces to create her own beautiful cards to send out!  But like I say, maybe the recipient will love this.  I would have no way of knowing.

I also didn’t knock myself out on the back: whereas most of my messages are 13 or more lines of tightly-packed writing, this time around I managed to fill the space with (to paraphrase) hi, greetings from ___, Happy Postcrossing, me. Yes, I still separated the address from the message with a strip of washi tape, but just a plain colored strip.  My most extravagant move was that I still put two rubber-stamped impressions in there.  Hope she doesn’t hate them–I’d have no way of knowing.

The owls are from the same box as the hot mess tiger pattern, and they go to a Postcrosser in South Yorkshire, England who said she would love to receive owl cards.  It was my absolute pleasure to send this to her. She also said she enjoys lists, so I wrote her a list of…

8 Movies I’ve Seen in the Last 2 Weeks

  1. Ant-Man
  2. Grandma
  3. The Martian
  4. Sicario
  5. The Intern
  6. Black Mass
  7. Singh is Blinng
  8. Pan

The wonderful tiger is headed off on a trip to La Bouilladisse, France.  The recipient enjoys dollhouse miniatures, so I hoped she might be amused by a peek into what the residents of her dollhouse might espy while on photo safari.

Lastly, for a Postcrossing Forum Disney tag trade, the piece of art from Wreck-It Ralph goes to New Taipei City, Taiwan.  The photo below shows the stamps, stamps, & washi tape I applied to the back of that card.

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Wherein I Encounter the Coolest Stamp Ever: Received from France, Netherlands, & Portugal

3 Postcrossing arrivals in a day–whoa!

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Received from Paris, France, after a trip of 21 days and 5,563 miles, it’s that classic Moulin Rouge image. I’ll show you the stamp at the bottom of this post, but I did not scan my very favorite part of this piece of mail: 3 puffy owl stickers, including one which depicts the owl holding a cup of coffee over a saucer & saying, “HOO HOO.” Charming, no?

The coffee grinders came to me from Enschede, Netherlands, after a trip of 11 days & 5,515 miles. The sender tells me, “I don’t drink coffee, I love tea. Cold or warm, spicy or white. I enjoy it with my dinners.”  Spicy or white? That stamp, though.  It is my favorite bit of this whole pile of mail–YES, I like it even better than the owl holding a cup of coffee over a saucer & saying, “HOO HOO.”

The card that says “Portugal” comes from Portugal–Amarante, Portugal–and it took 10 days to travel the 5,580 miles to get to me.  The sender tells me that building by the river is the  Monastery of São Gonçalo.

Ready to see the stamp?

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Now, I really like the wildcat stamp, but it’s the JOHNNY BRAVO stamp that really wowed me! Now, that woman in Johnny’s shadow–it seemed to me she looked an awful lot like Shirley Temple Black, but my web search for “Shirley Temple stamp Netherlands” got me nowhere. Ah, well.