Pierre the Postcard is a children's story about embracing change, no matter what life throws at us and perhaps we make some new friends and broaden our minds and overcome our fear along the way
One sunny afternoon, a young girl, Juliette, no older than 8, who lives on a hill above a cobbled winding street next to Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, started to write a postcard. Sitting at her bay window she writes to Yousef, living in Orleans.
Yesterday below our house there was this most wonderful music. I haven't heard this music before. There was a man who had big cheeks blown up like a puffer fish. He was blowing what mama tells me was a "trumpet". There was a drummer, who was playing so fast he looked like he had arms like an octopus. There was a saxophonist-Dad told me how to spell that word- who looked like she was playing a snake. I would love to know where that music comes from. It sounded strange and familiar at the same time. My Dad told me it was "Jazz". Do you know where Jazz comes from Yousef?
Juliette looks at the front of the postcard of a girl playing a saxophone in the street, smiles licks the stamp and writes 5 Rue De Voyage, Orleans and posts it off in the yellow postbox at the bottom of her street, "Bon voyage Pierre Le postcard", Juliette giggles to herself as she skips back to her house near Pere Lachaise.
Pierre the postcard arrives at the mail office and is sorted with hundreds of other letters and envelopes by a sleepy mail man, having arrived into the office at 4am, he is wiping his eyes thinking of the holiday he needs to take, robotically sorting postcards and letters. He picks up one with girl playing a Saxophone on the front and smiles, looks at the back with bleary eyes and reads quickly "5 Rue d'voyage Orleans" He sees the girl with the saxophone again "Jazz...must be New Orleans" and puts in the box to USA.
Inside a box full of other postcards and letters, Pierre suddenly hears an American voice twang and drawl.
"Pourquoi?!...Why have we been traveling for so long"? Pierre confused, silences all the voices "I didn't know know that we had to cross such a big river to get across to Orleans", says Pierre.
"Oh daaaarrrling" comes a long drawl from a postcard displaying a large bouquet of Chrysanthemums on her front. "You ain't going to Orleans, honey"!
"Mon dieu, ou?.. Where am I going"? Pierre jumps out of the box and takes himself to the ship's window and looks out in disbelief at the masses of water.
Finally arriving at the New York central mail office, Pierre the Postcard is poured out into another box.
French postcards cry: "Superbe"!
American postcard cry: "Allllriiiight"!
Pierre the postcard looks around at all the other postcards, frightened. One of them, starts walking towards him. He is bigger that the others with a larger than life drummer on the front smiling with big white teeth standing out against black skin.
"What's up brother"? Pierre backs up against the side of the box "My name's Gus" Gus the postcard holds out his paper hand.
Pierre looks back him unnerved and shaking a little but he manages a "Bonjour".
"Oh man, you got seasick or summat, you shakin' man. Welcome to New York!"
Pierre smiles weakly back at Gus.
"But we ain't staying here, we gonna get on the road down to New Orleans! Home to all that Jazz..you must well acquainted with all that by the looks of it"? Gus points his papery finger at Pierre the Postcard's body with a girl playing the saxophone.
"New Orleans"?! Pierre shrieks in disbelief.
Gus puzzled, walks around to the back of his Pierre the Postcard, reading the address out loud.
"5 Rue de Voyage, Orleans"?! Gus laughs "Oh man, someone got you all mixed up! Nevermind brother, you coming with me look I got the same address...but in New Orleans! We gonna Jazz it up"!
Gus the postcard puts his papery arm around Pierre the postcard as they fall back down into the box as an Amtrak train whizzes south.
Pierre is fast asleep. Suddenly he feels Gus prodding him awake "Here we are"! He announces triumphantly.
Pierre just wants to go back to sleep, exhausted from his journey, but before he knows it, he is lifted out of the box and shoved into a letter box along with Gus they land upon polished Mahogany floorboards.
Pierre hears the pitter patter of tiny feet coming towards them before they are scooped up into small hands "Daaaaaaad, we got mail"!
Pierre the postcard looks up to see a round face, with eyes the colour of dark cedar wood staring at the girl playing the Saxophone on his tummy. He is turned over.
"Yousef?" The young boy wonders aloud. "Daaaaaad?! Who's Yousef"?
Larger footsteps smoothly pass over the polished floor to greet the boy. Pierre is taken into bigger hands that grasp him tightly that are at the end of incredibly long arms that are flexible like spaghetti.
"Oh man, looks like this one's come all the way from France"! Spaghetti arms exclaims.
"Oh wow Dad! France! Can we go and take it back"?! His son jumps up wide eyed and excitedly.
"Not so fast son. Come on get ready, we gotta get to rehearsals, the performance is tonight".
Gus and Pierre the postcards are placed carefully together on the table as they hear the big and little footsteps walk out and shut the door behind them.
Gus jumps up on the table "Do you know who that was man"?
Pierre picks himself up and looks at Gus' picture on his postcard stomach.
"Alors, it looks un petit peu like this homme".
"Exactemente, my brother". Gus exclaims proudly "That is the one and only Brian Blade" Gus is points towards a pinned up picture of the drummer smiling with his band: Two Saxophonists, a pianist and double bass with Brian Blade and The Fellowship Band scrawled across the picture.
"Hey look at this"! Gus points at a flyer, Pierre starts to read
"Blade at the Blue Rock, 8:30pm....
"Tonight"! The flyer shouts out. Gus and Pierre jump back that the flyer spoke to them "Well, don't look so surprised, postcards are not the only ones y'know" The flyer stands up with her papery legs on the kitchen table "....and did ya mama never tell ya it's rude to point" Ms. Jazz flyer walks towards Gus the Postcard and points at Brian Blade on his tummy. "now don't ya think you better get a move on if ya wanna see them rehearse"
"She's right ya know" Pierre laughs for the first time since he left France "If anyone knows, it's a flyer"!
"That's right" Ms. Flyer responds putting her hands on her hips "Go on, get a move on"She shoos them off the table. Gus jumps off, immediately at her command and half runs off down the hall to the door. Pierre catches up with him waving to the Ms. Flyer who smiles and wave back at him.
"Ca Va? Are you alright"? Pierre half laughing, puts his arm around Gus
"She's darn scary man"! Gus looks back to Ms. Flyer with her hands on her hips who gives him a wink
"Haha...about as scary as you mon ami"!
"Mon Ami"! Gus repeats smiling as they jump through the letter box "That's more like it my friend"!
aloud, then turns to Pierre "That's the French quarter man..."
(c) Jessica White. June 2017