Featuring my deceased father’s bequeathed collection of postcards, with retrieved fragments of language found in a shredded copy of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past
My father, Dale Lunberry (1927-2012), was a jeweler and watchmaker for many years in Phillipsburg, Kansas. For decades, when traveling, always with his wife, my mother, Barbara Lunberry (1929-2002), he often purchased postcards of the places they were visiting. Hundreds and hundreds of these were collected and carefully catalogued by him, no doubt intended as souvenirs, as a means of remembering the many places where they had been. On the backs of the postcards, along with the official captions identifying the locations, my father would often write a very brief inscription of the dates of their visits (these are indicated, above, in parenthesis). At my father’s death, I inherited this box of postcards, uncertain of what I would ever do with it but reluctant to throw the cards away.
With the arrival of COVID-19, and the extraordinary consequences of spending so much time at home, and, importantly, of not traveling, I found ways in which fragments from a copy of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past (shredded for another project I was working on) could be made to accompany the postcards, offering them a kind of poetically clandestine caption.
To my pleasure and surprise, and before I knew it, my pandemic project had taken on a life of its own, offering me a means of imaginative travel in time and place, while also allowing a collaboration of sorts with my deceased dad—an engagement with Proustian remembrances from his past, my present, and of our time together and apart.
CLARK LUNBERRY is a Professor in the Department of English at the University of North Florida, in Jacksonville, Florida. Along with his interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching, Lunberry creates site-specific “writing on water | writing on air” art and poetry installations, placing large-scale poems on water and windows. Recent installations have been completed in Uppsala, Sweden; Durham, London, and Oxford, England; Paris, France; Toronto, Canada; Tokyo and Hiroshima, Japan; Stanford University; the University of Georgia; and at the University of North Florida.