Nostalgia at its most sentimental is encapsulated by the old-fashioned little flower the pansy, a flower hybridised from wild violas. This picture is of pansies in our vegetable patch, glowing warmly in the light of the late afternoon sun.
The name pansy comes from a French word for thought. This association is mentioned by Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, when grief-stricken after her father’s death, she hands out imaginary flowers, including pansies, adding “that’s for thoughts”.
This association with thought is taken further and became a common theme in Victorian greeting cards, where the thoughts are for others – the implied sentiment being “thinking of you” or the reciprocal “think of me”.
My South African grandmother treasured many keepsakes from her beloved mother, including a collection of greeting cards that her mother had received over the years. Some had been pasted into a scrapbook, and others were stored in small boxes with other keepsakes. I am fortunate enough to have inherited some of these mementos that call back the long-gone homes of my ancestors and the loss of what can never be recaptured. Below are my inherited cards featuring pansies.
In a word: nostalgia.★
Posted by Carol at letting nature back in
October 13, 2016 at 6:26 pm
A super post – I’ve always loved pansies and as a child used to imagine them to have individual faces (still do sometimes!). The cards are a lovely inheritance – and don’t take up much space!
October 22, 2016 at 6:32 am
Thanks Theresa. Yes, pansies somehow do evoke childhood pleasures and fancies. Interestingly, the Afrikaans name for pansies is “gesiggies”, which means little faces. Good point about the cards taking up little space – I wish all my keepsakes were that easy to store!
October 5, 2016 at 3:38 pm
nice post! what a lovely collection of greeting cards!
October 5, 2016 at 4:44 pm
Thank you. Glad you like the old cards.