Victoria man receives 2,300 postcards from famous people in 54 countries
VICTORIA -- Dale will never forget the first thing he ever mailed, which he found as a boy, while looking through a magazine. It was a tourism advertisement that included a request for a free travel brochure about New England.
"'Oh! Somewhere there's a New England?' Dale recalls thinking. "'Well, I'm going to write [them].'"
He was a curious boy from a small town in Newfoundland who couldn't have been more excited to receive the reply. "I loved getting mail because I could have mail with my name on it," he remembers with a smile. "So it started there."
It started a life-long passion for the post which led to the discovery of a book about a British man who mailed himself in 1900, and corresponded with the celebrities of the time. "[I] read it immediately," Dale says. "And I just started putting images on cards and mailing them, just to see what I could get [in return]."
The first response Dale received was an autographed photograph from a performance artist in New York named Lulu Lolo. "Not long after that I started corresponding with Lauren Bacall," Dale says.
That led to mail from the who's who from around the world, including astronauts (Chris Hadfield), Oscar-winners (Robin Williams), prime ministers (Justin Trudeau), and musicians (Leonard Cohen). "I just randomly select people to see what kind of response I get."
Dale has kept 12 years' worth of correspondence organized in multiple binders and drawers spread around his art studio. They are also cover all the walls from floor to ceiling. He says there are more than 2,300 postcards from 54 countries, including ones from the King of Cambodia and the Queen of England.
"It’s a way to connect with people in a way the internet just doesn't do," Dale explains.
His creative correspondence incudes the exchange of handwritten or handmade materials. Many of the people, like Judy Dench, have responded multiple times. It's almost like playing through the post.
"This is a world where we need more fun!" Dale says with a big laugh.
Which is why Dale suspects his younger self – who grew up feeling isolated from the rest of the world – would be proud of how connected he's become.
"Yah!" he imagines the boy saying with a laugh. "You did alright!"