When Hope Wall was a young girl, she got a chance to travel the country one postcard at a time.
Her grandparents, Debbie and John McClain, went on a trip across the country and sent postcards to all of their grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Getting each of those postcards felt like an occasion for Wall.
“I was just sitting by the mailbox waiting to see what they were going to send next, to see where they were going next,” she said. “I wished i was on the back of the motorcycle so bad. I remember wanting to be a part, and that was them making me a part by including me, by sending me these postcards.
“I was plotting the course in my mind by getting those cards.”
Her mother put the postcards in a scrapbook. Eventually life went on, and in the course of several moves of house the scrapbook was lost in the shuffle.
Fast forward to Mother’s Day 2020.
Wall had just gotten home when her phone started alerting her of messages. At first she thought it was someone who was trying to contact her about her job, but the she saw the message was from Holly Wilcox — who at that time she did not know.
Wilcox had found the book in the Crossett Public Library’s book sale room.
“(She) starts telling me, “I went to the library to look for a book.’ It was just laying on the table, and she peeled back one of the postcards and saw it was (to) a Crossett address. Right there on the postcard was ‘Hope Wall.’”
Even though Wall no longer lived at the same address, Wilcox looked her up on social media.
When they met up the next day, the book didn’t look right. It was one of those quirks of memory, though. Even though in her child’s mind it had been a binder, the book was actually spiral-bound.
“It looked faintly familiar,” Wall said, though when she opened it and looked at one of the postcards, she knew it was the book she would whip out from time to time as a child to live vicariously through the messages that had been dispatched to her from someone else’s journey.
“Immediately, it was my gram’s penmanship. Immediately I started crying.”
Since getting the scrapbook back, Wall has looked through it many times, she said.
“I have only brought myself to peel back one or two,” she said. “I want to look and see what my gram wrote because she wrote me little notes. She wrote me a postcard, she said something, so i am really stuck in the middle of wanting to get into something and to preserve it.”
Wall’s grandparents live in Mississippi, and after she recovered the book she spoke to her grandmother about it.
“She and my grandpa could not believe this could happen, and she couldn’t believe how much the scrapbook meant to me,” Wall said.
Wall doesn’t know where the scrapbook went between her initial possession more than a decade ago and when it returned to her.
But nonetheless, just as the post cards first came to a little girl waiting by the mailbox each week, they’ve made their way back again, bringing with them not only tales of a trip across the country but memories once thought lost.