On 11 February 2012 Rachael Chadwick lost her Mother to cancer, just sixteen days after first being diagnosed, and her world shattered right in front of her. Utterly fed up of the milestones and reminders, in December of that year she decided she would do something different and created a project based around her Mum's approaching 60th Birthday. Desperate to spread the word about the wonderful person she had lost, Rachael had the brainwave of leaving notes around a city in her memory. Deciding she would take it a step further she wondered what would happen if she could ask people to respond to her? Full of hope and energy she hand-wrote sixty postcards, each with her email address at the bottom asking the finder to get in touch. But one question remained, where should she go?
Knowing how much she longed to visit Paris, the last gift that Rachael's mum had given her was Eurostar vouchers, and so it seemed fitting that this would be her chosen city. So off she went with a group of friends to celebrate, discover, and to scatter her memories. Filling their time in Paris with sight-seeing, food and drink, laughter, and of course postcards.
When Rachael returned to her London home, she desperately tried to switch off, switch off from the wondering (and hoping) whether she might actually hear from a postcard finder. And then, they started flowing in
I had not heard about Rachel Chadwick's story before I read this book but decided to pick up the book as I liked the idea. What a fantastic way to remember her mum which lead to an incredible oppurtunity to travel the world and make new friends, which all started with leaving 60 postcards around Paris.
The book begins with the cruel and sad diagnosis of Rachel's mum with Cancer. Unfortunately the cancer took hold quickly and she lost her life very soon after diagnosis. Rachel and her family managed to get through the funeral but then the difficult times really began. It was at this time that Rachel decided she was going to do something in memory of her mum and 60 postcards was born.
The project began with a group of friends visiting Paris and leaving 60 postcards around the city, anyone who found one was asked to contact Rachel and tell her their story. A website was born, http://60postcards.com/ , and the book written.
I really enjoyed reading about the initial postcard drop, I visited Paris on my honeymoon, nearly fourteen years ago, and I think that if I had found one of the postcards I would of felt honored and immediately contacted Rachel myself. The postcards were left over one weekend and it wasn't long before Rachel began to have contact with the people who had found them. There is a large proportion of the book devoted to these people and Rachel also met many of the people or went on more trips after hearing of their stories, visiting USA, Paris again to name but two.
This is a lovely story, although it starts of with the death of loved mum, Rachel turns her sadness to a great project and the book really is a good read. Her trips to the ballet sounded fantastic, along with meeting Thandie Newton and the friendship she made with a couple who stayed in the apartment that the project began in in Paris. It is a tribute to her mum and is filled with emotion and love, but is a book that should be read with happiness because I think this is what Rachel received through the project.
Well done Rachel - I will be following your blog with interest and also on twitter (@60postcards)