One of my favourite belongings is not in fact mine, but a piece of luggage some how lost in life’s transit and bought in a central Victorian second-hand shop for $50.
There is nothing prepossessing about the small, vinyl covered suitcase. It’s a sort of unpleasant tan with a checked interior that wouldn’t look out of place in an Eastern European bus terminal prior to the wall coming down.
As an object it’s unlovely. All the charm lies in the contents … upwards of 4000 postcards seemingly from every country on the globe.
Most of them are impenetrable being written in Dutch or German and addressed to a Professor Jean-Jacques Dozy and Dr Margot Dozy-Schroeter at Pompstationsweg 21, The Hague, Netherlands.
The earliest dates from 1947, the latest in 1989. Some are in French and there’s a precious handful in English from which I deduced not much more than Dozy’s and their acquaintances had a preoccupation with rocks.
“Carved stone is plenty and mostly is granite, we’ve never see so much slate in new buildings,” wrote Mair and James from Dournenez in France in 1978.
Barry dropped them a line from Alaska in the early 80s advising “here to investigate a report of eruption of Mt Sanford. Turned out to be a rockslide with 3km vertical drop, a heated slide mass at base and meteorological phenomena producing a plume that looks like an authentic eruption.”
Okay, so its hardly explosive stuff.
But, it transpires that Jean-Jacques Dozy was a famous Dutch geologist credited with identifying Ertsberg (Ore Mountain) in West Papua in 1936 which later became site of the largest gold mine and third largest copper mine in the world.
He died, aged 96, in the Hague in 2004.
How his treasured brown suitcase wound up here is another mystery. Some might think I’ve rocks in the head, but to this fool it’s gold.