In fact, I clearly remember sitting on top of my father’s heavy, writing desk, as I spent hours upon hours looking through a fancy deck of playing cards that I would secretly retrieve from the top right drawer, where he kept it alongside a plastic sample pacemaker (… don’t ask… ), and other trinkets I cannot recall anymore.
Those cards had traditional-looking pips, and I can’t remember anything really significant about those. But the face cards… The face cards is a whole other story! They were glorious.
Elegantly dressed with some German flare to their coats, the face cards seemed to look straight at me each time I would pull one. Liberally, the picture cards shared with me stories of old kings, regal queens, and boisterous knaves. They even gossiped about one another, whispering into my mind’s ear about embarrassing moments unworthy of royalty. Their tales echoed in the castles of my young imagination. And as these face cards danced out their royal affairs right next to me, their glossy card stock stood out against the deep brown of my father’s old writing desk.
I spent many days with that deck, handling it with love, admiration, and fascination.
Many years have passed since, and I never thought I’d see those cards again. That lovely deck, as other non-essential belongings, had to be left behind the iron curtain as we immigrated from USSR to Israel in 1988.
But the great appreciation of the intimately pleasing, almost tingly, sensation I got when I shuffled through that deck of playing cards has never wore off. As I went through cartomantic puberty, in my late teens and early twenties, I developed farther the tingly skill of caressing my decks; running my hands along the edges, shuffling papery leaves in between my fingers, and the scent of vintage paper — all of these are sensory triggers for me. Though I admit that some decks do it for me more than others 😉
Fast forward to late 2013 — 25 years later. I look through an online card archive — not an unusual activity for a card addict… ahem… collector, like myself.
And boom! I recognize one of my old idols.
Holding my breath in disbelief I wonder.
“Is it her? Is it really her? No way! Impossible.”
“Oh my God! It’s her!”
The Queen of Clubs looks at me mischievously, glaring like a computer screen supernova in the unsuspecting darkness of my bedroom. Not a sign of aging on her perfect card face.
The coquettish Queen seems to recognize me.
“Do you really remember me? Even after all these years?”
The thing is, this Queen and I both know that her headdress is the one single, last detail still etched perfectly in my memory. A detail that became associated with a happy, magical, and wholesome part of my childhood. A detail I refuse to let go of — holding on to it like to a life vest, and painting it and again again in a melancholic coat of sweet-stale memories — so it contrasts against the canvas of passing time that starches over new geography of experiences, lined with a multitude of insignificant encounters with significantly less royal packs of cards.
But the Queen of Clubs doesn’t care. She, as any self-respecting queen would, knows that one never forgets her first love. Never!
Although not an original, but a reproduction, I now have in my possession a double pack of Prince Karte No. 402, originally manufactured by the legendary Dondorf company.
What can I say? I feel pretty damn lucky!