All her rubber ducks in a row
Whether in the bathtub or now as a stamp: everybody loves the rubber duck. Not least mail carrier Franziska Schmidli. Each little duck at her home in Ossingen, Zurich has its own unique history.
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It’s small and yellow, with a striking pair of black glasses. “A long time ago, a colleague handed me this rubber duck and said: ‘It looks exactly like you,’” says Franziska Schmidli. She works in operational support for PostalNetwork branches and joined Swiss Post 37 years ago. Back then, nobody could have guessed that she would one day have a collection of more than 100 ducks.
The collection gained momentum because her colleagues kept bringing her new ducks from their holidays. Soon, cowboys from the USA, Horse Guards from London and footballers from FC Barcelona had gathered on her desk. “Then someone had the idea of creating pairs and set to work looking for matching ducks,” recalls Franziska Schmidli with a laugh. The small collection quickly turned into a running gag, and even family and friends started giving her an endless stream of rubber ducks.
Treasure trove in the basement
Nowadays, Franziska Schmidli doesn’t have to dust off her collection, because the rubber animals are safely packed away in storage in her basement. “When my partner and I moved to Zurich’s wine country, we took the opportunity to curb my collection habit a little,” says the Zurich native. In boxes in the basement, there is also a teddy bear collection and a large number of Mickey Mouse comics. Only her collection of animated cartoons was allowed a place inside their modern two-storey apartment. “I love lying on the sofa and watching a classic after a long day at work.”
For six years, she has lived in tranquil Ossingen, in a wooden apartment building modelled on a barn. “We have a fantastic community here and are even growing our own grapes.” The municipality is located in the Canton of Zurich, nestled peacefully between the Thur and Rhine rivers. “This area experiences an unusual weather phenomenon,” explains Franziska Schmidli. “When it’s raining everywhere else, the sun is often shining here.”
Ducks as a source of energy
Franziska mainly recharges her batteries by listening to birdsong. Nature is also a place where she can come to terms with an extraordinary story: during a routine operation, the 57-year-old went into septic shock and was then in a coma for three weeks. Carefully, she picks up a mother duck and its child and says: “A good friend and her daughter brought me these little ducks to give me energy while I was in my hospital bed.” This is one example of how each duck has its own unique history.
“Although I’ve never actively sought out the ducks, my collection has become larger and larger over time.” Today, only her five “car ducks” still accompany her every day. She fetches the others from the basement only when her grandson wants to use them to recreate football matches. “The ducks are just like me: I try to stay afloat in every situation and to keep on swimming at all times.”
The rubber duck stamps are available in all Swiss Post branches or at postshop.ch until the end of June 2024 − or while stocks last. The highlight is a special coating that creates a rubber effect.