Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Lost Skill

When I was going to grade school...eon's ago...my Mother taught me to write at home. I entered Grade 1 penning a decent form of handwriting. I was 5 years old and to be honest loved the way the letters formed with curves and loops!

 [Image from Google]

The teachers were horrified and gave my mother a hard time about how she should not have taught me to write before Grade 1. My Mother was so surprised at this. I know she had spent a long time with me at the kitchen Table. She showed me writing exercises and then had me do them in my very first scribbler with a pencil. Not the big thick pencil used by the schools but a regular pencil...I knew I was all grown up!

[Image From Google]

I can still remember the feel of the paper. Watching as the end of the pencil left its trail along the paper and then asking my Father to sharpen it when I wore it down. Watching him take his pocket knife and carefully shave away the extra wood and form a new point was amazing to me. This will sound so odd to a modern child but we thought a new pencil was a wonder and to be taken care of. 

 [Image from Google]

Going back to printing after writing did some weird things to my writing. When we finally got back to learning to write cursive I developed a  distinctive mix or printing and writing, it was not as flowing as really good cursive but always looked nice. I got comments on my handwriting for years, how nice it looked when I addressed a letter or even wrote a grocery list.

I have to think good handwriting is a disappearing art form. I have a letter written to me by my English Grandmother, long ago when she taught school in Kenya. It is so beautiful and well written. Both the actual handwriting and the grammar and punctuation she used showed a true skill. I know in this day and age the computer has made the handwritten letter and handwriting itself a nearly unnecessary thing.

Tweeting and hash tags are the communication form of the day, LOL, CYA and TTYL compress the written word into an abbreviated code. We are loosing something unique and beautiful in this modern time. People dread getting what snail mail they do. So few people write anyone a real letter and that is a tragedy that few people really understand. 

I am old school, I enjoy taking time to actually write a letter, it is a form of personal communication that allows us to put down in the printed word something we want to share with someone special. Something that can be saved to be enjoyed time and time again. A handwritten letter carries with it something of the person that wrote it.

Blogging seems to contain a small amount of what the Handwritten letter was, something interesting, something personal, something of the person blogging. I hope this post makes you think about when you last wrote and mailed a letter. 

Lets not let the art of handwriting disappear into the musty storage shelves of museums. Write to someone soon and think of the surprise and delight of the recipient as they find something worth reading in their mail.

1 comment:

  1. You have struck such a chord in me with this post. I can remember so clearly my teacher in grade school standing at the chalk board and writing so fluidly. I LOVED to write - for all the reasons you stated. The feel of the pencil (I still love new pencils), watching the line and its curves. I was always proud of my handwriting and still prefer to write letters - it's so nice to get a real letter in the mail. Even a postcard, for goodness sake! It's a little more difficult these days, with some arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, but I still prefer to write. (I write with a combination of block/longhand, too.)