07 January 2013

Handwriting letters and lemons

photo of a handwritten letterHandwriting, specifically cursive handwriting and I have an interesting relationship.

Early on I had strong stylistic preferences.

Visually I hated my mother's handwriting and loved my father's.

When it was time for a parent to sign the all important report card, I'd hold the thing until my father was available to sign it.

When cursive showed up on the curriculum in the fourth grade, it was a new and different experience and not exactly a positive one.

The introduction of handwriting also introduced Cs to my report card. That was quite the shock.

To be honest, my grade could/should have been much worse because, as I recall, my handwriting was a total train wreck/shambles of letters slanting somewhat randomly.

If cursive handwriting does reflect idea formation, expression and fine motor skill then I had a pretty conflicted mind at that age. I think this also about the time my first knitting teacher pronounced me hopeless so my motor skills may have been less than stellar although I was excelling in art -- go figure.

Eventually my motor skills and handwriting improved. The letters settled down and started slanting in a consistent direction -- the direction of my father's not my mother's.

So much did my handwriting come to resemble my father's that when he died, I deliberately changed my signature to be less of a reminder.

My handwriting has more or less remained the same since I was about 14 -- a bit more angular than loopy as time passed but fundamentally the same.

walkaboutknitter logo photoIt was never copybook which is fine by me because I was never keen on the Qs that looked like 2s, the General Mills G and whatever was going on with those Is.

Apparently there are studies that suggest the act of writing (possibly meaning cursive) helps remember content. I'm a perfect case study for that as my pre-finals "study" method for some of my toughest law school professors was to re-write my class notes.

Even though the quality of my handwriting has deteriorated as typing becomes more common, I still find that the act of physically writing something down connects me more firmly to the material than typing.

People often comment that I have beautiful handwriting but it is a far cry from the elegant script I produced when my right hand featured a prominent writer's bump. Still, for a girl who never got better than a B in handwriting, I take the compliment.

My printing has also evolved so that it usually looks rather more cursive than not and I seem to have a third neither print nor cursive style as seen in my logo.

photo of lemons on lemon treeThe handwriting photo that tops this posting is of a letter written by my father in 1945 on Ie Shima.

How I came to have it is a bit of a mystery. Based on the content (his reaction to hearing of his father's death) I suspect that it was written and never mailed/delivered.

Although I'm a tad freaked out over the idea of my 27 year old father non-ironically using words like jeepers and golly, it serves to remind me that although he and were more often than not of the same mind, we were also products of very, very different eras.

Still, one of my favourite quotes has to be "the Broadhursts aren't famous for confessions of sins." Not one of my da's famous Rube-isms but oh so very true.

Other word on the day was lemon and I really didn't think my route that day would include a lemon tree but clearly I was wrong.

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