Handwriting on the Wall

As a child I had horrible handwriting. I hated writing in script – it made my hand hurt, and I felt that cursive wasted a lot of strokes. Forced to use cursive in school, I consistently had penmanship as my lowest grade. I hated it. When I wrote on my own, because I was one of those weird kids that enjoyed writing even if it caused my hand to hurt (my grip is very tight and my pressure is on the heavy side), I wrote in block letters. My brain also went far faster than I could move a pen, so it was ugly. Very ugly. There were times I couldn’t even read my own handwriting.

So I started using a typewriter at an early age. I found a used how-to-type book at a used bookstore, and started using the typewriter at home as often as possible. It didn’t help with school, but at least I could consistently read my personal stuff even if there were a lot of typos at the start.

I was still writing letters in university though. Mostly to girls I liked. It worked well, particularly when I could cobble together something that would almost qualify as poetry. I had to draft first (I liked using legal pads) then rewrite painstakingly on the card or stationery so that my handwriting could be read. In many cases, it was worth it though. I was fortunate that girls I liked tended to appreciate the written word.

The legal pads are long gone. I would expect that the girls I gave the cards or letters to have disposed of them as well. Nothing is left of those long nights spent writing and rewriting. Just memories from twenty-five years ago. I’ve lost their replies as well, either to fire or to moving.

I kind of miss the days of handwritten letters and cards. You could tell who the letter was from just by seeing the script. There were a couple of girls that wrote in scented ink, so the smell when you opened letters from them was distinctive. It was far more memorable and had greater impact. Sure, it’s much more inconvenient these days than dropping an email, or posting “happy birthday” to the person on social media. I’d like to think it would still make a difference.


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