To the Editor:
I miss the hand-written notes we used to send and receive via the U.S. Postal Service – those short, bread-and-butter memos to thank a hostess for her hospitality. They did not have the immediacy of email, but were so much more personal.
Reading in “The Astounding Power of Penmanship,” by Gerald Williams, he quotes best-selling author Joyce Carol Oates, who writes all of her books in longhand: “Keyboards are soulless. … Handwriting is personal – as unique as fingerprints.”
Hand-written communication is rare now. Williams, tired of computerizing, went back to teaching grades K to 12. He discovered that penmanship was no longer required, and students did not write in longhand, except to sign an attendance sheet. I find that very sad.
Perhaps with home schooling, parents have stepped in and see that hand-writing is not a thing of the past. I hope so.
What about celebrities who are asked to give their autograph? Do they hand out treats instead, if they don’t know how to write?
I recall my early education in elementary school, when we learned the Palmer method of hand-writing. We got a lot of practice, too, when we did not know the correct answer to a question posed by the teacher when he told us to write it down 10 times or more to reinforce our memory.
One of my brothers started school when left-handed was considered a handicap. He was forced to write with his right hand and did it beautifully, but did everything else later with his left hand.
My hand-writing deteriorated when I learned Gregg shorthand in high school. It was so much faster taking notes in class. Shorthand was based on using a portion of a hand-written letter of the alphabet and making that stand for a word.
Authors long ago didn’t have typewriters or computers and wrote novels and plays in longhand. In an interview, I once heard an author saying he preferred to write his works with a pencil because it gave him time to think of what he wanted to say. He’d sharpen his pencil, or stoke a pipe, and stroll about the room while he was thinking. The hum of an electric typewriter annoyed him and seemed to nag him to write. Think of calligraphy – “the art of fine handwriting" – another fine example of a bygone era.
Is this progress or what?