Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pen Pals and Penmanship

{  A new friend asked me today to be pen pals. Pen pals, as in handwritten, arrive in your mailbox pen pals. 

We barely know one another, have met in person only briefly, and yet via email, texting, and one very long phone conversation have solidly established a new friendship. People rarely make me stop in full wonder at them (in a good way). This request did it. I'm entranced.  }

The symmetry and flow of handwritten script is a thing of beauty. This photo I took in Paris last September of one of the myriad of messages written to Princess Diana on the Pont de l'Alma. The writing and its placement struck me as something very personal out of the tens or hundreds of other notes at the flame beside that bridge. 

More from my mind on pen pals and penmanship: 

- the "Hopelessly Devoted to You" scene from Grease. Sandy has a pen and paper and is trying to decide what to write to Danny. Girls, we all wanted to be Sandy. My cousin and I watched this movie scene recently and laughed thinking about being 8 years old, trying to imagine what boy other than John Travolta could ever inspire singing and letter writing. :)

- my 5th grade handwriting teacher, Mrs. Vivian. Thanks to her I got out of my little girl habit of writing everything in the teeniest tiniest letters I could possibly write. My mom thanks her for this, too.

- today I thought of the box of letters I have of my grandmother's. My grandfather wrote them to her before they were married, during the years of 1937 and 1938. Many are written in pencil on spiral bound notebook paper. The content I will write about some other time, but here are a few lines from the one I opened tonight just to peek:
May 25, 1937
Moody, Texas

I love you darling....Darling, we finished cutting oats yesterday afternoon and are going to start thrashing Friday or Saturday. ....Well honey I guess I had better say goodbye because mother said dinner is done. Of course darling you know I don't like to eat. Be sweet as ever and remember that Melborn loves you better than anything.
It's no wonder I'm entranced by the thought of this form of expression. Sentiments from a lovely, distant way of life and love.

And so tonight I will get out my pen and paper. Do I have good paper? Do I have a good pen that doesn't say Hilton, Hyatt, or Holiday Inn? It doesn't matter. I'm going to write a handwritten letter. One that cannot be forwarded, deleted, edited, or printed out, that doesn't exist in bits and bytes.

1 comment:

  1. superficial day to day social interactions, made up of egos,alterior motives, forced communications and the like have become a presumption. So when you make a connection with someone that is immediately deep and touches you in a way that is totally unexpected, life and becomes new again. Taking that experience and expressing it thru pen and ink and paper gives it permanence and a life of its own.