Remember in elementary school, before they handed out A's and B's and so on...when teachers would mark your skills as Very Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory? I've always had the drive to do well, so I would usually receive Satisfactory remarks...except in penmanship. I would always rip open my quarterly report card so I could silently gloat about the usual nice remarks from my teachers: "pleasant, quiet and hard worker," "highly motivated," until my eye would roam and stop on a check mark, next to, gasp, an Unsatisfactory mark.
I never understood it. I always got my point across and I thought I had wonderful handwriting. So what if the teacher thought my "W" was an "L"? (don't ask). After admitting that fact, I guess it is possible that my handwriting is unattractive. OK, actually it's horrible. So horrible in fact, if you've ever received a handwritten note from me, I'm willing to wager I had to tear up the first version and rewrite again, maybe even a third time (somewhere Mike is cringing at the thought of me wasting paper). Sometimes I leave Mike cute sticky notes around the house and half the time he'll smile and wonder "what on Earth did she mean this time?" Both my sisters have very pretty handwriting, so much nicer than mine, that they actually addressed my wedding invitations for me because, let's face it, if I had written them the guests wouldn't have made it to the ceremony.
But, after all these years, I've stopped caring about it. Everyone types these days...texts, facebooks, blogs...you can practically go an entire lifetime without actually seeing someone's handwriting. Unless you have a penpal.
I always loved the idea of penpals. A few times during elementary school, our classroom would be chosen to have a penpal from another local school or sometimes from a different state. One year I had a penpal from Japan...I thought I was so cool. I even told people on the playground that I could speak Japanese. Anyway, I digress. I even convinced my Nana to be my penpal. Even though she lived just 15 minutes away, I loved getting letters in the mail from her. She would always type her letters on a fancy, old fashioned type writer and I would illegibly scrawl something back to her and usually include a newspaper clipping about how bad the Atlanta Braves played against the New York Yankees (with the former being her favorite team).
Paula has been my "grownup" penpal since we graduated high school (you know, before facebook was invented and blogging was in vogue). I would always look forward to checking my dorm mailbox for letters from Paula, to see what was going on at her college and her dorm and what her major was like. And now we still write letters back and forth and I love it because in the midst of the texting, the blogging and the facebooking, it's nice to know people still take time out of their day to think about you. :)
Happy Groundhog's Day! I love little Punxsutawney Phil...and his irony of declaring an early spring in the midst of a blizzard.
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