My grandma Orpha had chicken scratch handwriting. Well, that’s what my mom called it.
“I can’t read this recipe…Crazy chicken scratch.”
I didn’t know what that really meant at the time. My mom was always speaking in tongue. I visualized a chicken scratching in the dirt on a farm. So, I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. The only thing I cared about was getting my hands on those molasses cookies. If my mom didn’t know how to read, I was going to have to settle for Nilla wafers. Life was so unfair.
It wasn’t until I was older that I really took a look at my grandmother’s penmanship. It really sucked. It looked like she wrote a recipe down on an index card while she was riding on a roller coaster. And that visual made me laugh out loud. Grandma on a roller coaster. Writing down a recipe. I still have the recipe for “rheumatism medicine” which included whiskey. Yeah, grandma would so ride on a roller coaster.
I really tried to have nice penmanship when I was little. I really did. But, it was ugly. I know that because Sister Maria told me so.
“Vickie, that’s a very ugly capital V. You would think it would be pretty since it begins your first name.”
I really really hoped that she would trip over that outfit she wore every day. I hated going to that private school. The Immaculate Heart of Mary Academy just ruined my attempts at pretty penmanship. The letter “V” can not be pretty. It is just not pretty. An “L” is a pretty letter.
I was happy when I was able to transfer to public school. But, Miss Emler wasn’t much better. She told me all of my letters were made correctly, but they weren’t pretty. Come on, people. I’m a teacher, and I would never tell a student their handwriting was not pretty. I tell them it sucks. Ok, just kidding.
Plus, my bestest friend, Ramaine, had the prettiest handwriting in the whole world. It was, and still is, beautiful. Her dad was an artist, and she inherited his wonderful artistic genes. If ever I write a children’s book, I would want her to be my illustrator.
So, yeah, I never won a penmanship award or medal. And as I grew older, I realized that my handwriting was ugly. It was boring and ugly. So, I doodled in high school, making fancy letters in the margins of my papers. I was practicing, perfecting the art of ugly penmanship.
Years passed and when it was time to get married, I decided to address all of my invitations in calligraphy. Yep. I bought a calligraphy pen and learned how to print fancy-like. There were 350 people invited to the wedding, and I don’t remember how many envelopes I addressed.
Sister Maria, who art in heaven by this time, wasn’t invited. I should have sent one to the convent so the other old nuns who were still there would marvel over how little Vickie turned out ok, handwriting wise.
So, yeah, my handwriting growth was stunted because of a nun’s opinion. What the hell do nuns know anyways? Who said they should be teachers?
That would be like ….letting a jockey be a veterinarian.
In the end, it is not going to matter one damn bit. Technology is going to take away our last bit of handwriting practice: check writing. In a few years we will all have a microchip imbeded in our left wrist and we will just scan ourselves at the local Walmart. We won’t have to write anymore.
Unless you want to copy down my grandma’s rheumatism medicine recipe.