Are you wondering what the three things in this blog post title have in common? Well, you could kind of blame the whole thing on a blog I recently discovered, Oodles and Oodles. Her Back to School post features a vintage penmanship exercise instructional and briefly hits on the fact that she never used a fountain pen when she was in school.
*BIG FLASHBACK* (Insert Twilight Zone music here...) I was suddenly in a timewarp. The year was 1955. There I sat, wearing a red plaid dress, solid red sweater and saddle shoes, in Mrs. Fried's (pronounced freed) third grade classroom. With a No. 2 Ticongeroga pencil in my sweaty hand, trying with all my might to emulate my teacher's perfectly formed O's. I tried, but there was the proof, one right after another, line after line of somewhat football-shaped O's that were mindful to me of my drawings of smoke rolling out of a house chimney.
She is suddenly over my shoulder, correcting my posture and, with her hand over mine, coaxing me to slow down my writing and pay closer attention to the curves that were her O's.
I was frustrated, as I knew that if I couldn't master cursive writing to her expectations, I would never be able to advance on to using a ballpoint pen. It had become my quest. Glancing to my right, I saw Janet Corbin looking sympathetically over at me. She was one of the first to receive Mrs. Fried's approval to bring a coveted ink pen into class. (At least, Janet wanted to help me. Not like Donna D., who sat ever-so-smugly with her more advanced instructional, confident that she would soon trade her ballpoint pen in for an actual fountain pen.)
And so it was, in Indianapolis, Indiana at P.S. #49 back in "my day".
But today, in 2008, what has become of fountain pens? I thought of my Dad and his Parker.
It had been given to him as a parting gift from some of his students when he left the Philippines and is the only writing tool I saw him use. I now have that pen but never use it. The only thing I need is a bottle of ink, as the pen has a top that unscrews to reveal a "pump" that is used to fill the bladder.
It was in that moment that I decided to toss aside my ballpoints and resurrect my own use of a fountain pen. Filled with sudden determination to not allow cursive writing and fountain pens to fall from the edge of the earth, I was now on a mission. I do not want fountain pens to be forgotten about, to be a long-ago thing of the past like so many other things that have become dinosaurs in my lifetime. I want my grandchildren to see me use a fountain pen. I want them to want to learn how to use one, how to properly hold a pen (in lieu of forming a fist to hold a pen). Now, to find some ink...