Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Quest, a Mission and Dinosaurs

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...


KatCollects said...

Love this post! And I love that you are using your Dad's fountain pen, very special : )

Janet C. Fish said...

Did you ever find a pen? And ink to go in it? Can you have a new bladder put in your Dad's if it needs it?

This is frustrating if you can't find one. What is this world coming to?

Judy said...

I love it!! I remember having to make to silly O's. I love fountain pens too!! I wish they made more of them. I think ball points have taken over.


Hi Sher,
Writing a letter is also becoming like the dinosaurs:) I enjoy writing letters and have a few penpals. So many "things" are getting lost in today's world and it's good that we help others to keep it in the fore-front of life.
Warmly, Deb :)

Counting Your Blessings said...

Funny how putting pen to paper brings a whole different satisfaction than typing up a blog post =)

I'd never trade my modern conveniences like google, but I still love a good flip of the page! Blessings... Polly

Sher said...

Thank you, Kat. The pen was given to him in 1950 and was special to him, too.

Janet, I never did find a fountain pen. I went to Office Depot, Michael's and Hobby Lobby. Several had the words "fountain pen" on the packaging but they were made for calligraphy. I bought one of those, anyway, until I can get some proper ink for the Parker pen.

Finally, Judy, someone else who remembers writing exercises! LOL!

Deb, I'm glad there are people like yourself who still put pen to paper. I love my computer and the convenience of being able to type out letters, notes, etc., but am now really making an effort to do more of this by hand.

I know what you mean, Polly! We all ogle over the old handwritten letters and post cards that are found tucked away in old houses, etc.but we are not slowing down enough to allow our future generations similar discoveries!

Thanks, everyone, for all your comments! Keep 'em coming!


countrygirl3031 said...

Ohhhh what a wonderful post Sher! I love writing and we don't do it as much these days! I remember too, the days of practicing my cursive writing!


Janet C. Fish said...

Sher, that reminds me. When we were building our house, I left a note inside the staircase. I wonder if someday it'll be found. I don't even remember what I said.


LINDA said...

Oh, Heaven's yes, I rememberwriting exercises so well. I worked so hard on penmanship. We actually got graded on penmanship. I still am concerned about my penmanship. And all these 'fonts' available on the internet....nothing like what we were taught............strange things instead of letters....