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  • Sue Hawley

What is your handwriting really saying?

I recently received my weekly newsletter from Kathi Laughman’s Mackenize Circle. What a treasure trove of wisdom each week! This particular article reminded me of the importance of the written word. I’m not referring to emails, text messages or the like, but rather a real piece of paper with handwritten words. What’s so special about a piece of paper? Everything!

Words are important but especially hand written words. Our Declaration of Independence is hand written. They had printing presses at that point in time, so why not just use the machines available? Because anything hand written has depth rather than merely words printed on paper. There is emotion, care and thoughtfulness entwined within the words. We seem to have lost the art of sending actual notes or letters to those we care about that can be lovingly saved through the years. I am fortunate to have letters sent to my grandmother from her mother along with letters she received from my grandfather when he was away from home. I hold these dear to my heart. Their written words remind me of the fact they were real people (and not just names on the family tree) with real problems, joy and everyday experiences.

I moved away from family 38 years ago. I have saved every letter from both of my parents and will pass them on to my own children. Mother sent recipes and family gossip even though we talked on the phone almost every week until her death. Somehow she knew I needed to see her handwriting, as homesickness at times was overwhelming. After her death my dad would send envelopes with funny cartoons cut out of the newspaper, and once a map of Texas where I was raised. There are the odd birthday cards scattered throughout the years but I hold the cartoons and map close to my heart. No note included as to why he was sending them—he expected me to understand he simply thought I’d enjoy whatever he sent. He was right—I loved seeing his handwriting and really didn’t care what was inside the envelope.

My advice to everyone is to send your loved ones notes or letters you take the time to write by hand. They will treasure them forever and pass them down through the generations. It’s important we remain alive through the written word to the generations who come after us so they too will know we had our struggles, loves and were real people who experienced the same emotions they will be enduring in their lives. It will help put their own lives in perspective. There’s nothing quite like holding a piece of paper with words written over a hundred years ago from a distant family member who is more than a name on the family tree.

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