Monday, June 28, 2010

The importance of handwriting

Ever since I made my Mom's altered book (blog posts about this are here: #1, #2, #3, and #4) I have had something on my mind that I've been wanting to share with you:  how important your handwriting is in your scrapbooking.

I talked about this when I taught scrapbooking classes, and whenever I scrap in a group it always seems to come up.  We all know that journaling is important so people who see our pages will know what happened, when it happened, who was there, where "there" is, and maybe even our feelings about what went on.  Now I realize that the "casual" viewer will not read all of the journaling, but your family members will.  (My mother and Steve's mother read every word!)

It's for those family members that I'd like to urge you to use your own handwriting in your journaling.  Not for every page - just for some of them.  Have your husband journal a few, and definitely have your children jot some notes down here and there so you can see the changes in their writing over time.

Why has this been on my mind?  When I was looking for material for my Mom's altered book - cards, postcards, etc... - I also found cards, postcards, etc.. from my Mom's Mom (I called her Omi).  She has been gone for nearly 8 years, and as soon as I see a bit of her handwriting, her voice echoes in my head and who she was comes rushing into me.  Yeah, that's a bit melodramatic, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

My mother and her family came to the United States from Germany in 1957 (my mother was 15) and eventually settled in North Chicago, Illinois (this is a separate city from Chicago just north of Waukegan).  As far as I know, my grandmother never had any formal English lessons, but she loved game shows, word search puzzles, crossword puzzles, and All My Children.  :)  While her English wasn't perfect, she did quite well.  She never lost her accent, and I can hear it when I read her words.

I'll give you just a few examples.  The first is from a birthday card she sent me when I was unemployed.  You can start to get the sense of the kind of woman she was - loving but quite straightforward:

Every time I see this card I can't help but laugh.

The other example is just a note asking me to pick up a few things at the store for her.  I'm not sure why I kept it but probably because it's "quintessential Omi":

So save cards and notes from your loved ones, write out your journaling, and encourage your family members to give you their thoughts from time to time.  Your grandchildren will thank you!


  1. That is so cute and funny! My mom does the same thing but she writes it in spanish but can't even write good spanish because she only went to the 3rd grade in El Salvador, but she tries, bless her Thanks 4 sharing such beautiful memories.

  2. A dissenting view: Those of us with poor handwriting, and sketchy spelling skills don't like to be caught displaying these traits. You don't have to enclose anything written with a package for example. What are you going to say? "I wanted you to have this" "Here is a (presant?) (surprize?) a gift for you" "I bought this at a (consignment?) thrift shop" Aw, the heck with it! Don't write anything.

  3. Why you do this to me? You're always bring tears to me eyes. However, what wonderful memories.

  4. Talk about not being able to spell. That was 'bring tears to my eyes - not me'.

  5. ScrappingFrog: Thanks for the comment! That's such a sweet story of your own. Sounds like there's a lot of history there!

    Mama: Thank you for playing Devil's advocate, but your handwriting is still important to us! You could always type something up and run it through a spell check, then hand write it. ::grin::

    Mom: I'm glad I could bring back some wonderful memories for you! See, now you know my ulterior motive for asking when you came over from Germany.

  6. Traci - You say husbands, but what of those who do not have husbands???

    Even though it has been almost 2 years, running across a note that Terry had written (whether it was just a post-it reminder or something he found poignant) still affects Mom and me.