April 21, 2006
H is for
I started out this morning with this meme - first seen over at Craftapalooza Nicole's and most recently seen at Mim's. Original idea can be found here. Basically, write out a pangram, snap a picture and blog it. Instant - very cool - very different - meme! Yesterday I was at Staples getting some supplies and I saw this 24 pack of Sharpies. I thought PERFECT! I have so many meme choices.
And then, when I was in the middle of taking pictures and uploading them and processing them I thought - I've got my H!!!! The pictures in this one aren't half as creative as I usually try to make them but this is by far the most personal series of photographs. I'm giving commentary too so it's a bit different than my usual ABC A-Long set up.
When I thought about the different things I could include in this series, I immediately thought about one of my favorite doodles - I used to do it a lot when I was in school, but I don't do it much now. Not a lot of note taking going on. It's the alphabet written as one long word. I LOVE to do this. I thought it would be perfect to use every Sharpie in the pack too.
In this day and age of computers, it's rare that I'm writing stuff down. Mostly I just scribble stuff.
This is a collection of post-it notes. There are an awful lot of numbers on these pages - some phone numbers - but mostly math because I suck at math and I often try to figure it out myself before opening the calculator on the computer.
In thinking about handwriting I tried to find the places in my life it's affected me most. Handwriting is incredibly intimate, don't you think? It says so much about you and it takes time (I mean I search for a least fifteen minutes to find a pen) to write a letter.
A million years ago, I started leaving G cards in his suitcase when he went away. Flying specifically - but it's become something of an obsession for me. He MUST have a card in his bag if he's flying. I often hide them in his suitcase and he used to be surprised most of the time, but now he expects it and seeks them out. They're usually cheezy sappy cards and I always write how much I love him and that I'll miss him and we've saved them over the years. I don't know where all of them are but they're here.
Speaking of G, when I told him my idea for H he asked if I was going to put some of his chicken scratch in there. I said sure - he's got the WORST handwriting I've ever seen and he's made an art of using handwriting fonts. He can't write at all - and I can't read it. This is a letter he wrote to an old high school girlfriend - it's pretty funny - some convoluted story about seeing her picture in the paper and reading it while sitting at breakfast in the south of France on vacation. He had to be a year out of college? Maybe 23? His handwriting has deteriorated completely - this is gorgeous, but I can see traces of what it's become.
In contrast, this is an example of some of my favorite handwriting in the world! When I came up with this idea, I took a trip down memory lane and found myself in our storage room looking through old letters. This one was written by my grandmother, my mother's mother, who will turn 85 in a month or two. Her handwriting looks exactly the same now as it did in 1987, when this letter was written. I love her handwriting. It's so beautiful to me. The shape and flow of the letters - I would be able to identify this handwriting anywhere. She's got great capital letters.
While I was looking through all the old letters, I found some from my other grandmother, my father's mother - my Nana. Also letters from one of her sisters, my Aunt Annette. Once I had their letters, I went looking for some old pictures I had of them which I took from my Aunt's house when she died. I was very close with my Aunt Annette - she lived the longest of the three, but it's their oldest sister, my Aunt Syl, I've been thinking most about. I've been asking her to come to me in my dreams (an outshoot of the medium stuff) because she has before and so far no go. I think about my aunts and my grandmother often and miss them a lot.
Last but not least are my birthday books. I've talked about these before - my father gives me (and all of my siblings) a book for our birthday - something special just from him - and I have my books going back to my birth. My father also writes a note in the book. Often my siblings and I will call each other to read the note - my dad's always telling us how proud he is of us and all that other good stuff. Never fails to get a tear.
Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend!
PS - As always, you can click on any picture to open a bigger version.
Posted by Cara at April 21, 2006 01:34 PM
Fabulous. I really enjoyed the evolution from self to family. Thanks for reminding me of how individual handwriting is and how evocative it can be.
Posted by: anmiryam at April 21, 2006 01:47 PM
What a great series. You're right: very intimate. I really love your father's practice of the birthday books. Thanks for sharing these.
Posted by: Anna at April 21, 2006 01:49 PM
Cara? This is amazing. This is my favorite ABC-along entry so far. I love the handwriting and the memories...
Posted by: Skylar at April 21, 2006 02:20 PM
That's a beautiful gift your father has given you. Sharing of knowledge and interested is pricesless.
I love your writing and I covet your Sharpies!
Posted by: Christie at April 21, 2006 02:21 PM
My mother had beautiful handwriting and I love running across it from time to time. I could give G a run for his money. I can't even read my own handwriting!
Posted by: margene at April 21, 2006 02:41 PM
PS....I want that packet of Sharpies so must head to Staples soon!
Posted by: margene at April 21, 2006 02:42 PM
Cara, how wonderful and personal! I love it. I love looking at other people's handwriting. Thank you for sharing! :)
[when my DH was travelling a lot for work, I started putting a card in his suitcase for every trip, too. He has them all somewhere. :) ]
Posted by: jess at April 21, 2006 02:45 PM
Oh, I have a thing for the Sharpies, you know... it matters not whether they are long and lean or short and squat -- LOVE the Sharpies!!!
And I love this post, Cara. The writing, the books, the pictures, the memories...
I received a multi-page letter in the mail a couple of weeks ago -- an actual, real handwritten letter in HANDWRITING -- and I was so moved, not only by what it said, but the fact that someone took the time to write it for ME and I kept thinking, Wow, my wrist would hurt writing this... and sure enough, I had an email later tell me that her arm was about to fall off -- but typing didn't do it justice and it just had to be written. ; ) It's inspirational, really...
Posted by: Vicki at April 21, 2006 02:48 PM
Posted by: amanda at April 21, 2006 02:53 PM
This is wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
Posted by: Rachel H at April 21, 2006 03:23 PM
Wonderful post, my favorite ABC along entry out of all the ones I have seen. Thank you so much for sharing, I love reading your posts!
Posted by: Sarah at April 21, 2006 03:24 PM
This is just a fabulous entry!
We forget, I think, in this digital age, the beauty of the handwritten word!
Thanks for the reminder!
Posted by: Leah at April 21, 2006 03:25 PM
I love this post.
When I was in the third grade I got in trouble for bouncing the ball while in line waiting to go back into school. My punishment was to spend the afternoon in the first grade class with my sister and work on penmanship. I was writing and writing and the nun came up to me and very loudly commented on how sloppy my "penmanship" was and that my first grade sister's was even better than mine. A third grader! Well. I still practice my "penmanship" by doodling and taking notes to this day, and most of the time my handwriting is lovely and legible. I, too, search out the perfect pen and when I have them I hide them from the rest of my family so that when I need to write, I can use the pen I love the best.
Posted by: Teresa C at April 21, 2006 03:26 PM
I love this post--made me think about so many things AND the pictures are wonderful.
When I was in junior high, my best friend would come over to my house and write her name over and over, each time with a different pen. I was always finding the papers in my desk drawers. Wish I still had a few of them.
My mom is addicted to Post-It notes and cannot send a package without putting a post-it on the front, explaing what's inside. I have been saving those.
Soon after my husband and I met, I moved out of town. We corresponded by mail (it was 1995) for six months and it was totally the perfect way to start a realtionship.
The book notes from your dad make me weepy. Something about seeing a bunch of them all together makes it powerful.
Posted by: Melanie at April 21, 2006 03:27 PM
LOVE THIS. I save letters, especially from my parents and grandparents. They're such a tangible little part that I just like to hold onto them.
Posted by: anne at April 21, 2006 04:07 PM
What a lovely tradition for your dad to create. We're a very "book-y" family, and I think we may just steal that idea - I love the idea of my kids being able to look back through a bunch of books to see what we've given them.
I love the photos! I used to write the alphabet as one long word too. :)
Posted by: Thorn at April 21, 2006 04:16 PM
i love this post so much!! handwriting is so interesting. my mom's handwriting is PERFECT, meanwhile my dad is very firm and ridgid.
And the alphabet pics are my favorite. Wonderful Cara!
Posted by: margaux at April 21, 2006 05:25 PM
Wonderful "H" post. :-)
Posted by: Angelia at April 21, 2006 06:44 PM
Amazing post sprinkled with beautiful stories. Very inspiring.
Growing up I would do the same thing with my name and a number...pages and pages of it. Maybe I'm not crazy after all. Or maybe you are too.
Posted by: isel at April 21, 2006 08:13 PM
Fabulous H post. :)
Posted by: Chris at April 21, 2006 08:45 PM
Handwriting is such a great idea for H. I've been struggling with that one.
Posted by: Jessica at April 21, 2006 08:47 PM
Priceless. What a great intimate look at yourself and your life. That's what I love about you. You are never afraid to lay it all out there. I was deeply moved.
Posted by: Carol at April 21, 2006 09:27 PM
You have beautiful handwriting Cara.
Great post. :)
Posted by: heather at April 21, 2006 09:45 PM
GREAT H. Just absolutely wonderful and brilliant and interesting and genius. Loved it.
The best handwriting I know? My grandfather's. I've never known anyone with such unique, beautiful handwriting. I just so wish I had a sample of it. What DID I do with the samples I had when I was a kid, before he was gone?
Thanks, Cara. Loved this one.
Posted by: --Deb at April 21, 2006 10:12 PM
What a great H post!!
Posted by: Kimberly at April 22, 2006 12:54 AM
I'll have to check the meme and see what I can do with it. I just bought the same pack of sharpies!! Must be fate, no? After my mother died, I about went nuts because I couldn't find any of her handwriting.... We weren't very close, and I'm not necessarily a "saver"... but finally... I found her handwriting in my recipe file: for her version of chex mix and meat loaf. Phew! Thanks for the reminders.
Posted by: PainterWoman at April 22, 2006 01:04 AM
What a great "H"! I think we may be related, however. My grandmother has the exact same handwriting. Catholic school, upstate PA, 1930s. Ring any bells?
Posted by: Theresa at April 22, 2006 08:19 AM
Thanks for sharing about writing. I've touched on the subject before in my own blog. It is a very personal thing to do and give to someone.
Posted by: Latoya at April 22, 2006 09:08 AM
Cara, This was such a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your memories and special family rituals.
Posted by: Marcela at April 22, 2006 02:10 PM
Oh how I have missed your pictures! I have been away for too long....
Posted by: Stacey at April 22, 2006 03:41 PM
What a cool entry for the letter H! Thanks for sharing it.
Posted by: katie at April 23, 2006 08:24 AM
Not that I would have picked thinking if someone asked me what I would like to do today, but this post made me think about my handwriting and that of the people that you know - intimately & casually - and how they write.
Posted by: Wannietta at April 23, 2006 01:39 PM
I love your H. And your Sharpies. The alphabet poctures are also my favorite. And...do I see a post-it with STR colorways on it? ;)
Posted by: emily at April 23, 2006 02:20 PM
I love handwriting. I'm fascinated by other people's and my own. Words are what make this world go round, and they're all the more powerful seen in the hand in which they were written.
Posted by: katherineofitall at April 23, 2006 05:44 PM
I love, love, love this post.
Posted by: cari at April 24, 2006 12:02 AM
I used to do the same for my hubby when he traveled weekly via plane - I'd hide cards and notes in his suitcase! I still do it even though he doesnt' travel anymore (except with me for fun!) - I'll stick the occasional post it with a sappy message in a folded up towel, or under his toothpaste or on his car seat so he sees it before school/work.
Aren't sharpies the bestest!!!!
Posted by: Stacey at April 24, 2006 10:32 AM
Wow, you really took it to the next level... thanks for playing :)
Posted by: logtar at April 24, 2006 10:44 AM
Another fabulous series. The photos are great and the commentary is fabulous.
Posted by: Stephanie at April 24, 2006 12:00 PM
Wow- I love this post! I am fascinated by handwriting. And like you, I still write everything down. Notes everywhere, "old school" day planner (no Palm Pilot for me), handwritten cards and letters. I really enjoy it. Thanks for such a great post!
Posted by: Nonnahs at April 24, 2006 12:35 PM
How the hell did I miss this post? Love it. Love the notes from your dad in the books. How cool.
Posted by: Kathleen at April 27, 2006 08:13 AM