I went to a flea market this past weekend (as an aside, it's a good thing I don't have a million and a half dollars and a huge house because I'd fill it with every awesome vintage thing I loved - which is pretty much all of them - and no one needs that many salt and pepper shakers). Among the couple of things I did come home with was this gorgeous, illustrated souvenir book of the Chicago World's Fair in the 1930s. The watercolor illustrations and few sentences about each exhibit were incentive enough to buy it; but it didn't stop there. On the exterior flap of the book, in traditional "old person" handwriting, the worlds "old" and "save" were written. Looking at that script made me miss every single elderly person I've lost and I felt like (a) any of them would've written that because they knew a cool thing when they saw it and (b) since they all seem to have exactly the same penmanship any of them actually could've written it. Now they probably didn't, but that's the thing about that era of students learning cursive: for some reason, no matter where they were in the US and even abroad from what I can see, they all learned the same style. I don't have the energy to talk about whether or not this was a good thing and what social implications this conveys, but I do have the energy to say that at the very least, that generation knew how to write. They could put pen to the paper without it turning into a giant scribbly mess (well most of them anyway) and they were forced to communicate with each other in a physical as opposed to digital fashion. I'm not going to tell you to write more letters but I will say that your great great grandchildren (or just some random child in the future) will probably be way more excited to find a handwritten note than an email.
This is not the first time you're hearing this. This is also probably not the first time you've told yourself "self, pen more letters to the people you love". However, this may be the first time you're seeing this "Handwritten Letter Project" in which Craig Oldham invited designers and artist to write him a letter on their own stationery. Some were simply that and others had a little note and a lot of illustration or a note with beautifully hand-rendered type. I'd like to get my hands on a copy of this book to read what people thought worthy of writing and also to see the vast differences in modern penmanship. It's very fascinating to me. Take a peek.
images from the HLP site