There are many reasons for a daughter to miss her dad, but this is probably one you hadn’t thought of: his handwriting.
My dad was justifiably proud of his excellent script. Hand him any pen — from an inexpensive Bic to a Mont Blanc or Caran d’Ache and he could turn the most ordinary of words on paper into an aestheically beautiful portrait of many letters.
In addition to being beautiful, every word was perfectly legible, a gene that seems to have partly regressed in the following generation.
I recall the excitement of a new school year, when there would be new textbooks and pristine notebooks to cover. On an evening before the school year began, we would transform the diningroom table into a preparation space. Brown paper for the notebooks, clear adhesive plastic for the textbooks, and the only element of personalization we were permitted on our books — our own choice of nametag.
The nametag was the piece de resistance on the professional book covering efforts. And my dad would carefully write out my name, class and subject.
Any task that required formal or informal calligraphy was my dad’s realm. Addressing envelopes for our family’s tremendous Christmas mailings, completing certificates. So it’s no surprise that I am wishing he was at my diningroom table today.
I sit here with my recently acquired calligraphy how to set, “Ecrire au moyen-age.” Black ink blotches stain my fingers. A sea of firecracker red stationery surrounds me while I crank out a considerably neater version of my handwriting with middle-ages flourishes added (think curlicues and double layered ascenders.)
I’m not entirely certain that local postal workers around the globe who will be subject to these efforts will find them entirely readable, but here’s hoping, since those bulky envelopes contain invitations to an important personal celebration.