Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Walls, Tweets, and Autograph Books

We all clearly know life has changed dramatically in the last 100 years, but do we really know how profound those changes are to future generations? For some time now I have emailed. I have three blogs. My youngest sons got me started texting by cell. Students I work with challenged me to get on Facebook. Now I have a Facebook Fan page too -- and I tweet on Twitter. Lots of words -- but where do they go? What will their impact be over the space of time -- real time? I watch my twitter account as I update it with so many tweets shifting down the list. Where are mine? Where are yours?

Byrom wrote:
"But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think."

We can still read the works of Byrom. Will anyone read my words here on this blog, let alone over time?  I don't make it to my Facebook page often enough to catch all that has appeared on my wall. Are those words lost? Were they important? Did I miss something profound?

I uncovered a little treasure today among my vintage books and magazines. I had frankly not remembered it being among my collection. It's a very small vintage autograph album once belonging to "Mary" from the class of 1930-31 of Haudley High School in Virginia. All the autographs and little poems and sayings contained within are yesteryear's "wall writing" or simple texts or tweets. But they are still here. I can thumb through the 50 pastel pages and wonder who Clara E. Daugherty was who provided her nickname, "Libby," with the lovely handwriting. Her little poem was simply,

"Remember me in the dark
Remember me in the light
Remember me in the summer time
With a string around my heart."

What kind of fun did Myrtle N. Carlisle of Winchester, VA think of when she penned,

"Remember me long,
Remember me forever,
Remember the fun we have had together."

Even though Mary no longers owns her charming little album (for who knows what reason), did she flip through the pages of this little book and, upon reading that, pause to laugh over shared memories?

What is part of my own life that prompts me to recall friends past or present? Is it on a wall? Is it in a tweet? Is it in an email long lost in the files I never check anymore because of the 100s more that have come in? And, even when I do see words on the page, do they evoke the memories that these did for Mary and the longings of my own heart when I see the hand-written script flowing from age-old fountain pens?

I love it when I receive a hand written note. My sister-in-law does not own a computer, so once a month we get 6 or 7 pages in her flowing script. I am thoroughly intrigued with Joon's FlyingHousewife shop on Etsy where she includes handwritten missives (see her shop in the sidebar). Not many take the time to write longhand any more.

For Christmas this year, I believe I will hand pen letters to each of my children. I will use my best penmanship, and rose-scented sepia-toned ink on parchment paper. I will doodle some fancy scrolls in the corners and I will call them by their pet names I used to use when they were just small boys. I will do it for me without expectation that it will mean anything significant to them. But, just maybe --- maybe --- they will become keepsakes. Maybe a grandchild or a great grandchild will wonder about the woman who wrote and stop. Stop to ponder life in a different day when ink and words on paper were slowly being replaced by computers and cyberspace.

"It only takes a little spot,
to plant the seed,


ZudaGay said...

Lovely post, Judi! I enjoyed it very much. I remember having an autograph book once upon a time. I have no idea what happened to it. I don't think they even teach penmanship in grade school anymore. Our grandchildren have terrible hand writing, but they can text a hundred words a minute.

Myfanwy said...

What an enjoyable post. I love writing. Unfortunately the computer takes so much of my time. I want to do another book. Yes, I really want to do another book - words, words, words....

joon said...

A wonderful post, Judi. I, too, have some old autograph books & letters I've found along the way. They are treasures. I am always amazed that the family would part with something so rare. Their loss is my gain.

Thank you for including my shop in your side bar. That is so kind of you. As much work as my letters are (I spend about 3 days on each packet) I do find it very rewarding to have created something priceless ~ and I mean that in terms of its value to me.

Lovely blog. I can see you're enjoying it. Welcome to blog world.

Judy Nolan said...

I have a niece who will occasionally hand write a letter to her grandfather (my father), "even though it's old-fashioned," she says. I suspect he keeps each one in a special place. Just like books vs. an electronic book reader like Kindle, there is no substitute for handwritten letters--no substitute, really, for anything that is handwritten. I still have some of handwritten school papers from high school. Great post, Judi!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Visitor via Studio Tour but loved this post as well. BTW, I believe it's Handley High School in Winchester, VA.
I've got my Daddy's autograph book and love reading the well wishes.
Warm regards...

LLAbbott said...

Profound words, indeed. But I found them. So will those who truly need to read them.

Yes. Twitter is quite useful, but it is also too fleeting. Once said, words fall to quickly by the way. There is little to no archived information. Which is why I prefer Facebook. And I wonder too, whether I may well be wasting precious time blogging, because it's not as though I have a tremendous following.

But, -- I remember a time many years back when a friend lost access to her computer, and we resorted to handwritten letters and snail mail. What we found after several weeks was that we truly LOVED finding something in the mail that wasn't just a bill or anonymous junk mail addressed to "Occupant."

I used fancy stationary and used sealing waxes--which I'm sure ended up aggrevated SOMEone at the post office.

At the end of all things, we can never truly know who our words reach and/or how they will be remembered; even if found.


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