I've been working on an album about my mother. I did one for my MIL after she died and I wished I had done it for her before her death. We could have sat together and looked at the pictures and perhaps she might have remembered something or not.
My mother can remember but she's not in the best of health. A broken ankle over Christmas has landed her in a physical therapy facility and she's not a happy camper. So, I've decided to make this album of pictures and writings from her life that we can look at together, in her apartment or the facility.
Most of her stories are typed. At the time she wrote them she was proud of her ability to type. I don't have many letters from her and most of them are typed too. I did find one that she had hand written and just seeing her hand writing stopped me cold. It looked so familiar. I could see the formation of some of her letters was the same as mine. She didn't teach me to write and yet we write very similar. Is it due to our genetic makeup? Are her hands and fingers the same as mine? Did I see enough of her writing when I was younger to just absorb it and make it my own?
I also came across a small scrap of paper, a note, written by my great grandfather. I sat back for a moment, in my chair and just felt his presence again. It's not well written. He left school at 15 to work on the railroad.
I can't quite put my finger on why seeing a written message from an ancestor is so much more intimate than seeing their photograph but for me it is.
My biological father has written me two notes. He hated typewritten things but he also hated to write anything. I don't know if his dislike of writing was due to his poor education, writing to me, or a medical reason.
We have entered a new age where script writing is becoming obsolete. My grown children print and when they do sign something I can hardly read their names.
My mother complained to me that my hand writing has become sloppy. She's 84 and I will always be her little girl. I told her she's right my hand writing has become sloppy and it's because my fingers have gotten stiffer over time. It hurts to write for any length of time. I can type faster than I can write. My problem with typing is that I think faster than I type so I often leave out words or mix them up which allows my friends to call my communications, beaspeak.
All of this musing brings me to this thought.......I think I would like to leave a hand written story to each of my grandchildren. I may not give it to them right away because they may not value the story or the fact that it is handwritten. It will be a little something for when they are older. Then they can make an adult decision to toss it or save it.
One thing I am going to do is make copies of my mother's hand writing and my great grandfather's. I'll make it smaller or larger, just take snippets of it or long bits and then I will use it in the backgrounds of my collages.
Even if they are under layers of paint and other papers I will like the idea that they are there. I often include a little something from one of my older collages in my current work. Now, I can add these too.