Beneath My Granddad’s Hat…

Image result for free google images of drawings of men wearing hats or caps

My granddad on my mom’s side always wore a hat, one with a brim on it that very effectively hid his eyes from the world. As a little girl, I remember stooping over while trying to peer underneath the hat. I just wanted to see his eyes. Granddad was a tall man, about 6ft 2 I imagine. His ever-present hat made him appear to be even taller, such a majestic and powerful figure as seen through my youthful eyes. When I would call out to him, he would often tilt his head just right, revealing two shiny brown balls of joy that made my heart dance with excitement. His eyes always seemed to be filled with laughter, even when he wasn’t smiling, but the smile was never far away.

It was a rare occasion to find my granddad without his hat. Sometimes, I would stand and watch grandpa sleeping under its safety and security. I used to think it was so funny when he would fall asleep in his favorite chair, his faithful ‘companion’ completely covering his face. At those times while granddad slept, the hat seemed to take on a life of its own, as it loyally watched over its owner. while providing a kind of protective shield from onlookers. As granddad quietly snored, the hat would rise and fall with each intake and exhale of his quiet rhythmical breathing.

It has been a very long time now since my granddad went home to Glory to be with his Father. Even though the window panes of my memory have aged, I still remember him exactly the same way I did all those years ago. While the hat he wore accented his signature style, the man underneath was, is and will forever be…..priceless!!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Images: Free Google Images

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Cursively Speaking….

 

       

 

The Daily Post recently shared an article called The Lost Art, where it discussed that many people have learned to disconnect from technology’s magnetic pull to reconnect and interact person-to-person. It’s a shame that something as natural as communicating with each other verbally, has fallen under the realm of ‘lost art’. Things have more or less reversed, with non-verbal interaction becoming the rule and not the exception. Text messaging,social media, emails, etc. have all contributed to the building of this wall that now exists between people who now rely mainly on these forms of communication.

Personally, I feel these forms of interaction encourage distance between people. For instance, if you are a person who does not use the internet or use it on a regular basis, than you will surely be lost in technology’s ever-thickening sauce, if you will. Have you ever paid attention to your interaction with people whom you haven’t seen in a while? You both agree to exchange contact information, but it’s no longer phone numbers that you swap. You now exchange email addresses, website links,etc. If you don’t communicate using these technologies, your phone number may be accepted. But did the person ever follow through and call you? I’m willing to bet, probably not.

Communicating face-to-face can definitely be considered a ‘lost art’, especially when one has to disconnect just to reconnect. Readers of this article by the Daily Post were asked to comment on what they felt could fall under the umbrella of ‘lost art’. In response, I shared what I consider to be a ‘ lost art’ that is very near and dear to me; one that took a great deal of my adolescent and adult life to master. My contribution to the conversation of  ‘lost art’ is cursive writing. I commented on my disappointment in finding that this form of writing has pretty much been done away with. Where I live, children are encouraged to print as their main form of writing. The teaching of cursive writing is almost non-existent. Someone else commented and added that cursive writing is mandatory in India and is still very prevalent. I only wish I could say the same for my little corner of the world. There are many reasons why cursive writing, in my opinion, should remain a critical form of writing. For instance, what will happen later in life, when a person has to sign important documents? If a person doesn’t know how to write in cursive, how will they sign their name? Surely printing one’s name will not be an acceptable form of writing in this instance, being that it is not considered a signature. There’s a reason why it’s called a signature. It’s authentic and identifies each individual; a person’s footprint more or less.

I received several replies to my comment. I further stated that cursive writing reflects an individual’s personality as each person’s style of writing is so different; one of the things that make cursive writing a beautiful form of art. I recall when I was in 7th and 8th grade, a classmate of mine had the most beautifully artistic handwriting style. She was left-handed and turned her paper almost upside down with her wrist crooked in the most awkward position. It was amazing that she could produce such artistry with that kind of hand position, but she did. Her handwriting was truly a beautiful thing to see.

Do you remember a time when you had to practice your handwriting on a daily basis? It was most likely one of your consistent homework assignments. I think this may have contributed to the phrase, “practice makes perfect”. There was special paper that had 2 solid parallel lines that ran across the page with a single dotted line that ran between those 2 lines as seen in the picture above. I was taught to allow my lower case letters to touch the dotted line and then come back down. Uppercase letters, you would have to take the letter up to the top solid line and then come back down; you used all 3 lines for these letters. I used to enjoy that so much. How about you?

Recently, there was an issue that I needed to dispute. I was asked to write a letter outlining the situation. Being somewhat bamboozled by the technology blitz myself, I asked, without even a second thought, for an email address that I could email the letter to. I was promptly informed that I needed to send a handwritten letter to this establishment. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised and more than happy to do so. I can’t remember when I’ve been asked to send a handwritten anything anywhere. When you think about it, anyone can compose a letter via text document and sign their name to it. The only personal touch in this case, would be the person’s signature. Handwriting  or cursive writing an entire document breathes life into the words, while allowing you to virtually feel the individual’s personality. You can sometimes tell if a person was angry when they wrote something. The strokes will be very sharp and jagged and the writing seems to scream off the pages at you. If the writing is very neat and legible, you might conclude that the person took care when they composed the correspondence. If the handwriting is fancy and artistic, it may be concluded that the person is creative and expressive and spent considerable time on their presentation in order to get their point across.

All I can say, is that cursive writing doesn’t have to be a ‘lost art’. And if you look hard enough, you will find that it’s alive and well; just waiting to be rediscovered. I enjoy writing in cursive and hope that those that decide on what the teaching curriculum will be, realize it’s value and importance. Cursively speaking… I have a feeling the same people that make these crucial decisions, use cursive writing themselves!

What do you think about this unfortunate loss of artistry?

 

Images: Free Google images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahh….The Sweet Smell of Lilacs

The infamous Rochester New York’s Lilac Festival’s inspiration dates back to 1898 when 2,000 people visited the park on one Sunday in May to observe the beautiful lilacs. The numbers grew to 25,000 over the next 10 years marking the first annual Lilac Festival. Over time, viewer numbers ballooned to 500,000 in attendance for the now 10 day event. The lilacs are showcased among more than 1,200 bushes with over 500 varieties. Truly a spectacular sight!

Rochester New York’s 2014 annual Lilac Festival will take place this year from May 9, 2014 – May 18, 2014. This prestigious event is unprecedented for many reasons. Of course the gorgeous variety of beautiful aromatic lilacs at their peak bloom; drawing people from miles around. People come in record numbers to bear witness to nature’s beauty at its finest. The magnificent lilacs adorn the rolling hills of Upstate Rochester New York’s Highland Park.

This year, this annual event has achieved another milestone making it an even grander attraction on the world’s map. Lilac Festival participants came together to set a Guinness World Record! That’s right! Rochester New York’s Lilac Festival is now officially the world record holder for the world’s largest human flower by Guinness World Records. More than 2,200 people (2,297 to be exact) expressed their love and showed their support for the City of Rochester and this wonderful annual festival! But wait, it gets better! All participants will be able to access a link that has a special code which will allow them to obtain their official Guinness World Record Certificate; a symbol of their participation in this ground-breaking, history-making event! Go Upstate New York!

The Lilac Festival is an event that has something for everyone! There are horse and carriage rides and various arts & craft exhibits. There’s a craft beer garden and wine & chocolate tasting events, music concerts and more. This a family-friendly event, so everyone should be able to find something they like at this festival. I will admit that I haven’t attended this festival in a few years, but hey….there’s still time. The festival runs through this Sunday May 18th! So, if you’re in the neighborhood and looking for something fun to do, this may be a great option! So, check it out! A visit may be well worth your time!

 

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