Just Shelley

The Letter

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I received a rare letter from my Father today. He doesn’t write too many letters now because his hand writing has become increasingly bad over the years. What with the stroke and all the cancers and the radiation overdose I’m glad just to be getting a letter, much less one that’s legible.

Of course, my father’s hand writing never was good. It’s a version of printing I call the Powers Print — a combination of upper and lower case block-like print letters, lightly scrawled as if the writer is too impatient with the slowness of the ink and the inefficiency of the pen and paper. Hasty marks barely touching the page.

Reading my Dad’s letters requires intuition, imagination, and no little detective skill. I usually only attempt the process when I can get my roommate to help me with the deciphering.

“‘I went to the doctor ______.’ Does that look like a Tuesday or Thursday to you?”

“Looks like a Sunday.”

“Can’t be. You don’t go to the doctor on Sunday.”

“You’re right. It’s probably Thursday. I think that’s a ‘ur’ not a ‘ue’.”

“I think you’re right. ‘I went to the doctor Thursday. He said that I need to consider getting a _____’. I have no idea what this word is. Can you recognize it?”

“Hmmm. Rocker? Do you think it says ‘rocker’?”

“Why would a doctor recommend a rocker? Must be something else. ‘I went to the doctor Tuesday. He said I need to consider getting a ‘blank’. He’s concerned I’m going to’, does this look like ‘fall’ to you?”

“I’d say it was fall. If that’s fall, then the previous word could be ‘walker’. That would make sense.”

And on it goes, in an exercise that provides both news and entertainment until just before his usual signoff of ‘Love, Dad’, when he writes with unusual clarity:

“I bet you can’t read half this letter.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email