Sherie Posesorski's Blog

May 16, 2011

What started me wanting to write was the white and yellow ballpoint pen I earned for my penmanship.

It seemed as if I'd never earn a pen and would be stuck writing for the rest of my life with a big, fat, dull pencil. It didn't help my left-handed scrawl that most of the desks in my grade three class were right-handed ones. I had to squirm myself into a twisted, hunched position to be able to write. It didn't help either that it wasn't so easy to copy the teacher's cursive lettering style on the blackboard when all I could see were strokes of white chalk blurs. (I could, however, see, too, too well, the white and yellow pens, in the grasp of everybody else seated nearby me.)

All that squirming, all those desk thumps and especially all that squinting made my teacher realize that not only was my left-handedness the cause of my terrible cursive writing, but also my eyesight. She recommended that I get my eyes checked--which finally led to the ownership of the blessed pen, and the cursed black cat's eyeglasses.

So there I was, ready to write, pen in hand, glasses on nose, but what to write?

I offered to write the list of groceries my mother had to buy. My memory is good, she reminded me. I knew that. Along with remembering everything that happened to her, which was an awful lot, she remembered everything I did...good and bad. Still, I was a relentless nudge so she recited the grocery list quickly, too quickly for me to write downin the perfect penmanship that was the whole point of earning a pen for. I kept telling her to slow down, kept ripping out pieces of paper from the lined writing tablet until she grabbed the pen and tablet out of my hands, telling me this was a big waste of time, and of paper.

You want to write,she said. Why don't you write in the five year diary you got as a birthday gift? It's been sitting on your dresser collecting dust since your birthday.

My best friend loved writing in her one year diary; she loved it so much that one page was never enough speace for one day so her one year diary was really a couple of months diary.

I, though, struggled to fill up the few lines provided for each year. What was the point of writing down what I did, when I did the same thing every day? I went to school. I went to the variety store after school to buy a comic book, potato chips and a chocolate bar. I jumped yogi or double dutch with my friends. I watched TV. I read. I did my homework. I played dominoes with my brother. I slept. I got up and did the same thing the next day.

Who wanted to write that down for the next five years? And worse, who would ever want to read it? Not even me. Besides, diary writing seemed like talking to yourself. Why write if nobody else reads what you write?

When I saw postcards of Toronto when shopping with my mother, I asked if her we could go on a trip so I could write postcards back to all my friends. My mother said we weren't going on trips just so I could write postcards.

I was so excited when the teacher announcedd we had to write a book report on our favorite book. My favorite book wasn't one book; it was a series of books about the Moffat family by Eleanor Estes.

After I read my report in front of the class, I could hear whispering, then a chorus of yawning, and then someone said, loud enough for me and everyone else to hear, "Boy, I betcha that's longer than the books!" I was so embarassed I could hardly see the words even with my glasses and my pretty good cursive writing. I rushed through the rest, skipping sentences, missing words, just to get it over with.

There had to be some writing I could do that people would like to read!

On the afternoon TV show Commander Tom, he was always telling the audience to write him. Now that I had my own cartridge fountain pen and my own lined writing tablet, I did. (My mother had bought them to cheer me up after I sobbed out the saga of my book report fiasco). And a few weeks later, I got back an autographed picture of Commander Tom addressed to me.

There and then I decided to write every TV and movie star I liked, to tell them how much I liked them and what I liked about them, and what I liked about their TV show or movie, and to remember them, could they please send me an autographed photo?

I got the addresses from Photoplay and Silver Screen, the movie magazines my mom loved to read.

I wrote to Flipper and The Littlest Hobo, figuring if they were smart enough to have their shows, they must be smart enough to understand my letter when their trainers read their fan mail to them.

I couldn't stop staring at the picture I received back of Flipper standing on his tail on a dock.

I couldn't stop staring at the picture I received from The Littlest Hobo, that lonely, brave, wonderful german shepherd, standing, naturally, by the side of a railroad track.

There were lots of human movie and TV stars to write to too! Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke from Mary Poppins. Elizabeth Montgomery from Bewitched.

I sat so close to the TV set that my mom joked that it looked like I was getting reading to move inside. When the shows came on, I wrote detailed notes about what was good about the star and the story so my comments and compliments would prove how devotedly I watched the shows, and so I deserved a real autograph, and not a stamped on one!

I started to write the co-stars who probably got less fan letters. Plus, on some shows I liked them more anyway. I wrote Lurch and Cousin Itt on The Addams Family.

Soon I had enough photos to cover almost one bedroom wall. How good my letter had been was determined by the spit test. If the signature was personally signed by the star, the ink would blur when I carefully tapped my spit covered pinkie finger on the tip of the signature.

Even though the majority of the signatures were stamped on, I persisted, believing if I just improved my letter writing, I would eventually have more autographed star photos displayed in my bedroom than even the famous Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood.

And that's how I began to write.
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Published on May 16, 2011 10:17 • 97 views