May 25, 2010

I am a child of the 19th century. That’s the century before the last century. One of the supreme disciplines of the Catholic grammar school I attended in the Bronx was penmanship. Yes, penmanship! Twice a year, there was a Christian Brother who arrived at our school to inspect our penmanship books. The class with the best penmanship won a banner! I’ve always been proud of my penmanship, as my father was of his. (We attended the same schools. He graduated from St. Raymond’s Grammar School in 1918. I graduated in 1961. My niece graduated in 1978. We all had the same art teacher!) I’ve written all four of my books by hand. I was a speechwriter for over 25 years–for two New York governors and five chairman of Time Inc./Time Warner/AOL (OMYGOD) Time Warner–and wrote every single speech (thousands of them over the years) by hand. Many times I tried to make the transfer to a typewriter but couldn’t. My education and writing career had more in common with that of Charles Dickens (a court reporter/stenographer, don’t forget) and James Joyce (another veteran of parochial schools) than with today’s wired world. I feel like a stranger in a strange land in this terra incognita of Blogloggia. But, hey, here I am, fresh off the boat, an intellectual immigrant from time past who’s set foot on the land of the future, so forgive my ignorance/hesitation/confusion (the fate of all the freshly arrived). Goodbye to the 19th century. Hello to the 21st. I’m going to do my best to fit in. That’s a threat.


  1. Well, let’s hear it for all those knuckle-slapping nuns! Your penmanship is, indeed, um, distinctive (read: neurotic). But, it’s really the words beneath the quill that set you apart. By hand…or by laptop…who cares…just keep writing. However, as a fellow dinosaur (I still have an AOL email address!!), let me tell you…if you start “tweeting” me, we’re through!

  2. Somebody read my blog! Okay, I’ve known this Somebody for over forty years (even though we’re both only 39), and she’s a close, trusted friend, but still, nevertheless, holy moly, Somebody read my blog. Unfortunately, if I remember correctly the Fourth Secret revealed to the children at Fatima was the day after Somebody read my blog, the world would come to an end. Sorry about that.

  3. I cannot believe you have a blog!

    • I cannot believe you have a blog! Join the club!

  4. Peter as someone who attended St. Ray’s with you and your brother I recall suffering while scratching with my Esterbrook, by far my worst grade year after year further compounded by having a sister whose efforts perfectly matched the textbook’s example.

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