Thursday, October 27, 2011

Penmanship and the Green Stick Fracture

My  fourth grade year in St. Gertrude’s Catholic School, Chicago, was memorable  to say the least. It was the year I won a city wide penmanship contest.

I removed the silver cap from my speckled, cobalt blue fountain pen and wrote the required two page story in my very best handwriting. I filled the pages with word swirls of perfect portion. The lines of each letter flawless, clear and fluid. I began each word with the pen poised on the page and didn’t lift the nib until the word was finished. The blue ink seamles, not a blot or break throughout the word. I loved writing with my silver capped,  speckled, cobalt fountain pen. It felt so comfortable, an extension of my hand. The words seemed to write themselves.

People who have been subjected to my handwriting may be shocked to learn this little titbit. My penmanship did not live up to this early perfection for very long. You see before I received my award for said contest I had a little accident.

The weather had turned wintery as it tends to do in Chicago.  St. Gertrude’s  winter policy required students to change their outdoor shoes/boots in the lower entrance area before proceeding up the steps to the classrooms. This was to avoid tracking wet and snow on the very highly polished floors. Have you ever noticed the love Nuns have for highly polished floors? Anyway, I changed my shoes and headed up the first flight of steps. Someone who hadn’t changed their shoes left a thin skin of ice on the top step for me to slip on. And slip on it I did, fallling down the full flight of steps. My right hand took the brunt of the fall. It hit every single step on the way down in an effort to protect my face.

 Half an hour later my mother and I were sitting in the doctor's examination room. X-rays were taken and I was diagnosed with a ‘Green Stick Fracture.’ I was in a cast for the next 6 weeks. The glory days of perfect penmanship were over!

What brought this long ago story of woe to mind. Husband, who was on a train trip returned home last night with a present. A beautiful ruby red fountain pen. I uncapped the pen and put the nib to paper. It felt perfect in my hand. The ink glided across the page with an ease that reminded me of my silver capped, speckled cobalt fountain pen. Sadly my penmanship never again reached the dizzy heights of perfection. The‘Green Stick Fracture’ did not heal properly.
We went back to the doctor 6 weeks later to have the cast removed. On examination the doctor informed my mother the wrist had not fused properly. He wanted to break it again and reset it. My mother looked at him as if he had two heads, she grabbed our coats, hustled me out of his office, loudly pronouncing him to be a quack! A reaction that was perfectly justifiable

That is another story.......this story is about the pen. 
I will leave it at that. J


Faith E. Hough said...

Awwwww! That is a heartbreaking story! I'm a handwriting nut, and I totally get that feeling of euphoria with pen in hand. Must make note to avoid overly-polished floors...(Hey, great excuse for me to write instead of clean my own floors, right? It could be dangerous!)

Manzanita said...

Oh Ann, how sad to have to give up such beautiful penmanship. I can only imagine how much you had to practice to reach that level of perfection. Writing is a lost art. I hope that injury is long healed. Some of my old injuries have come back to haunt me. A heart-warming story.

Mary said...

Loved the story Ann and the days of penmanship and proper writing.
Time to look out my fountain pen for my 'Bring back letter writing' campaign. Care to join me with that posh new pen?

Old Kitty said...

Oh Ann! Ouch!! Good grief! Huge congrats with your award though!!! And yay for your new pen from hubby! Enjoy!!!

Take care

Brigid said...

Such a lovely story, Ann, before the injury anyway.
I love that pen, I am going to add that to my Christmas wish list!!

Michael Offutt said...

Is the pen you are writing about the one featured in the banner illustration of your blog? If so...lovely.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Crumbs Ann - what a terrible thing to happen and as Old Kitty says - Ouch is the order of the day .. and then 'breaking again' .. I know it's logical - but it's not!! How do they do .. bash it with a heavy Bible as they did ganglions in South Africa?!

But wonderful surprise the red pen - looks beautiful .. my writing is awful, unless I type .. or write in click pencils! Each to our own I guess!

Enjoy writing this weekend .. cheers Hilary

walk2write said...

I do hope no authority figure said something awful to you like "Pride comes and then a fall!" I heard that one time as a little kid from someone I looked up to, and ever since then those words ring in my ears after some mishap or other:)

Wishing you many more wonderful stories and letters written with a ruby red pen in hand and a cobalt blue pen in mind.

Agnes said...

What a great gift, what a great story :-)

Ann said...

Hi Faith, my advice...stay away from convents and convent schools. The floors are deadly!

Hi Manzanita, I never got the wrist reset. It has been weak ever since...much to the delight of my children when they were being bold. :)

Hi Mary, I would love to join your letter writing campaign. Only need the details.

Hi Kitty, I really have to go back to the 'Dark Ages" of my life to find awards and achievements, unlike you. A big congrats to you again.

Hi Brigid, it is a fabulous pen. A must for the Christmas list I would say. It is a Lamy.

Hi Michael, the new pen is the red one in the photo at the beginning of the post. My blue cobalt pen was lost in our move back to Ireland.

Walk2Write, No, no-one said anything like that to me. They were actually upset by the whole incident. You see I was unable to partake in any further contests.

Hi Agnes, Thank you. It is funny the way things seemingly long forgotten pop into your head when you least expect it. Weird and funny!

Ann said...

Hi Hilary, My mother would not allow that charlatan of a doctor as she referred to him near my hand again. Much to my relief!!! I really have no idea how he planned to break it again. The red pen is just wonderful. While holding it in my hand I relive my glory long as I ignore the scrawl on the page! :)

Anonymous said...

My daughter had a green stick break in her arm. She was put to sleep so they could set it and then xrayed to check it was in the right position. It healed perfectly thank goodness.
Poor you. I love beautiful handwriting. Mine is such a mess. I prefer to print.

The Golden Eagle said...

I'm sorry to hear about your wrist--it sounds like that was very painful fall.

Danette said...

I love pens and go a little nuts when I can't find my favorite, the one that SHOULD BE in my purse at ALL TIMES! Multi-colored pens are the best. Funny how the mind works, how the new pen connects to a bad memory. I hope that old injury doesn't cause you pain!

Theresa Milstein said...

Oh no, not the greenstick fracture! I remember learning about that when I worked at GEICO.

If it's any consolation, my handwriting gets worse with each passing year. I blame it on typing all the time.

I also hope you have no lasting pain. A re-break? Yikes!

Talli Roland said...

I'm very envious of your handwriting prowess, past or not. Mine has always sucks since day 1. My primary teacher made me miss the bus so I could practise my q's. And since I lived a 30-min bus-ride from home, at the age of four, that was very traumatic.

Susannah said...

Beautifully written Ann, I was totally engrossed and could just imagine it all.

Al said...

Re-breaks sound terrible. But they are usually done under general anaesthetic
Only sadistic doctors do them any other way.
Alas I have no such excuse for my atrocious scrawl