“Dear Bill, When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too. I wish you great happiness here. I never fe…

“Dear Bill,

When I walked into this office just now I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that, too.

I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.

There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.

You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.

Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.

Good luck—


“George” was apparently well known for handwriting notes and memos.

Not only is this an example of courtesy and humility, it is so very personal.

It is also an example of an act that no one can imagine our current president performing.

The above was written in a sort of freestyle script.

There has been some conversation of late about the inability of young people to read “long hand” script.  It is no longer taught in schools, and future archaeologists may have to take courses in deciphering hand writing as well as archaic languages. 

At one time penmanship was taught as a regular course in public schools.  I was taught penmanship as late as the 1950s.  It was important at one time.  At the height of the British Empire young men and women being sent off to the ends of the far-flung empire were taught penmanship and that standard stuffy British speech termed “received pronunciation”.  In Britain the accent and dialect of someone fifty miles away may be unintelligible.  It was critical to empire that written and oral communication be clear.

From grade school, to high school, to college and then medical school my own handwriting went from neat - if not exactly like the sixth grade teacher’s - to sloppy to unintelligible (even to me) to printing, to a sort of hybrid printing/script that was generally decipherable.  My parents who were high school graduates with a couple of years of business school never went through that.  Their handwriting stayed the same.  Mother’s was definitely feminine and Dad’s masculine, but both were the same as when they were taking penmanship.

My daughters both learned script, but the younger one, an artist, began printing in a beautiful style when she was young and still writes everything that way.  I love getting cards from her.  Not only are they pretty, but the sentiment is so much better than Hallmark.

Somehow, a love letter typed on a computer just doesn’t seem right.  It’s a step up from a telegram.

I love you (stop)

Communication is a lot more than words. President Bush's penmanship would not have won any awards, but it communicated warmth and personal style.

President Trump’s message to an incoming president would not be written.  It might be a Tweet that said,

“I was the best president ever.  I did a tremendous job. Voter fraud. You don’t belong here. So sad. You’ll be hearing from my lawyer.”

Views: 121

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on December 2, 2018 at 6:27am

When presidents were decent people.

Comment by koshersalaami on December 2, 2018 at 8:11am

My script still looks like a kid’s. A lot of Presidents have been decent people. Ford through Obama were decent, whether or not they were good Presidents. This guy is the exception. 

By the way, that Tweet really has Trump’s syntax. 

Comment by Rosigami on December 2, 2018 at 9:04am

I love how you combined handwriting with content. To my mind, there is definitely a correlation between the two. And then there are signatures! Our "president's" is as pugilistic and unintelligible as everything else that comes out of him.
I was taught penmanship during the 60s. It was boring and repetitive, just as it needed to be. 10,000 hours of practice and all that, but it resulted in a readable hand. Like your daughter, Rod, I re-worked my hand much later. It is a hybrid of script and print that I very much enjoy using- not that I get a lot of opportunities any more. 

The history of penmanship education would suggest that no one method has any lasting effect. 

Reading Bush's letter to Clinton, I had the same thought- wondering if the current would even bother to write one or simply send a grudging self-congratulatory public tweet. Yours was perfect! 

Comment by Tom Cordle on December 2, 2018 at 10:04am

I often list George H W Bush among the good and decent Presidents, sort of a latter-day Gerald Ford, though I suspect history is not likely to rate either of them in the top half of that very select club. I certainly can't say his son was a good President; and as for Junior's rank, let's just say he should be very glad to have Delirium Don remove any doubt about who is the worst of all Presidents.

I, too, have a hybrid script and print handwriting, a style I adopted from my tenth-grade English teacher, who I was madly in love with at the time. A couple of years ago, we got together for a three-hour lunch, and it was fascinating to relate on a person to person basis, rather than as student and teacher.

Comment by The Songbird on December 2, 2018 at 1:38pm

What a great thead, despite my being of the same mind as the rest of you here; it doesn't matter, it's only an opinion.  But there ARE thing that are 'read' into a hand, and I like that study - Graphology?, I think.  No matter, it's as indelible as the person, adds TO them, if you know them, and much 'between lines' can be read despite the actual script - especially when you get a rank of them!!  (Sorry - barb intended.) 

Comment by Theodora L'Engle Knight on December 2, 2018 at 5:21pm

oh wow, i'm sure everyone here knows this but the obama people prepared packets of information to deliver to the new crowd. they never came there to meet them or to get the priceless stuff. from the very beginning, well, the swearing in was disgusting. and then this thing. i

thank you so much for sharing that letter. we need to see every example of decency now. we need the antidote to

Evil Spawn.

Comment by Theodora L'Engle Knight on December 2, 2018 at 5:23pm

tom, that is so cool about reuniting with your teacher. i won't get in to it but i tried to reconnect with my 8th grade english teacher. didn'[t work.

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 2, 2018 at 7:23pm

Songbird, graphology it is.  Here are some comments about the Trump's handwriting.


"President Trump’s block printing indicates that he doesn’t want anyone to get inside and know him. That’s why block printing is used in many ransom notes".  It goes on to say that his textual writing shows an independent, intuitive mind (which explains why he trusts his "gut".

Melania's handwriting is very curly with initial hooks and ending hooks.  These indicate that she likes to own and hold on to things.  Her handwriting has shown more about her than any interview has.

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 2, 2018 at 7:37pm

All that I remember about my 8th grade English teacher is that she used to walk around and sit on the front of her desk and talk about gerunds or whatever. Her nose flared when she talked and her legs dangling off the front of the desk made learning anything about English impossible for any boy in the midst of puberty.
Fortunately my 7th and high school teachers were not distracting.

Comment by The Songbird on December 2, 2018 at 8:33pm

Well now, there are a LOT of ways to raise healthy boys, now aren't there?!!  I had nuns, so - we could also creatively misspell that!  I remember those lines, with broken lines in between. Our letters were supposed to fit, and mine never did, but my writing has always been legible, unless - hurried, of course.  But MAN! did I get that pointer cracked across my hands for 'missing the lines.'  I'm sure it didn't help. 

I've never seen anything but the signature of that person, but it looks to me like a prediction of an imminent coronary.  Not teaching cursive is astounding -- but, they also eliminate clocks, if the kiddos can't read them.  Lower your standards!!!  


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