Trying to get my 9-year-old daughter to write thank you cards after Christmas had me feeling like was Professor Henry Higgins and Savannah Eliza Doolittle. Between the protests of “I’ll do it later” and “Do I haaaave to?” I realized I had a raw, crude human on my hands being who would probably prefer to sell flowers on the street than write the simple words “thank you” on a piece of paper.
“Did you remember to use periods?” and “Don’t forget to put on a stamp,” I ask from my perch at the kitchen counter where we had set up our “writing lab.”
Exhausted, I would abort the mission if I weren’t hell bent on instilling some manners and appreciation in Savannah. Still, I wonder if Emily Post had it right. Do people still write these things?
Well, I do. And I know George Bush does. His hand-written notes are legendary. Though I never thought I would share something with the former President, I realize that we’re probably alone. How many of my First Communion or graduation gifts go unacknowledged?
For business I send a lot of notes and cards, and will occasionally splurge on high quality ones at Kate Papier, which with its array of colors, designs and paper stock is like a crack den for writers. People, to my surprise, remember the gesture. “What a beautiful card” they’ll say when I later call.
After many stops and starts, Savannah finally finishishes. The handwriting looks like chicken scrawl and there are misspellings. But, allelugiah, they’re complete.
“You did it!” I shout, punctuated with a high five. Her response is something of a grunt.
I’ll wait before presenting to High Society.