I've been reading on Twitter that August 13th is International Left Handers Day so to celebrate here are my memories of learning to write as a lefthander in the 1950s.
At school we learnt to write with thick stubby pencils before transferring to thinner pencils at the end of Infants school. Halfway through the Juniors we were introduced to pen and ink.
In the lower Juniors we were taught to write "joined-up" by the simple expedient of copying out "The Lord's Prayer" every Monday morning into our handwriting exercise books. Moving onto pen and ink was highly anticipated: one of life's milestones.
The pen was a thin wooden stick with a metal holder on one end into which was inserted a metal nib. This was dipped into an inkwell located in the top right corner of the desk. We had to work out how to load the nib with sufficient ink to write without dripping ink over the desk and the exercise book. No mean feat when you're only about nine years old. Once that hurdle was overcome the next step was to learn how to write without splattering the page or making smudges.
As a left handed person it was almost impossible to write without smudging because the left-right orientation of English means that the left hander has no option but to drag their hand over the wet writing unless an alternative technique was evolved. Mine was to push forward into the paper although some left handers twist their hand round and write over the top of the line.
My early efforts at joined up writing in ink were fairly disastrous despite my best efforts but salvation was at hand. In the next class our enlightened teacher allowed us to bring from home a fountain pen if we had one. For Christmas I received an Osmiroid fountain pen with a dark blue marbled effect barrel. It also had a special nib designed for left-handers which made writing with ink a lot easier.
From Cabbage and Semolina: Memories of a 1950s Childhood.
And a few tweets as well!