Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Ronni Bennett

It seems to me that in addition to the circumstance you have here of the gift of stationery, there is at least one other circumstance when a hand-written letter is an absolute requirement: a condolence letter. Others might be congratulations on a wedding one could not attend and the birth of a baby. I suppose I mean the great transition moments of life.

Or am I being old-fashioned about that?

What I've noticed on the occasions of actually writing with a pen and paper in recent years is that my handwriting has gone to hell. Those motor skills are gone.

I don't think schools pay much attention to this anymore, but when I was a kid, we spend hours through several grades practicing cursive writing - pages and pages of loops, above the line, below the line - getting it just right. And beautiful handwriting was a mark of a well-educated person, a concept that I don't think applies anymore what with computers, text-messaging and Blackberries.

What I appreciate about the keyboard is the lightning speed of transfering thought to print, and how frequently I find myself saying, "I didn't know I believed that" when I read it back.

Too often, before computers, thoughts drifted off - gone forever - before my hand could catch up with my mind.


It's amazing. My handwriting has always been completely illegible but lately it's so bad that I cannot read what I've written myself half the time. However, if I really want someone to be able to read what I'm writing I type.

I love the feel of pen and paper though. I send cards a lot. They are excellent because a) people don't have to struggle reading my handwriting for too long, and b) they are small enough so that I don't have to write for a long time. It does feel like it takes forever to write with a pen on paper these days.

And of course, when I grade papers I write lengthy comments in order to relate to the students.Poor souls. They often come to me and ask with confused wrinkles on their brow, "But Dr. Jacobson, what does *this* say?"


Your post made me wistful for "the old days." What a thrill it was to write and get a handwritten letter. I used to be crazed about finding just the right paper with the right cotton content and weave and I always wrote with one of my beautiful fountain pens that I'd fill with emerald green ink (my trademark). I've been thinking about restoring my pens lately. I look at them in their wooden box, now clogged and abandoned, and I remember the patience we had when letters were the only way to go and we were content to wait days or weeks for any kind of response. Now I get frustrated if I don't get a reply to an email within 10 minutes! I love computers and email (and I *have* sent condolence emails!) but oh, for the lost art of letter writing!

Richard Lawrence Cohen

And love letters! Can love emails or love text messages really take their place? Much of the joy of it was the waiting. And the fact that you could save them in a wrapped bundle forever.


Yes - love letters are scrumptious. I have definitely kept some of those!

However, I do love the instant-ness of e-mail and I think that love is fabulous, energizing and exciting through cyberspace.

Ah - nostalgia, nostalgia. There is something magical and full of longing or "duende" (I just love that word!) - about waiting ... patience.


It is SO TRUE that handwriting goes all to hell from disuse! If I didn't keep a journal (though I do that a lot less now that I gottablog), I'd be completely dysgraphic!

And love letters! Love e-mails are unthinkable. You can be so in love with someone's handwriting! And then there's the joy of stamps. Some of the beauties the P.O. puts out (it's the one thing they do well) are really wasted on electric bills.

Remember the "Griffin and Sabine" gift books that came out a few years ago, that were made up of an imaginary exchange of letters and post cards that were actually tipped into the book? I remember Marshall McLuhan saying something like you knew that a technology was obsolete when it became a subject for elaborate rituals of nostalgia . . . Even so, Ronni and Richard are right (what alliteration!) -- there are still occasions when only a handwritten letter can say it.


Yes, duende is a great word. And in Portuguese, saudade, which also means "longing," but with as many complex overtones as an old wine.


... but, Amba, I still adore the energy of love over the airwaves ...

... now I really must get to packing and chores so that Tom and cats will thrive without me ... so hard to stop reading all you wonderful people!! OY!


Did you know that April is National Card and Letter Writing Month? Since when did we we need to confine such a basic necessity to a single month?!!

Mick Davies

I have kept a handwritten journal for over twenty years, while in boot camp I wrote regularly to my then fiancé, and as a child the handwritten postcards (there was no other kind then) that my Nana received from her lifelong friends were a fascination. Only recently have I attempted to share my own private practice and revive it among my close friends whom all, save one, live on the other side of the country. A set of picture postcards of personal photographs on archival paper sent to all as holiday gifts will hopefully be the means for them to begin a return to the carefully considered handwritten word. Even as I was preparing to send the postcard set out for the holidays one dear friend e-mailed me to say she missed old-fashioned letter writing and wished to continue to stay in touch "by hand".

As children grow up with computers in schools, at home, in libraries, and elsewhere it is up to those of use who remember a time before word processors and e-mail to hand down a tradition that is being taken for granted and silently dying. The last generations to be born before the personal computer were not prepared to face the possible demise of handwritten correspondence because such a possibility is only now being recognized; perhaps too late but hopefully not. The handwritten word is not something any society can afford to lose. It is the lowest common denominator for any civilization. Even as we surrounded ourselves with technology it is our ability to communicate with the written word, not typed or processed, but written that insures our ability to do more than simply survive. When all else has faded, decayed, or been destroyed it will be civilization's ability to communicate with the written word that will insure its ability to thrive.

It is nothing short of magic that with only ink, paper, and able mind we can create something out of nothing; and in our ability to create we glimpse the power of our Gods in ourselves. For now, we need only instill in our young charges a desire to see their thoughts, their ideas, flow as words from their impressionable minds onto paper using only their hands, a pen, and an inkwell.

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