Ever since I did my stint cleaning out boxes and files in the basement of The Upper Room, I’ve been wondering if handwriting will ever have a chance to come back into the workplace. (Perhaps in one of those technologies that we can’t yet imagine?)
In the editorial world that I entered in the 80s (before the personal computer) we often communicated with each other by writing a note (on paper … with a writing utensil!!). Of course, we also walked across the hall to talk together, called each other on our office phones, or (for more official communications) sent memos typed on typewriters (with carbon copies that were duly filed away in big metal filing cabinets).
But much of the communication was in the form of handwritten notes — attached to files, on scraps of old paper tucked into manila folders, treatises on yellow Post It notes. I knew the handwriting of all the editors and editorial assistants in all the magazines. And last winter in the basement I remembered each person as I recognized their handwriting.
I found plenty of evidence of my own work in those days: submissions to the magazines, worksheets tracking the quotes material in each issue, free-lance manuscripts edited in red or black pencil. (Or whatever writing utensil was at hand.)
I most enjoyed finding the notes from John Mogabgab. Seeing his tiny, neat script brought such warmth to my heart. My favorite find from John was a note on a draft of the new Weavings logo. “What do you think?” John wrote on a yellow Post It note.
As I reflect on these nearly 36 years at The Upper Room, I’m filled with deep gratitude for the opportunity to serve in this special organization. I’m grateful for the chance to work with so many editors, theologians, biblical scholars, teachers, editorial staff, writers, preachers, artists, and photographers — special folks who joined The Upper Room’s mission to help people grow in their relationship with God. I’m grateful for Weavings, Alive Now, devozine, and Pockets, and the ways that they shaped generations of children, youth, and adults of all stages.
I celebrate the legacy of the editorial saints whose handwriting I found in the basement of The Upper Room. I praise God for John and Mary Ruth and Rueben. I thank heaven for Janice and Charla, Judy and Willie. “Thank you,” I want say to Mary Lou, Tom, Rita, Kathleen, Bill, Melissa, George, Carol Ann, JoAnn, Jan, Lynn, Sandy, Marilyn, Mel, Nicole, Robin, Deen, Patty, and Eli.
Well done, all of you. Your work and your lives made a difference. Thanks be to God.