Education · Handwriting

The Missing Amenity


Over the holidays we had occasion to spend a couple of nights in a hotel, something we hadn’t done for awhile.

Of course we were not at all surprised to find the huge TV, the little ihome clock radio, the microwave, the refrigerator, the coffee maker, the iron , the ironing board, the hair dryer, the illuminated magnifying mirror (I could have done without that), and various lotions, gels, soap, and shampoo. And a note left on the vanity informed us that the management would be happy to supply a toothbrush, or comb if we had forgotten to pack those items. The safe in the closet, I’ll admit, was a bit of a surprise.

I wondered if there might still be a Gideon Bible hidden somewhere. I opened the drawer of the night stand and sure enough! There it was. Since it was almost Christmas, I read the Christmas story as told by Matthew. That was nice.

However even with this superfluity of amenities, there was something missing—NO STATIONERY! And we know why, don’t we? Because nobody writes handwritten notes or letters any more.

 Or do they?

waldorf-stationeryI decided to ask Google about hotel stationery. (Google knows everything.) It seems that while many hotels have stopped offering it, some— mostly high end— hotels still do. In fact there is a luxury hotel in California where complimentary stationery is embossed with the guest’s name! Actually, I think that’s a bit much.

I realize that just because the hotel offers stationery does’t mean that guests use it. Nevertheless, the fact that high end hotels still provide it seems to support a notion I have had for awhile.  That is, that the handwritten note is becoming a status marker. High end parents who want their children to appear refined and well educated may see to it that their children write thank you notes by hand. They may even insist that the kids learn to write a cursive hand, even if they have to hire a tutor. Privileged children then may learn a skill that used to be taught to all children, thus increasing the social divide. This would not be progress. mlk

7 thoughts on “The Missing Amenity

  1. Very interesting. Many of the colleges we visited have their tour guides send hand written notes to the kids on their tour. Let me say that many of these notes were terribly written and most not in cursive. But we appreciated the effort. It seemed they were saying if you are college educated, you do this. The colleges might want to take a bit more time making sure their tour guides have a legible hand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve got to wonder who’s in charge of the tour guide program. Old fogeys who don’t realize that young people can no longer write a legible hand? Or young uns who figure it doesn’t matter, in which case why not just send a text?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Given my terrible handwriting, I rarely write handwritten letters. The two exceptions, without fail, are thank you notes for gifts I’ve received and thank you notes to those that talked to me when I went for job interviews.

    Worse than not writing thank you notes by hand is the recent trend for people not to write thank you notes at all! I also have seen an increase in the number of people who don’t feel it’s necessary to RSVP to invitations that request that. Common courtesy seems to becoming less common.


    1. Paul, you are so right! How on earth to account for this? I just do not get it. Otherwise seemingly civilized intelligent people don’t perform common acts of courtesy. Very strange. And I must say hurtful.


  3. Recently I was talking with a friend about a mutual acquaintance whose husband had died. I said I would miss the funeral but had sent a note. The response was “Oh, you are known for your condolence notes.” Really? I had to stop and think what in the world would make my notes special? I write them in cursive, and I try to think of something comforting and personal to say. Actually, the only special thing about them is that I “write” them. Of the four children it has been my pleasure to “train”, I have two that also write condolence notes. The percentage doesn’t bode well for the future.


  4. Thank you, dear Mary. Progress isn’t our most important product. I’m so glad you got away to do this important research and if, in my travels, I find stationery, I will send you a note.

    Wishing you and Herb more adventures.

    I’ll tell my grand children how to be elite by writing a note!


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