My dad is 88 today and I still love that penmanship that he learned in Cuban schools

We celebrate today my father’s 88th birthday.   He was born in 1926 in Sagua La Grande, Las Villas.

We are happy to report that he’s in good health and will enjoy another birthday along with my mom and quite a few phone calls from family and friends.

There are many things to admire about my father, from his days as a young banker in Cuba to the way that he led our family through those early days of “el exilio”.

Like some of your fathers, he worked 2 jobs to make ends meet.

He never looked back or whined about his situation.  His attitude was always positive.

As he used to say:

“Los pobres son lo que estan en las carceles de Castro.  Yo vivo en la libertad.  De que me voy a quejar?”

What more can you say?   That’s why we love our father!   Always a great attitude!

As a kid, I admired his penmanship most of all .   I remember looking at his signature or his personal notes and being so impressed with his style and class.

Like many of his generation, he learned to write in schools or the Jesuits of Sagua La Grande for him and my two uncles.

All of the men in the Canto family had this incredible penmanship.  It projected class and elegance!  It was a part of their personality.  It was passed down to my brother and I.

Today, my good friend Barry Casselman reminded us of the lost art of “penmanship”:

“The art and practice of penmanship used to be an important skill in American life, and whether or not you were good at it,  writing in cursive longhand was something almost everyone had to do to communicate until the commercial typewriter was invented in 1868.

Today, longhand or cursive writing by most Americans is limited to signing a check, signing a credit card slip, or writing a few words on an otherwise printed document.

Letter writing survives technically, but most communications today are by e-mails or text messages. Pen and ink, or even pen and pencil, are almost extinct.”

Yes it is except for my father’s penmanship.  I’m still impressed every time I see it.  I am reminded of the beauty of penmanship and why we shouldn’t lose it.

Happy birthday “papi”!    Love the way you write!