I called my mom the other day and asked her why they allowed me to continue be a left-handed writer. Her response, “Because that was what you are.” In my family, it was only myself and my Aunt Norma who were the left-handed odd ones out. If memory serves I believe I was always allowed to sit at the corner of the table to avoid elbow issues.
I have been told many times over the years that if your teacher noticed you were left-handed they would insist on changing you to right-handed. I was also told this happened continuously even into the 1950s. Last week we had a gentleman from Olivia researching the grand marshals of the Corn Capital Days in the Research Library. When I glanced over, he was writing with his left-hand. I smiled and commented, “There are three left-handed people in the research library today.” Dick Roper, my co-worker is also left-handed. About two weeks ago I noticed the Renville County Historical Society’s board secretary, Marcia Dworshak was also left-handed. What I found unusual about these sightings was the three left-handers were all over 65 years old. When I asked if their teachers or parents ever tried to change their hand-writing habits only one said yes but after school he went back to using his left hand.
When I walk into a room I am always curious as to how many other left-handers are nearby. I am very proud left-handed person and tend to notice others. It surprised me that 8 of the 15-people attending a Westbrook Library Book Club meeting a few years ago were left-handed. (added note 5 of the attendees as the last Renville County Historical Society’s April board meeting were left-handed.)
I asked a few people what they thought was hardest about being left-handed and the top three answers were trying to arrange where you sit when you eat with a group of right-handed people, writing with pencils is messy and a spiral of a notebook makes it difficult to write.
“Can I borrow your scissors?” 5 out of 6 times when I asked this question at various locations the scissors were molded for a right-handed person. I can’t use right-handed scissors with my right-hand but have taught myself to use my left-hand. This goes with manual can openers, curling irons and computer keyboards. To avoid the spiral notebook issue I use a legal pad. Left-handers only make up about 10 percent of the world’s population which doesn’t make it surprising that most gadgets are made to be right-hand operated.
We have had eight left-handed Presidents, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. Actors Angelina Jolie, Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman, Robert De Niro, Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts and Oprah Winfrey are also all left-handed. Legendary lefty athletes include baseball legend Babe Ruth and basketball star Larry Bird. I’m proud to be in the company of left-handers Wolfgang Mozart, H.G. Wells, Mark Twain, Bill Gates, Kurt Cobain and Albert Einstein.
I think we should start a left-handed club! If interested stop on by the Renville County Historical Society in Morton, Minnesota. The Keurig is always on! The Museum is open September – May: Monday – Friday 10 AM – 4 PM CLOSED MEMORIAL DAY and June-August: Monday – Saturday 10 AM – 4 PM extended hours on 4th of July. Call 507.697.6147 to make an appoint outside our posted hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit our website www.renvillecountyhistory.com and be sure to LIKE us on Facebook @RCHSMuseum, FOLLOW us on Twitter @RenvilleCoMNHis
Originally published in the Redwood Gazette on Thursday, April 13, 2017.
Note from author: I keep seeking out left-handed people. Sitting in a presentation at the Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museum‘s Spring Conference out of the 50 people in the room only 4 of use were left-handed. If you are left-handed drop me an email and share your left-handed stories director@renvillecountyhistory,com my curiosity on left-handedness continues!