Be Kind to Your Left-Handed Friend

By Gould, John | The Christian Science Monitor, July 26, 1991 | Go to article overview

Be Kind to Your Left-Handed Friend


Gould, John, The Christian Science Monitor


IT'S possible I'm a corrected lefty. When I started school there persisted a presumption that port-side people were peculiar, and if an eager student reached for something with his left hand the teacher would rap his knuckles. This was probably not then known as "remedial," but it worked. I got rapped. Today, I suppose, they'd left me be.

One of my all-time favorite Maine stories has to do with a boy who resisted all efforts to correct his sinister bias and grew up to be different. He was stubborn. The more they tried to turn him into a right-hander the more he fought. His schoolmaster gave up, and the family tried in vain.

Then an older brother took over, and because he was bigger and stronger and more agile, he convinced his little brother to be reasonable and conform. Actually, it was a compromise. After he had been pommeled enough, little Isaac agreed to learn to write right-handed if he might dip his quill pen as a lefty. This arrangement prevailed, and Isaac Hodsdon grew up and became adjutant general of the state of Maine. His signature can be seen on thousands of official documents, all neatly right-handed, but folks in the state house used to pause outside his office door and watch him shift hands to dip.

In our early married life we socialized with a compatible neighbor couple, Herb and Nell Walker, and we would drive out now and then for supper, and we liked to find "some place else." Everybody, now and then, likes to try some place else. (Years later we found there really was a restaurant at Greenville Junction with a sign, "Some Place Else." Sadly, a new owner changed that to "Sportsman's Cafe.")

One evening, we and the Walkers headed toward the beaches and decided to try "The Ocean House," a.k.a., some place else. Now, Herb Walker was a lefty. He'd bunged up his right elbow playing kick the can about the time he started school and there was no alternative. He threw left and batted left. He played a good golf game, but had sinister clubs. He bowled left. And he wrote an extreme left - his forearm held so he appeared to be writing upside down. We spent so much time with the Walkers that we didn't notice his difference, but that evening at The Ocean House an unusual happening drew our attention. …

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