Learning one’s letters in Old Town San Diego.

In the one room Mason Street School in Old Town San Diego, younger and older children sat together before the teacher and learned their letters.
In the one room Mason Street School in Old Town San Diego, younger and older children sat together before the teacher and learned their letters.

A cool theme developed during my walk through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park yesterday. First I wandered into the 1868 San Diego Union Building and observed ladies in 19th century dress practicing calligraphy. A short time later, as my eyes scanned the walls of the one room 1865 Mason Street Schoolhouse, I noticed a sheet on the wall titled First Lessons in Penmanship.

Turns out it was a great day to relearn the alphabet!

A super nice gentleman in the old print shop provided all sorts of tidbits of information concerning printing, publishing and life in early San Diego. I learned the original Washington hand press that was used by the San Diego Union newspaper is now in the collection of the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. And that setting up the tiny type for a single page of the newspaper took a keen-eyed person about 12 hours!

I posted photos of the old print shop and editor’s office four years ago. I also wrote a little about the San Diego Union’s history. You can revisit that blog post by clicking here.

You can see much more inside the old Mason Street School building and learn more about San Diego’s first school teacher, Mary Chase Walker, by clicking here!

Additional information that I learned yesterday is in my photo captions!

A sheet on the schoolhouse wall contains First Lessons in Penmanship. THE ALPHABET.
A sheet on the schoolhouse wall contains First Lessons in Penmanship. THE ALPHABET.
I'm given a small tour of the print shop inside the historic San Diego Union Building.
I’m given a small tour of the print shop inside the historic San Diego Union Building.
Like wet laundry, hundreds of newspaper sheets would be strung up all around the print shop so that the freshly impressed ink would dry!
Like wet laundry, hundreds of newspaper sheets would be strung up all around the print shop so that the freshly impressed ink would dry!
A demonstration of assembled type and the finished impression.
A demonstration of assembled type and a finished impression.
Part of a large plate in the Washington hand press. Today school students often visit the historic print shop to learn about publishing long before the digital age.
Part of a large plate in the massive Washington hand press. Today school students often visit the historic print shop to learn about publishing long before the digital age.
Those students can rearrange these letters to spell words like SUPER.
Those students can rearrange these letters to spell words like SUPER.
To proof newspaper sheets as type was assembled, this huge heavy roll would be used to make a quick impression.
To proof newspaper sheets as type was assembled, this huge heavy roll would be used to make a quick impression.
In the entrance of the San Diego Union Building, ladies sat at a desk practicing their penmanship.
In the entrance of the San Diego Union Building, ladies sat at a desk practicing their penmanship.
A sample of elegant Copperplate Calligraphy.
A sample of elegant Copperplate Calligraphy.
This beautifully penned text is from Lewis Carroll's humorous Lobster Quadrille in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
This beautifully penned text is from Lewis Carroll’s humorous Lobster Quadrille in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Showing how to write fancy letters with a quill and inkwell!
Showing how to write fancy letters with an old-fashioned pen and inkwell.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Do you love to read?

You can find small, thought-provoking works of fiction at my website Short Stories by Richard.

A small story about wonder.

This morning I posted a new story on my website Short Stories by Richard.

Every Butterfly is New is a bit like these small walks we go on.

It’s about discovering small and large things.

It’s about looking at ourselves.

Read it here.

A surprising encounter with Santa Claus.

Last year I published an original short story called An Encounter With Santa Claus. This isn’t the jolly Santa Claus we usually see.

The story has a touching ending.

If you are curious and would like to read a short work of fiction that concerns human compassion, click here.

Merry Christmas!

A grateful writer’s Thank You.

I must be dreaming. This can’t be possible!

I have a website called Short Stories by Richard, where I publish my small works of fiction.

Like most bloggers I monitor my stats on a daily basis.

In the past year increasing numbers of students in at least three countries–Denmark, Sweden and the United States–have read short stories that flowed from my fingertips. Readers have arrived in spurts from a variety of curriculum and school websites, including regional sites, Google Classroom and Instructure.com.

Hundreds of students have been reading One Thousand Likes. In the past week, out of the blue, students have begun to read The Firefly.

I really don’t know what to say, except Hello to All Readers and Thank You!

I’ve mentioned in the past that I intend to spend more time writing, and that is now what I firmly resolve to do. If my blogging begins to lag, it’s because I’m sitting somewhere outside in the warm San Diego sunshine, my pen and notepad on my lap and my eyes lost in a dream.

Or is this a dream?

Richard

A story about Christmas, wisdom and old age.

I’ve published a new Christmas story. It’s about our busy lives and the passage of time.

It’s titled A Wise Man.

Please forgive me if I make changes to this tiny work of fiction as I reread it in the days, weeks and months to come. A writer’s thoughts and feelings can evolve over time.

To read the story, click here.

A small bird, and humor’s saving grace.

This morning I published another short story. This one is titled The Station Sparrow.

The humorous little tale was inspired by my own life experience.

I often see birds inside the enormous passenger waiting room of Santa Fe Depot, the train station in downtown San Diego. Feathered infiltrators come through the wide open doors and walk about the floor pecking at crumbs.

That got me to thinking. And imagining. And laughing.

The Station Sparrow is mostly about life, and humor’s saving grace. Click the link to read it.

I hope it makes you laugh, too.

Discovering new beauty around every corner.

Extraordinary beauty at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.
Extraordinary beauty at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

I believe the world is fundamentally beautiful. Beauty permeates everything. From atoms to galaxies–and everything in between.

Beauty awaits open eyes wherever we happen to walk. Perhaps you’ve noticed this is an important theme of Cool San Diego Sights.

Yesterday I finished writing a short story that is very dark. It concerns ugliness that arises from human vanity. So now I find myself in a difficult situation.

I’d rather not have a depressing story welcome readers to my website Short Stories by Richard. I want to outshine the darkness with light.

A bright, magical story is now taking form under my pen. But finding the right words to approximate eternal truths can be a puzzle. I’m stuck for the moment, wrestling.

All living things require watering. I know that with fresh eyes and a little patience the story will grow and mature.

Until these two new short stories appear, you might enjoy reading my published works of fiction here.

Wind-sculpted rare Torrey pines at Cabrillo National Monument.
Endangered, wind-sculpted Torrey pines at Cabrillo National Monument.
Radiant beauty along a Little Italy sidewalk.
Radiant beauty along a Little Italy sidewalk.
A beautiful fountain in a small Bankers Hill garden. A sculpted boy with watering can.
A beautiful fountain by a sidewalk in Bankers Hill. A sculpted boy with watering can.
Painted sunflowers grow upon a transformer box in Coronado.
Painted sunflowers grow upon a transformer box in Coronado.
Natural beauty discovered in busy downtown San Diego.
Natural beauty discovered in busy downtown San Diego.
More beauty at the Japanese Friendship Garden, a welcoming retreat from life's often stressful complications.
More beauty at the Japanese Friendship Garden, a welcoming retreat from life’s often stressful walk. I think I might go there today with my small notebook and pen.
Moving forward down life's path through wild natural beauty atop Mount Laguna.
Moving forward down life’s path, through wild natural beauty atop Mount Laguna.