November 09, 2007

Left and Right

When my Oma first emigrated to this country from Germany after World War II, she had a lot to learn and a lot to adjust to.

At one point, when she had mastered enough English that she was comfortable going out shopping, she noticed that the young woman ahead of her in line was signing a check with her left hand. My grandmother watched with growing compassion, thinking, "I wonder what happened to that girl?" Then, as she watch the young woman pack her groceries into bags, it slowly dawned on my Oma: there was nothing wrong with the young woman's right hand or arm. She was simply naturally left-handed. In Germany at that time, there was no such thing as a naturally left-handed person.

My Oma told me this story years later, as she watched me, her little left-handed granddaughter, sitting at her dining room table and writing a postcard to my parents. She was thinking that the world had really changed. And she was right.

(Thanks to the women of Sunday Scribblings
for their continuing inspiration.
And thanks to all the people who helped
make naturally occurring left-handedness possible.
As someone commented below,
the non-existence of left-handed people
was the result of active suppression.)


AMY S. said...

wow. great story. thank you for sharing it.

Becca said...

I have an uncle who was born left handed and "forced" into being a right hander. It was considered unlucky to be left handed in Mexico where he was born.

This was a great story :)

paisley said...

i cannot imagine that there were no naturally left handed people.. i am given th=o believing that they were forced to become right handed.. much like becca stated in her comment.....

tumblewords said...

Thanks for sharing this story - I do remember how left-handers were pushed to change...Nice post!

Patois said...

Unbelievable. Or, sadly, not. My grandfather was a lefty, forced into right-handedness as a child in the early 1900s.

khambagirl said...

Very nice post. Because of having broken my right arm, I am learning now how to be left-handed. Scissors are the worst, as they are made for right-handed people! Thanks for sharing.

webs said...

I have the same sort of story! My Oma was naturally lefthanded, and she was made to switch. All except her knitting... She was tickled that she could teach me to knit, when my righthanded mother couldn't!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I have aunts and uncles who were left handed and forced into being right handed. I'm left handed, glad I wasn't forced into right handedness