Where Did the Esq Go & ROW80


During my ‘spring cleaning’

I know, I know ‘tis mid winter but hey,

rules are for breaking sometimes,during this flurry of sorting out clutter and dirt I stopped to read some of the hundreds of letters I have inherited from parents and grandparents. They come, many of them, still  with envelopes.

Writing addresses has changed mightily since I was young. The old envelopes from the beginning of the 1900s were similar to envelopes I wrote as a child, 40 years later. We were taught the ‘correct’ way at school.

Gentlemen were referred to as Esq, short for Esquire. Their sons were referred to as Master. Every line contained a comma at the end except for the last which finished with a full stop.The address slanted to the right. Woe betide us children if we got it wrong when tested. My parents were also taught this way and their parents.

Suddenly it ceased to be.

Esq vanished.

Addresses no longer slanted to the right but were justified to the left. Punctuation in the address died away Mrs, Miss and Mr no longer had a full stop after them.


I was so proud of learning all that useless nonsense – my envelopes were beautiful – well I thought so anyway:) and I gained gold stars for them!

When? Why?

Well I’m not altogether sure, it didn’t happened over night. Sometime in the 70s and 80s it began to decline. Formality eroded, people dropped titles all around eg employers/ employees; introductions everywhere became informal to the degree one could have a Christmas card list with no surnames.

Offices became temples to functionality and minimalistic clean smooth lines and it seems envelopes!  I doubt much printers ink was saved in the process but when the powerful, the moneyed, decide on breaking the rules they  become broken especially if the majority like the idea of  the informality.

Esq is of course still in use in rarified situations, where old fashioned formality still reign supreme. Beset with the older rules of application.  But out here in the real world I could sit with those old envelopes and spare a nostalgic nod to my childhood lessons.

Ah well! life moves on and I’m not a great fan of full stops anyway, as my friend from forever/editor will confirm!:)


ROW 80 This Week

Well it has been an amazingly busy week, not with WIP unfortunately but socially. I have been to two book groups, held a living history group and a writing group.

WIP: nil. (next week is a writing week so nose down come Monday:)

Blogs: yes am back – wobbly but managed. Sorted out the problem with photos being blocked – Some security software – exasperating. However, I reported on spring cleaning the wild garden and a personal review on two books I really enjoyed. I put up a writers quote and three things that made me smile. So for my first week back blogging, not too bad:)

Social Network: was very much improved this week although not perfect – could do better!!

Read: The Hollow City a follow up to Miss Peregrines Home for peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – even better than the first. Also The Edge of the World by  Michael Pye  also Die and Stay Dead by Nicholas Kaufmann again better than the first.

I hope everyone had a good week and good luck for the next:)

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