Friday, April 27, 2012
He signed his name with an "X"
He signed his name with an "X".
This was my great, great, great grandfather, and I was reading a stack of affadavits years ago, statements submitted to the government to prove that he was injured while in active service during the Civil War. With these papers, he was fighting for his pension.
There were statements about his life before the war, of the years during his service and also about his quality of life once his service was complete. A variety of people had submitted their written voice to his cause, some scribed by legal counsel, others by those who issued the statements themselves. All were signed and dated at the bottom.
On the signature line at the bottom of my great, great, great grandfather's statements sat a solitary "X".
Reading these papers years ago before I became a wife and mother, I poured over the story that told of my forefather--a cobbler, a husband, a parent and a soldier. This person and the life that he led all came down to a simple "X" on the signature line at the bottom of each page.
There were so many things that this person could do, but he could not write. That "X" on the signature line, representative of the name, but not representative of the person.
I thought of that "X" last week when my husband and I were in our kitchen.
"I wonder what he's thinking when he writes like that," my husband said to me, referring to our ten-year-old's signature which I proudly displayed on our refrigerator. Some letters were huge. Some were not. Some letters were capitalized. Some were not.
That signature, simlar to that "X" of our long-ago relative, looked like the work of a preschooler.
"I think it is a means to an end," I answered him. As it is for a lot of kids with autism, the fine motor control it takes to effectively put pen or pencil to paper is a monumental task.
Some look at the letters our son produces and automatically assume that he isn't capable of much thinking. I've even watched people working with our son decrease their level of interaction with him due to the jeuvenile appearance of his writing. They've even broken into alphabet songs while they work.
Please, people. This is not an IQ test. It's only handwriting.
Perhpas my ancestor would have liked to have been able to sign his name. I don't know. I'm pretty sure that our son would prefer to use an "X". Either way, for some people, writing is not indicative of who they are. It's just not their thing.
This entry was written in response to the letter prompt "X" in the blogging A to Z Challenge April 2012.
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