I recently received an email from a company seeking my business. The message contained so many symbols, it appeared more a drawing upon a cave dwelling wall than modern day communication. Interpreting the symbols’ intended conveyance wasn’t difficult, as the little graphics were easily recognizable, and were this a correspondence between an adult and a child, I’d not wonder as to the suitability of rainbows or happy-face sunshines in the stead of actual words.
When my children were very young, I purchased stationery for them to write thank you notes. The phraseology of such a typical note, from greeting to salutation, was printed on the sheet. What the child did was fill in the blanks with pictures of their own drawing. The notes were adorable keepsakes to doting family from children too small to write but old enough to express gratitude.
Such hieroglyphics were once an educational tool for elementary-aged students. In each issue of Children’s Activities, a magazine published from 1934 through the Fifties, there appeared a full page, two-column story. At the top of the page, a legend was provided to acquaint the child with the characters (both people and animals). The drawings broke up a rather long bit of type and made the reading more fun for everyone.
Substituting symbols for words wasn’t just for kiddos. Back in the day, such picture play was enjoyed by the vintage homemaker, also. Promising Hot Toast Makes the Butter Fly, this toaster cover is one of my favorite finds. I’d purchased it with the original tag stapled to the cover and always wondered if it was a kit or not. For others as domestically curiosity, I found the answer while flipping through Household’s February 1955 issue!
When we ran out of appliances to cover, there was always a child’s apron to adorn.
What’s old is new again, and yesterday’s hieroglyphic is today’s emoticon. While my toaster wears the cutest cozy, I’ll stick to letting entire words do the talking…that is until I’m corresponding with a grandchild; then, will my rejoice and a be my umbrella.