Friday, November 05, 2010

Cursive, cursive where have you gone?

She, Laura English, wrote this in, a little journal book, left by the bedside in a Bed & Breakfast where we stayed, while in Iowa. I was impressed by both the penmanship and the message.
Two things about this little journal caught my attention.
First, what a clever idea to leave it and have guests write in it, if they wanted. Different pages had different headings as suggestions for topics. Quite a few folks had taken the time to sit down and write down a memory or story.
This kind of thing might not appeal to a lot of people. Me? I'm nosey so I thoroughly enjoyed reading the thoughts and hearing the stories second hand. And, of course, I made some notes in my own journals of story ideas based on what I read.

The second thing that really caught my attention was some of the beautiful hand writing I found in that journal. Like my wall mounted dial up phone, in the basement, well done penmanship is becoming a thing of the past.

In the lawyers office, while Zeus and I were signing our wills, I heard him comment to the other attorney, "She has nice hand writing, doesn't she?" And, compared to his, yes I do.
Zeus has hand written journals and I've asked him to please, please type them out because no one is going to be able to take the time or have the patience to decipher them.

My hand writing looks a lot like my mother's which is a little scary. She didn't teach me to write and most of her edification's to me were done on a typewriter so I find it interesting that they look so similar.

I do remember that the Quaker teachers spent a lot of time and energy making sure that we learned how to make our letters, in script, in third grade. I transferred from public school to Friends school in the middle of third grade and had a lot of catching up and correcting of bad habits to do.

Both my sons have sloppy handwriting, as far as their mother is concerned. They look an awful lot like their father's handwriting, if you ask me.

I wonder what will happen to cursive script, in the future? With texting, computers and voice recognition objects will people even have to write anything? Will important papers be signed with a fingerprint scan or pupil scan?

Zeus says that in the Law School class, that he teaches, in winter, all the students sit in their seats with their lap top computers, in front of them. He can't even tell if they are taking notes or watching a movie.

I saw a pen on an Oprah show that could record a meeting while it sat next to your notepad. It even recorded what notes you might have taken.

One of the things I often look for, in antique stores are old postcards or letters. I look for the objects that have the handwriting on them. People from a different era took pride in the art of written communication. If they could read and write they wanted people to know it.

I remember, about a year ago, sending something to my mother that required me to write a message. She actually phoned me, which is something she never does to comment on my handwriting. I told her that it had been a hard day for my fingers and they must have been a little stiff. I could tell from her silence that she understood but wasn't happy about the deterioration of my script.

If I have a chance I shall introduce little Riley to the beautiful art of penmanship. The roundness, fullness, loops and straight lines that come together to create a letter and letters strung together creating words that means something. Right now her favorite book is a picture book with words under each picture.

I suspect many, of my generation, have memories of nuns standing over them, tisk, tisking about their writing. Maybe even taking a more aggressive act about doing it correctly or were those stories about nuns and wooden rulers just old rumors?

:)Bea Who is noticing the passing of things.


  1. Oh yes, don't you just love old letters and envelopes? I love to hunt for them in antique stores. The script is usually wonderful to see. I think the thank you note is already 99% gone. And letters to people certainly aren't there anymore. I love the journal that you found - I keep two journals - one in each spare bedroom - for people to read or write their thoughts in when they come to stay. But truly - if you don't mention what they are - people don't touch them. I don't know if they are afraid of being nosey or what LOL

  2. It is so true that handwriting figures less and less these days. I don't hand write myself so much and have never considered that I have very attractive writing but one thing is for sure, If I want to remember something I need to physically write it down. Or maybe that's just my age? ;-) Lots of young people in particular don't send 'thank you' letters as you say but I'm pleased to say my stepdaughter isn't among them. She sent us a 'thank you ' letter today for her birthday present and as we don't see her often it was lovely to receive it :-)

  3. My friend Lana and I often write letters to each other. We live about 4 hours from each other. We both love words and old letters, postcards and such. I always had pen pals and still have one in Ireland after 47 years. Writing has diminished but we do still write. I enjoyed your post Bea. Oh BTW, my handwriting is not very pretty actually. Wish it was better like my mother's was, and my sister's. Both daughters have pretty handwriting.

  4. My cursive handwritting was always bad (yah, I was a troublemaker in school even back then), almost to the point of illegibility (had an oil company misread the "twenty-five" as "seventy-five").

    But with a genetic issue of muscular dystrophy putting a death grip on my hands, about the only thing I write in cursive is my signature. Everything else I print.

  5. Hi Bea,
    What a delightfully written article on this subject - even if it is in 'font'. I think it you put your mind to it, you could be the 2010 version of Erma Brombeck..Bombeck???
    I remember how many giggles my mother used to have reading her books.
    I came across a blog just yesterday inviting people to submit an example of their handwriting. Not for any other purpose than to celebrate the individuality of each person's handwriting. If I can locate it, I'll email it.
    I would love to see yours!
    Happy Weekend!

  6. I have beautiful cursive handwriting, but I only use it for myself, grocery and to-do lists...I am always afraid people won't be able to decipher it. My first love is the art of penmanship...and words.

  7. What you say is so true Bea. I have a large diary of my Granddad's and I just love reading it. He had big writing with loops - full of character, as was he. My Grannie had Parkinson's Disease and her handwriting is all wiggly - but still neat.

    At our secondary school we had handwriting lessons and my friend Cheryl (who came here in October) still write in itallics - it's beautiful. My brother has the worst handwriting of anyone I know. I can usually decipher what he has written but not many can. There should be a subject 'A level in translating G Barker's handwriting'.

    Mine isn't too bad but deteriorated when doing exams. The need for speed outstripped the need for script. My 'm's don't have a stick in the middle anymore!

    Lovely post.

  8. I forgot where all this started, in the journal in the B & B. What a brilliant idea. I used to have a comments book in my Bed and Breakfast and I have kept them all. Some of the comments are very funny.