Archive for January, 2011

Cursive Writing

Last week I found in the attic an old accordion file of bills and such that dated back to 1993 and 1994. Don’t know how it got in the attic but there it was and I took it to work today to shred. As I was going thru the “Miscellaneous” part, I found a Post It note my mom had written on a magazine. She was in the process of moving from Maine to Florida and she gave me her new phone number in Florida and added a little word or two along with  it and signed it, “Love, Mom.”   I read it several times, that little note. It was in cursive and Mom had a pretty handwriting even when she was hurriedly writing a note. I tacked it to my picture board just so I could look at it from time to time while I’m working.
Then I came across some letters my friend Cathy had written me. Cat would always write long, lovely letters – front and back, and would fill me in on everything happening in Mattawamkeag and Lincoln. All handwritten. All in cursive. I remember how excited I would get to open the mailbox and find a letter from her. I knew it would be a good long one full of news! I have saved many, many letters from her over the years and have a hard time throwing any of them away, even though I know they only mean something to me. Someone else will have to throw them away eventually, but it isn’t going to be me. Not all of them anyway.
I’m sure we’ve all read or heard how the schools are talking about taking cursive handwriting out of the curriculum.  They’re going to teach them how to print.  When I was growing up, we didn’t call it “cursive,” we called it “real writing.”  “I’ve got to do a book report in REAL WRITING tonight!” Killer.  I do remember the alphabet being written in cursive on the wall up near the ceiling.  Big huge letters that little kids can see easily from their desk and practice until they get it just right.  Sure, the printed word looks good too.  But when you print, you have to keep picking the pencil or pen up from the paper to move to the next letter.  There is something magical in flowing letters together to form a word and seeing how legible you can make it.  When I started writing in my diaries, it was as much as holding the pen and writing the WORDS as it was to just put my thoughts down on the page.  To this day I love the smell of ink and paper.  Or a new book or new magazine.  I love to open it up and just bury my nose in it and breathe deeply. 

I’ll be the first one to admit that I love to type.  It’s fast, easy and to the point.  Boom, zoom, it’s out there.  You don’t have to dot the i’s and you don’t have to cross the t’s.  However, I also like to write.  I like the way a pen feels in my hand and there are some great pens out there.  Yes, emails are wonderful, I absolutely cannot imagine life without emails now.  Best invention since white bread. 

I saw this past Christmas where more and more of us are getting away from handwritten notes and cards.  For years, I had trouble finding room to display all the cards I’d received.  I know that postage is pricey and ridiculous and we’re all in a crunch to save money and mailing Christmas cards is expensive.  I didn’t send near as many as I usually do.  But you know what?  I missed those handwritten cards.  I truly did. 

My birthday.  Thanks to Facebook I had birthday wishes from people that have never wished me a Happy Birthday or hadn’t in years because I mean, who can remember all those birthday’s anyway?  Get real!  But hey, look, there it is on Facebook!  It’s Donna’s birthday.  Shoot her a message.  It was great!  I loved it!  But you know what really meant the most to me and I didn’t even realize it so much until this year?  It was the few special handwritten cards that I did receive.  The joy of slitting that envelope to see what someone had picked out to send to me and what they had written in it to wish me joy on that day.  The ones you read and then press to your heart because they were just so darn sweet.  Yes, I enjoyed my “social network” cards, don’t get me wrong, I did.  I also realized that I had done the very same thing to other friends on their birthday – Facebooked or emailed them instead of sending a card.  It works, it’s great and I’m truly not dissing it.   I just think it is wrong, wrong, wrong to not teach children how to write in cursive.  I’m a little old fashioned that way, sue me.

You know what else?  200 years from now, or maybe not even that long, – handwritten letters may turn out to be worth money.  Can you imagine?  I mean look at the stuff on Antiques Roadshow that turn out to be worth a pile of money!  Stuff we or our parents had at one time and tossed out because they were old or ugly or we weren’t using them anymore.  I still grieve that I didn’t keep my Barbie and Midge, Ken and Skipper.  Dang things would be worth something now and I took good care of them too!  Shoot!!

So I’m saving my letters and maybe someone behind me will save them just for the heck of it, and maybe, just maybe, many years from now some tekky group that can’t even imagine  cursive writing will come across them and they might be worth more than just great memories to me.  Won’t THAT be a hoot…

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