“Cursive writing does not mean what I think it does.”

The house was cold this morning at 63˚. I wanted to stay cozy and warm under the comforter, but Gracie got up and didn’t come back so I knew she wanted out. I groused, put on my sweatshirt and my slippers, the ones with the holes in the toes, and came downstairs. Gracie went out and I forgave her after my first sip of coffee.

When I was a kid, our back screen door was wooden. It was dark green around the outside edges. My mother constantly yelled at us not to slam the door on our way out. We never did. It just closed that way on its own. She didn’t buy it. “You could hold it and close it,” was her answer,  a typical parent’s answer because no self-respecting kid was ever going to stop, hold the door and gently close it. We certainly never did and the door kept slamming and she kept yelling. I thought of it as a summer ritual.

I always checked the coin holder on every public telephone. Sometimes I’d find a dime, a wealth of money. I also used to pick up glass bottles and turn them in for pennies. Even pennies had value back then. I never hunted for the bottles, but if I saw one, I’d carry it to the store. The shopman would open the huge cash register, the one with the round metal keys and the ching sound, and get my pennies. I liked it when my pocket jingled. It made me feel wealthy.

The first phone I remember had finger holes for the dialing with numbers and letters. You turned the dial all the way until your finger stopped then you let go and the dial returned to the beginning and then you entered the second letter or another number. The dial made a great clicking sound on its return trip. Our phone number started with ST 6, and that was the start of every phone number in town. We had a party line and had to listen to the rings to figure out if the call was ours or Mrs. McGaffigan’s.

My local school district made the paper when it said that cursive writing would remain a part of the curriculum. It seems many schools no longer teach it. When I was a kid, I swear every classroom in America had the alphabet, those cards from A to Z, posted one after the other over the chalk board. Each card held one capital and one small letter in cursive. I always liked Z, both capital and small. X was another favorite which may yet become the most used letter in the alphabet. Sign your X next to the dotted line.

Explore posts in the same categories: Musings

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

15 Comments on ““Cursive writing does not mean what I think it does.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    The cottage was warm but it was frost outside this morning. But the sun shone all day so it turned out to be a rather nice day, it might have been even nicer if the wind had stopped blowing but it did help keep the mosquitoes away so I didn’t mind.

    I did hunt for bottles and I bought my first pet with what I had earned on them, a hamster. I also always checked those coin holders, one could at least get some candy for that money and I did find money surprisingly often. I think there’s one public telephone left in my old home town but they pay by card now days.

    I miss those old phones, we had a grey one but we never had those letters like You did, only the numbers. We didn’t share a line but could still hear our neighbors some times, they said we could because those lines lay next vto each other withoiut anything between them. I’m not sure that’s true but I never dug any deeper in to that mystery 🙂

    I remember those letters on the wall too and I still have that book where we learned to write the kletters in that cursive style, it’s actually the only thing my mothger saved from my school days so it’s a treassure for me 🙂 It shows that I never were destined to be a good writer 🙂 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      Today is nice and sunny. The cat is lying on the rug but the dog so Gracie whines. That mens I have to go and escort her around the cat to get outside.

      I don’t know of any pay phones around here. Nt everyone can afford cell phones so that is too bad they don’t have outside access to phones.

      The letters eventually became numbers so all of us had 7 numbers. The phone company has to change the first three numbers periodically as it runs out of number permutations of the last 4.

      I used to love the Palmer method exercise we had to do. The circles were my favorite.

      I have an old report card my mother saved. It seems I was sometimes noisy-no surprise there.

  2. Hedley Says:

    Bloody Hell, a musing on “joined up” writing – The very thought brings up suppressed memories. The pure misery of being left handed, an osmun ink pen with a curved nib and then being instructed to form letters with thin and thick stems and branches.

    “This is insane”…I screamed (well not really unless I wanted to be beaten, which I was, a lot) I smudge this masterpiece as I write.

    And so I learned to write upside down, creating a script that looks like a spider on an illegal narcotic. That stylized form has not improved with my ever advancing years

    Today, you can always tell how the age of a left handed person by the way they write – pre or post ball point. Its the Claw, Its the Claw

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      At first I thought why is he complaining. That was merely one paragraph out of many then I read you were left-handed. I know and sympathize with your struggles as my friend too could never figure out exactly how to put her hand and fingers so she could write. It was a weird circular configuration with her hand bent to the paper like, as you say, a claw.

      My nephew is left-handed and he has none of these problems. I guess by his time the engineers had it all figured out.

      • Hedley Says:

        I attempted to create italic letters from above the paper avoiding the inevitable smudge. The claw moved from left to right with little stylized strokes and a letter-word formation that was, at best, random.
        I think I was happier chanting multiplication tables than this rubbish. Of course the theory of education was “if you cant do it we will hit you”, and I will name names – Straker was a sadistic bastard.

      • katry Says:

        We never got hit in school. A nun pointing at us was enough to silence us and a call home was a death sentence.

        School shouldn’t ever be a fearful place and I am sorry yours was.

      • Hedley Says:

        Kat, it was just the time – punishment was direct and uncomfortable. Strake had inflicted his sadism on my Uncles before I spent a few years at Downsend School in Leatherhead. Today, he would be standing in front of a Judge.

  3. Rowen Says:

    Like Hedley, I write with the left, but manage to keep the side of my hand out of the ink, more or less. Art instruction helped. I find that if I’m going to smudge, it doesn’t matter whether it’s script or block letters or whatever. The faster the ink dries, the better.

    The idea of not teaching cursive strikes me as odd. Why wouldn’t they? No, don’t tell me. I’m sure I’ll be upset.

    • katry Says:

      They have decided that cursive is quickly becoming an anachronism. Kids don’t write. They text each other and they use keyboards for homework and whatever else we used to take a pen to do.

      Good thing we had ballpoint pens instead of a pen with a nib and an accompanying ink bottle.

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    The first phone I remember was no dial at all. You picked it up and talked to an operator and she got the number for you. We had a party line, too. The phone in Maine was also no dial with multiple party lines. You had to count your rings. Mine was two long and one short. That actually came in handy in my working years. Our phone system had different rings for inside and outside calls. Some of my coworkers could never figure out how I knew if a call was from an outside line or an inside one.

    Those cards were above my grade school blackboards, too. It must have been standard. I remember wanting to get to capital Q. It was shaped like a loopy 2 and I so wanted to practice loopy 2’s. 🙂 But we never did Q. I don’t know why. I’m still disappointed.

    The decline of cursive has been going on for some time. I remember back when Reagan was first elected a friend was telling me that one of her grandson’s college applications had a question on it that had to be answered in cursive. The instruction was right there above the question. The kid didn’t know what cursive was. All his homework had to be typed and he used block printing for everything else.

    Today was a lovely day. Sunny and pleasant. It was cold this morning, though. We even had a bit of frost here and there.
    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I gave a no dial phone a passing thought but wasn’t sure so I went with the memory of the dial. I do remember talking to operators, a little like Mayberry, so my first thought might be that’s what we had.

      I do remember the capital Q being a cool letter. We had penmanship as a class so we got to write all the letters over and over.

      I had to type all my college papers so that was the start of it in my life. Bills get paid on line so no more check writing. But I still think it a skill you need.

      Lovely here too and cold in the morning as well. My house was 63˚ when I woke up.

      Have a great evening!

      • Caryn Says:

        Oddly enough, fountain pens are an in thing. I just bought a pack of 8 disposable fountain pens in 8 different colors. They make my journal look so festive.
        Well, they would if I could manage not to blot my copybook. 😀

      • katry Says:

        I have always used a fountain pen since before high school. Then I had to use an ink bottle to fill my pens but now I buy cartridges. I have two fountain pens.

  5. minicapt Says:

    i had bad handwriting until college; in third year, I found a handbook on “Italic Writing” and made some improvements.
    Then on my first posting, I had to start writing memos. I submitted my first to the secretary pool for typing, and was bit taken aback when all of them had to check it out. Then one of them said, “There’s nothing wrong with your memo, it’s just that we can read it.”


    • katry Says:

      I didn’t expect that last quote. It seems your handbook had raised you above the rest.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: