I was reading the post that Susan Branch http://www.susanbranch.com/ wrote about writing. When I saw our newspaper in her blog I really took notice. I had read this article back when it was featured in the newspaper and thought to myself...how sad. It seems that we have substituted our writing with pushing buttons. Joe and I were talking at lunch today about our memories of 3rd grade. That was close to 70 years ago for us. We had to buy school supplies and included in our supplies was a tablet for writing. It was a ruled tablet. We had exercises in writing with the kids trying to keep the upper case letters between the bold lines and the lower case inside the dotted line about halfway up. The teacher stood with her wooden pointer pointing to the words for us to copy on the blackboard. Such concentration, little kids with their tongues touching their top lips, trying so hard to get that word just perfect. When we were done...the pages were graded. After grading we could take them home. I was always proud when I showed my folks my papers from school. As we progressed the big day came when we could start to learn cursive. We didn't say upper case, lower case, and cursive in my day. That started when my kids were in school.I brought my sharpest pencil to school to start this first step toward being an adult. Joe demonstrated to me how he wrote his words. Up and down with hardly any slant. He said he did it just like the teacher said. I have to admit...I put a little slant to the words and tried a few curlicues. I can remember our family getting a letter from Uncle John. I was always excited when one came. He wrote his letters with old fashioned swirls and completely filled the front of the envelope with beautiful letters.I think that I was trying to emulate Uncle John with my little curlicues. The teacher, Miss Leach, put a stop to that and I settled into writing like everyone else.
I went away to camp a couple of years later. I would lie on my cot and write postcards to my family. My handwriting was so large...I could only get a few words on the little card.
We began to use ink in class later on. My favorite pen was a blue Esterbrook pen bought at Mosimans Stationary store. It was a pen that you filled with ink. So many ink spills and inky fingers at that time. Not nearly as messy as the pens we used with the nibs that you dipped in the ink bottle. Tales of girls with pig tails come to mind.
I started keeping a diary in later years and would write a few lines every night. By now, I could use ball point pens and had one pen that wrote with three different colors. Each page of my diary was written with a different colored ink.
In later years I helped my children with their attempts at cursive writing. Took a calligraphy class and started making posters for all kinds of school events and sales etc.
I feel now that I write this, that my writing would be more interesting today, if Miss Leach had let me be me. My writing today is very plain and no curlicues. It is , however, readable.
Thinking that the kids of today are going to be kept from expressing themselves by writing really makes me sad. They are going to miss out on so much. Letter writing will go by the wayside, Christmas cards will be no more, kids will say, "Tell me about when you used pens and wrote cursive, Grandma." When I see the scribbled writing today...signatures of people in business...doctor's prescriptions etc. I think that maybe we are making a mistake. The kids are missing out on the simple pleasure of picking out their favorite Esterbrook pen.
Why don't you stop at the Susan Branch blog http://www.susanbranch.com/ to read her thoughts and see her wonderful artwork?