Wednesday, January 23, 2013

National Handwriting Day

In this day and age, technology has offered us so many ways to stay in touch without even picking up a pencil or pen.  Social media options include Facebook, blogging, Twitter, and many others.

As much as I enjoy using some of these tools for  communicating with others via my laptop, I will admit it - I still enjoy receiving a handwritten note in my mailbox.  The mailbox hanging on the front of my house, that is.  I think having a National Handwriting Day is a fun and worthy idea.

There is just something very special about finding that little note that has sometimes come from very far away, with its handwritten address indicating it is for me.  Typically these little notes are thank you cards or invitations, but either way they are always good.  Hidden somewhere in the daily pile of  bills, credit card offers, advertising brochures and other junk mail, those little cards always brighten my day.  I guess that is because I know somebody has been thinking about me, someone who knows me and wants to make contact.

I clearly remember waiting anxiously as a young student to be finally taught the art of cursive writing.  We all knew that it would happen sometime during the third grade year, and in fact, some of my friends and I sort of looked up to the older girls that had already learned that mature art.

Her tool resembled this one.
When the time came and the handwriting teacher finally entered the classroom, it was an exciting day.  She came loaded with a bag of special pencils (I figured maybe regular ones don't work for cursive), a massive wall chart of the letters like the one pictured above, and an amazing chalkboard tool that held 3 pieces of chalk and simultaneously drew 2 solid lines and 1 dotted line across the board.

As I recollect, I became more fascinated with that tool than with actually practicing the new letters we were learning each time.  I quickly learned that writing the same letter over and over many times bored me.  She could have at least given us different colored pencils or pens to make it more interesting.  But I never ceased to be bored watching her draw those lines across the board.

I'm sorry to say that even though now I enjoy using my handwriting skills, back then those handwriting classes became classes I dreaded.  I guess I figured if I wrote a perfectly good letter "J" on the second or third try, and if I practiced it another 10 times, that should be enough.  Otherwise we were just beating a dead horse but actually she was keeping the students occupied until the regular teacher returned from eating donuts in the teachers' lounge.

I'm always amazed nowadays when I see the great variety in how people write.  Even within my own immediate family - the husband and I and our four children - there is great diversity in our handwriting.

The husband/lover/best friend signs his name the same way every time, with a notable increase in speed after arriving at first letter of his last name.  It would be hard to even know what his last name is from his usual signature.  Perhaps he should have been a doctor - he has the appropriate handwriting.

I tend to be very precise when writing and especially when signing my name.  For some reason I am type A about it - I feel the need to know that anyone reading my name would know exactly what every letter is that they are seeing.  I carefully cross all t's and dot all i's.  I make sure my e's have a little space there in that small loop.

Whenever I am signing that credit card thingie at the food store or at Wal-mart, I feel uneasy if that pencil wand is not working properly.  I don't like it if there are gaps left where my full name cannot be seen.

The only other person currently living in our household is son Caleb, and here you see his signature.

If I didn't know him and if I was looking at his signature, I'm not sure I'd really know that it was spelled C-a-l-e-b.  It's interesting that although he used cursive for me when asked to sign his name,  he typically prints everything.

Over the years I have developed my hybrid form of handwriting that is a combination of both printing and cursive.  I suppose that is what is most comfortable to me, and the method that is fastest for getting things down on paper, too.

If you're looking for a reason to scribble something special the old-fashioned way, visit this worthy website.   The non-profit organization, A Million Thanks, will forward your handwritten notes to U. S. service members abroad.  I'm sure a simple "Thank you for your service"  would be much appreciated.


  1. I find it sad that many schools are considering not teaching children cursive. Loved this post!

  2. I am currently teaching cursive to my 2nd grade class. We use dry erase boards in our classrooms now. Sadly no chalkboards.

  3. That tool you show was to draw the five lines in music class.