I've sent you a message!
Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to play along with my silly question entries. It may have seemed a strange request, but I was curious, for the sake of curiosity and also with a purpose. See, recently, my son's school district has decided to stop teaching cursive/script writing. This has made me think. A lot. I was not quick to anger or argue, because I know times are changing and that many things already have changed (Did I even tell you about the time in London when we passed a red phone booth and I had to explain to George what it was for? Or when I told him his grandmother didn't have computers when she was a kid and he said in shock, "Not even a touchscreen!" Ahh.. things have definitely changed).
But I have sought out discussions and opinions on the topic, on Facebook and in real life, and I'm slowly working through how I feel about this monumental difference between my life experience and those of my children.
Waay back before I was a quilter, I was a writer. Not this kind of writer, a blog writer or a book writer, but a letter writer. I had lots of pen pals, tons of stationary and pens (and stickers, and stamps, and any other office supply I could get my hands on). I may have written about this before at some point, but here I want to record my feelings on handwriting. On how important it is. How much of an identity marker it is to me. When I see my grandmother's script, I can hear her voice. My mom's-- I envision her hands. (Funny, my husband's handwriting evokes his accent) My own handwriting is something that I spent years refining, and just remembering the pages I have filled with it brings me some sort of comfort and calm, not unlike looking at my own quilts.
I assume that my boys will both learn to write-- to print with pencil and paper-- of course. But will their handwriting become something that will identify them? Will they take pride in it? Will it reveal bits of their personality?
In the discussions, people say that cursive is outdated, unnecessary. But if they don't learn to write it, will they still learn to read it? I can't imagine a world where my children won't be able to read the notes I've written them in their baby books. Where transcriptions will be necessary to read primary sources and other documents that are less than decades old? Yes, this is getting emotional for me.. sorry. One friend directed me to this website on the subject, and it gives more to ponder. I think there's more to cursive writing than the school district is paying attention to..
So I asked, what was the last thing you wrote by hand. The majority of people said some sort of list, either a to-do list or a grocery list. Lots of people wrote notes or cards. Many of you wrote checks. One person commented that she wrote in a journal. A real paper journal. That's good. I have a paper journal too, one that I occasionally jot down what the boys and I do with our days-- funny things they did or said, Jack's baby milestones. I have a notebook of lists and ideas too that gets used more often. But the last thing I wrote was my signature on a credit card receipt at the quilt shop. (The last thing I ate was a ghost shaped marshmallow).
Anyway, I've always been a fan of material culture, and I just wanted to use this space to record how I feel about this cultural change. I worry that they won't teach cursive and then in 10-20 years they'll discover that it was a mistake, that it actually is important and we'll have a generation of people who are lacking this skill-- kind of like how they stopped teaching Home Ec. in high school and now my generation can't cook or feed itself healthy foods and so many other essential home-related skills are just missing! Ok, no tangents.
I'll leave you with some pages of Slams. These are small booklets that penpals passed to each other and answered questions written inside. When the pages were full the book would be sent back to the maker (or the person it was made for) to read, laugh, save.. just a bit of material culture, handwriting included.