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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Penmanship








Just wanted to show you the back of the vintage postcard in my sidebar. Handwriting in days of old was more of an art form than it is now. Most all men and women had flowing, well-formed penmanship. While this particular example is plainer than most for the time frame, it is still neat and well-executed.

My mother received formal penmanship classes while attending grade school in the 1930's. She was taught by the nuns in parochial school who drilled their students in correct hand and wrist placement. She related that they endured monotonous hours of repetitive movements in order to form cursive letters that met the nuns' idea of perfection. To this day she still has lovely handwriting.

She tried to pass on her training to me when I was learning to write cursive in the third grade because she saw that the "new generation" was not being taught what she deemed to be the correct way. She attempted to show me that my wrist should not rest on the paper and that my hand should flow freely. "The wrist should do the work for the pencil, Susan, not the fingers," she used to say. She made me practice my lower case o's, a's, and l's over and over again on paper and she even made me air write, (you've heard of air guitar, haven't you?) All of this was hard for me to do, since my own class was not receiving instruction in any formal manner. I think our teacher just put up the alphabet chart above the blackboard and told us that was what our letters were supposed to look like.

Inevitably, her tutelage did not pay off for me. Her manner of writing just felt too awkward because this training was not being reinforced in the classroom. So I resorted to what everyone else in the "new generation" was doing-- holding my pencil with a death grip and picking up my hand to move along the paper as I wrote. This resulted in sore wrist syndrome that we all got when we wrote for any long period of time. Anyone else remember that?

Anyway, it's not that I have illegible or messy handwriting, but it sure isn't romantic and flowing like my mom's example that I am showing you. What does your handwriting look like?

~ Sue

9 comments:

Rue said...

Hi Sue :)

You started a bog!

In answer to your question.... it's awful and embarrasing. My mother has beautiful handwriting too :)

rue

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Sue!

Oh I'm so excited! Your first post and it's so fabulous!! Great job!

My handwriting is presentable. We practiced quite a bit in elementary school back in the covered wagon days. LOL The practice we had was invaluable. Handwriting is a strange thing. I can see my dad's handwriting on a piece of paper from 35 yrs ago and recognize it as I do others that have passed away for many years now. Our handwriting is part of who we are!

Big hugs & congrats on your great new blog!
Sherry

thevintagejournal said...

Hi my computer isn't happy with me. Thanks for the comment on thevintagejournal. I hope you enjoy blogging don't get overwhelmed with it. Thanks Denise

Shelia said...

Hi Sue and welcome to Blogland! I learned about you from Sherri - Edie Marie's Attic. I must tell you - I have the same little pink baby book as you!
Hope you'll come and visit me sometime.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Sue!

I heard about you from Sherry! I love your header photo!Do you know what county your ancestors from in Ireland? Mine were from Donegal.

I learned penmanship by the good sisters when I was in elementary school too. I had wonderful handwriting when I was young but it has deteriorated now that I'm in my 50's for some reason -- maybe from lack of use?

It seems penmanship is going the way of the typewriter. Sad in a way but that's progress.

Marie Antionette said...

Hi Sue,This is a lovely first post,congrats!!!I know all about the nuns,they are like drill srgents for sure.I never did have a nice hand at writing.I start off doing good then my hands start to hurt and I get messy.I want to wish you great sucess with your blogging,it has done so much good for me.It kept me going when I was at my wits in.Thank god for blogging buddies.Hugs Marie Antionette

countryromantic said...

Hi Sue,
Your blog is so beautiful!! I'm glad that you started your own blog. I look forwrd to reading your posts. :)

As for my handwriting...uggghhh....I wish it were romantic and flowing also like my Grandmother's is. But it is plain and boring. Legible but not pretty. I actually think that it could have been better but when I started writing I used my left hand and my Teacher made me switch to my right hand. It was confusing for me. I use my left hand for other things, such as eating.

Congratulations on your new blog!!!

Hugs & Blessings,

~Katherine~
CountryRomantic.blogspot.com

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Wow Sue! Your first post is fabulous and so interesting. Way to go girl. I have added you to my "take me away" blogs to read. Love your background and you even have music ( i love it). I have to brag a bit. I have been told many, many times I have beautiful hand writing. My biggest problem is I can never write in a straight line...it always slants. Come on over for a visit soon. I showed our snow storm we got last weekend. xo Lynn

Kathleen said...

I made it all the way to the end, I mean the beginning.
I taught elem school for 33 yrs, and penmanship was always important!
It was a grade on their report cards..still is here..