Writing Letters is a Lost Art, and now, so is…

…learning cursive! I came home one day to find my grandson and his father huddled over a spiral notebook at the kitchen table. Hud was laboriously practicing the letter H in cursive. IMG_1254 Now in fifth grade, he told me that cursive  is no longer taught in his school, so I credit Sam for insisting that it is important for him to be able to at least sign his own name in script. Granted, his printing is fine and legible, but how can it be that handwriting is no longer a lifetime skill that requires instruction and practice? I don’t get it – makes me wonder what else is being dismissed as time-consuming and irrelevant ? Having been a teacher, I know there are only so many hours in a school day, but I believe handwriting is such a personal thing to develop from the time a child can grasp a pencil that it should not be eliminated from the curriculum. There are some things computers and spell check should not replace. Learning to write in cursive should not be one of them. My Dad was a master of letter writing , and I loved his long newsy pages written in flowing ink, and signed in his own inimitable style. His H’s were near perfect, and with practice, I believe his great grandson’s will be too!

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Molly

Molly turns 21 today. Our first grandchild, who has skipped to adulthood in a most exuberant, yet easy, laid back way.

IMG_0216 Bill and I looked forward to her arrival, not knowing whether she would be a he – and of course, like grandparents everywhere, it was love at first sight.

She will graduate from college next year to become an elementary school teacher, carrying on what has become the family profession for three generations, including me and her mom and dad. I have no doubt that she will be a fine one – fun but firm, caring and compassionate, all laced with a healthy dose of common sense.  All attributes she’s had to have as an RA in university dorms for three years, which prompts me to reveal a couple of things and a letter I’ve never shown  her:

March 1, 1956

“Dear Miss Huddleston,

We appreciate your explanation. However, after checking with the head resident again, she pointed out that it was not one incident but rather the general behavior of all of you that prompted their reporting you to this office….I would hope though, if you are admitted to one of the halls next fall, that you will be one of our exemplary students. You will have then a better appreciation for the need for quiet hour schedules when you are trying to get your studies done.

Sincerely yours,

Emily Chervenik

Assistant Dean of Women

How times have changed in liberal Madison,Wisconsin and for that matter, schools everywhere:  In the ’50s, the doors of Elizabether Waters locked at 12:30; failure to be in by then resulted in being ‘campused ‘or not allowed out, on a subsequent weekend . Certainly, no men allowed. Ever. On another occasion, I got a fine for smoking on campus and finally, the one thing that required me to shape up and become an exemplary student – a letter announcing to my parents that my grades placed me on probation.

I’m so proud of Molly for being far more sensible and appreciative of her opportunities than I was at her age, and I credit her mom and dad as well, for stressing the importance of being responsible and accountable. I can say without bias (well, maybe some) Molly is  quite simply a delightful young woman – I know she will be an excellent teacher!