Somewhere in my house are my third- and fourth-grade report cards. They are the only written records of my elementary school years, and I must assume that my mother saved those and no others because they were the zenith of my career.
As I recall (still looking for them), the grades were good. But no matter how many As and Bs I earned, what drew my mother’s wrath were the perpetual Cs in handwriting.
Yes, they used to grade students in handwriting, back when we had to swing from vine to vine to get to school each morning.
Now, Pitt County schools are among some across the country that have dumped teaching cursive. Students will be taught to print until third grade, then they’ll learn typing. The argument is that teachers don’t have enough time to work it into the curriculum with all the other subjects they must cover, and that everyone types, anyway.
My mother wouldn’t be happy about that. She threw a fit over my penmanship every time report cards came out. (She brushed off the Unsatisfactory or Needs Improvement marks I received in “Avoids Unnecessary Talking” by saying, “That’s you, all right.”)
She came from a time when a woman’s penmanship presented an important face to the world. Hers had the perfect smooth loops and lines of an engraved wedding invitation and hardly wavered as she aged. Mine had, and still has, the look of a rain-smeared “Lost Dog” poster on a telephone pole.
On the other hand, my friends tell me that my texts aren’t any easier to comprehend.