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Monday, September 15, 2014

Handwriting - a cranky re-run

This cranky re-run is from September 2011

I thought my handwriting was awful.  Mrs. Cranky’s writing is even worse.  If it were not for computers and keyboards our only means of communication would be verbal.
Handwriting used to be really important.  Handwriting was a graded course from first through third grade.  We first learned printing and then moved on to script, or what we called longhand and is now called cursive.  Longhand was tough for me.  It was not until second grade that I was allowed to write between two lines instead of three.  This used to be a big deal.  The paper we used was yellow lined paper.  It had no margins, and was so cheap that there were tiny wood chunks of still unprocessed paper scattered throughout the writing surface.  Writing between only two lines reduced the chances of having to run your pencil point into a wood chunk.

I write left handed so I faced the problem of following my writing with my palm and smudging everything I wrote.  Fortunately my teacher showed me how to slant the paper so that I could write and avoid smudging.  It was not many years before I hit First grade that teachers would have tied my left hand behind my back and forced me to learn to write with my right hand.  Slanting the paper was a better solution.  I’m not sure, but I think John Wayne Gacy was forced to write with his right hand in this way (giyp).
Mrs. Cranky went to a Catholic school.  I do not know how she survived with her handwriting.  Catholic school was notorious for placing extraordinary importance on handwriting.  I think it was a holdover from the monks having to copy The Bible calligraphically.

Mrs. Cranky’s handwriting is so bad that I can hardly read her chicken scratch.  If I go grocery shopping with her list I have to question her before I leave.
“What is totly parpy?”
“Wait, let me see….TOILET PAPER!”
“What the hell is eng murphies?”
“That’s ENGLISH MUFFINS!.....jerk.”
“What is Tkr sauce?”


Sometimes she is stumped by her own writing.
“Ok I give up, what is kprglibnk?”

“What?  Give me that……..shit, I don’t know….buy something that starts with a K…..and you’re still a jerk! 


  1. They stopped teaching cursive in Indiana...for about five minutes, I guess. Apparently it's being taught again.

    That Mrs. Cranky List was one of my faves...

  2. :) i remember her shopping list cipher.

  3. Wow, I'd have trouble with your wife's shorthand too. Yikes.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  4. One of the few modern technology things I like is that card-swipe thing in stores that want's a signature....I've used all manner of cursive scrawls, it'll take any name, I used Bill Gates for a bit. Also you can just do a "X", and it always say's 'approved'.

  5. I know that with all the technology it's probably just not necessary anymore, but I can't help feeling we're losing something by not teaching handwriting in schools today. Though I suppose the Sumerians felt the same when they phased out cuneiform script.

  6. Fun post. I had no idea that you. like me, are left handed. So was Leonardo da Vinci, who was famous for writing backwards so his hand wouldn't smudge wet ink.

  7. I think I was born left handed & my parents taught me to write & eat right handed. My left hand & arm are definitely stronger. Maybe that's why I am the way I am today!

  8. I recently learned my Grand niece in Florida is not even being taught cursive. Today thanks to computers, my bad handwriting has deteriorated to horrid and illegible even to me. Sometimes like Mrs. Cranky, I just look for something that starts with a letter I almost recognize on my shopping list.

  9. I used to have beautiful cursive handwriting. Now I print everything. And quite sloppily.

  10. My son Genius is a lefty. He does not use cursive, but a tiny draftsman's printing kind of writing. He is not artistic at all, and I would be hard-pressed to choose him for my Pictionary team.

  11. I too went to a Catholic school and I remember literally practicing for hours in school how to make a perfect circle. I guess it had to be with building up our hand muscles for writing, but hours upon hours tracing O's. I used to have beautiful handwriting. Now is always better if I type a letter to someone than write it out.


  12. So don't just leave us hanging. What did you bring back from the store that started with "K"? Funny post BTW. :)


  13. I'm with lowandslow, I want to know what you bought that starts with K.
    My dad was made to learn to write with his right hand and for the rest of his life he wrote right handed, but drew with his left hand.

  14. My junior school was very old fashioned and we were taught itallic's with fountain pens that you had to refill from the inkwell on your desk and blot carefully with thick pink blotting paper - we had hand writing lessons and it our writing wasn't neat enough we were kept in at break or had to miss swimming while we practiced. When we went to secondary school everyone else seemed to print and made fun of the way we wrote and so we all abandonded the beautiful script we had learned to fit in.

  15. The good news is, handwriting is going away, pretty much. They're saying future generations won't even be able to read cursive, which is bad news for all of the people who said we needed handwritten letters to pass on to future generations so they can learn more about our time. They'll be studying our Tweets and Facebook posts in 2099.

  16. I'm left handed too and my handwriting is pitiful to say the least.


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