The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

 
 

By Jan Tucker 

Requiem for cursive

 


To write or not to write; to print or not to print, that is a very big question recently.

Many schools no longer teach children to write in cursive, but are teaching instead to print. That program has been ongoing for several years and each year more schools are choosing printing over cursive.

The subject became a hot one on my radio show and even in an informal discussion I had after a recent school board meeting. When I registered my dismay that cursive is no longer taught, one man added, “We no longer teach Latin because it is a dead language and cursive is as dead.”

Several pointed out children and adults are using the computer and cellphones, not just for school work, but for everyday communication, including e-mails, texts and tweets. “Nobody writes anymore”, more than one caller said.

There are still people on the other side. One mom said her daughter got a thank you note from someone and handed it to mom and asked her to read it. I have saved a letter my mother wrote to me more than 20 years ago, and one written by my dad. To see their handwriting again is very special. Getting a hand written note seems more personal and warmer.

Until recently, I would write “Around the House with Jan” in cursive and then transfer it to the computer for a final entry. I could convey my thoughts better writing than typing. With cursive no longer taught, it makes me wonder if our kids will ever be able to read some of the historical documents left by our ancestors?

For this reason, Vicki James, who is working to train the young Ontonagon museum interns, is teaching them to read cursive.

Sentiment aside, when I bring it up, I keep getting the answer, “We don’t teach Latin any more either, should we go back to that?”

I am told there is so much our kids have to learn today there is no room left in the curriculum to teach writing when it will not be used.

One man wrote me: “We have tools that replace handwriting now. We also have tools that replace doing arithmetic and calculus. They do arithmetic much faster and error-free. Why not stop teaching how to add, multiply, subtract and divide? Just like cursive, we have cheap, plentiful tools that do these repetitious and mundane tasks, so why teach them?”

Others said think of all the time which was wasted in school drawing circles and working to have beautiful handwriting everyone could read, when printing is neater and simple for everyone to read.

I have a hard time countering these arguments. They are well thought out and make sense, yet something within me, perhaps it’s old age, hates to see handwriting go the way of the dinosaurs.

There were well-trained people who could tell the personality of someone by analyzing his or her handwriting. That must mean there is something personal in it and, in a way, tells who you are inside.

But we no longer communicate through smoke signals, cook over an open fire, drive Model T Fords, use muskets or wringer washers, so I suppose times must change. It is just harder for some of us to accept.

———

A cousin who I found again through Facebook sent this easy, rich dessert from St. Paul.

Pecan Pie Bars

Unroll 1 can of Crescent rolls and press into the bottom and up part of the side of a 13-by-9 pan. Press out all the perforations to seal. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

In a bowl mix together, 1 egg, beaten, 1⁄2 cup sugar, 1⁄2 cup corn syrup (dark), 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1⁄2 cup chopped pecans.

Pour over the partially baked crust and bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes, or longer, until golden brown. Cool and cut.

———

If you have a recipe, idea, story or comment, share it with Around the House with Jan, 416 Amygdaloid St ., Ontonagon MI 49953, or email jantuck@jamadots.com.