|Judith Whitehead lives in Amherst New York|
( A suburb of Buffalo, N.Y.)
and has worked in the ophthalmology
field of medicine for nearly 40 years
After my mom had passed away several years ago we began the task of reminiscing as we poured through her belongings, we had to decide what to keep, cherish, and/ or donate. I came across her school report cards that she had held on to for so many years. I also still have my old report cards from grammar school. Why do we keep such things...maybe for this very reason; so that our loved ones can discover them and take a trip down memory lane and learn even more about our loved ones.
They tell a path of which they have chosen to take in their early years and give us an insight as to where they had been.
My mother's report cards told a story of what her class choices were, she had taken-among them a class on penmanship-hard to believe that there was an actual grade given for lovely handwriting in cursive.
She had discussed this with me in my younger years,growing up with such pride that she had taken the
top award for her writings.
Times were so much simpler then and many women then secured jobs in offices etc that required good handwriting and shorthand skills. A skill that has fallen by the wayside many years ago. I also took shorthand in high school; and now I am dating myself. Office skills was a course offered as well in the
1960's. As my children attended their early years in school, they also had to practice handwriting on large scale paper sheets and were taught cursive as well.
What happened to those skills; children of today do not write cursive, they print everything, just like a typewriter or computer. Several years ago, to my surprise, public schools literally stopped teaching cursive...no more handwriting practice...with the pressures on new curriculum to be taught, there came little time to focus on those simple skills.
I even find myself printing when I have to “write” something. If you think about it, we really don't have to write much any more other than our signature. If we want to communicate, we text, e-mail or call people. We don't write letters any longer.
Shockingly, I recently heard that a few public schools in our area are again re starting the skill of teaching young students how to write cursively again. I guess we have decided to re visit the skill and have found that our young people cannot write properly any longer. It is no surprise that early on we
give our children electronics that enable them to communicate easily, no handwriting is required.
We have become such an impatient society, that we can quickly get our point across with a quick text;writing a letter takes much too much time to get our thoughts across. Nothing is in writing on paper any longer; job applications, banking etc are all done on the web these days.
There is really no need to even leave our home in many cases. Even this year I received fewer holiday cards and saw an increase in electronic greetings...it's easier and cheaper-no postage either which is a rising cost.
As a teen we were taught how to type in school and those same “home keys” are still used on a computer these days; the keyboard did not change but the knowledge on how to type is no longer stressed in school. How many people out there still “hunt and peck” the keyboard because they were never really taught how to “type”; a simple concept but yet long forgotten. Of course with spell check and auto correct, our young people don't really have to know, do they.
Dinosaur or not, I for one am still thankful for the days when cursive writing and typing were taught.
Whoever knew that something called “electronic records” would enter the scene many years later and made typing mandatory; it now is either type at warp speed, which I do, or hunt and peck your way through the day. Still happy I was born in the 1950's.
Hana Hou, (Encore)