Cursive Cursed

This came in the mail today.  Looking at the handwriting, I figured it was from a child.

But no, it was from a high school senior.  On the upside, he did spell Gerry with a “G,” and it was a thank you note, for help with a paper.

But still, that handwriting.  Do the schools even teach it anymore?  Does anyone care?  Isn’t it embarrassing?

They should.  We should.  And yes.


About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
This entry was posted in Diatribes, Noticed and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Cursive Cursed

  1. Joyce Hodgson says:

    It just makes you both sad and angry at the state of our schools. Are the teachers so exhausted or so apathetic to allow children to graduate with this kind of handwriting, are their thoughts also so juvenile as well as their actions? Is this a reflection of the kind of adults they will be? I sit on a committee at Manchester Community College and help advise on curriculum for the media program. How can we graduate young adults who want to go into broadcasting, journalism or other forms of communication when they cannot be critical thinkers, creative communicators and convey their thoughts and/or news of the day without being able to spell and write with clarity. There is a mentality that typing on a computer saves them from having to learn how to write by hand, but when we’ve gone full circle and lose our ability to use a computer, you had better have good writing and spelling skills to get a message to someone — like, “help”, “thank you for the opportunity to interview for the posted position” or “Thank you so much for the beautiful sweater, Grandma”. Yep, those days are over.

  2. Linda B. says:

    I hope that child doesn’t read your blog….the emphasis is no longer on the cursive, but on the content. I do, however, tend to agree with you.

  3. Beckie says:

    Unfortunately, no. Penmanship is no longer taught in schools.
    In fairness, boys generally don’t have the fine moter skills that girls have and their handwriting USUALLY isn’t as legible. Of course, there are always exceptions. My cursive is terrible.

  4. Gerry,

    I think they stopped teaching handwriting after we had gotten out of school. I know that when my son was going to school, they stopped teaching it in I think the third or fourth year of school.

    I would try to have him practice every night, but it didn’t help. I used to have neat handwriting, and printing, but due to the Multiple Sclerosis, it’s gotten really bad. I hate saying this, but I had gotten my first computer so that when my son needed to do reports for school he did it on the computer. I felt it was the only the teachers would be able to read what he was ‘writing’.

  5. Li'l Em-Kel says:

    It’s true. His handwriting is juvenile and barely legible. But, Gerry, were you able to get any idea of this young person’s sense of self esteem? That’s what counts.


  6. Janet A says:

    Agreed. On the other hand, how often does one get a thank-you note — an actual, written-on-paper-and-snail-mailed thank-you note — these days? I think that counts for something.

    (And, on the OTHER other hand, it’s also possible his mom or dad made him do it!)

    • Beckie says:

      Janet—Good for the student for showing manners in sending a thank you note. And if it was at the parents prompting, good for the parents for teaching the child manners!

      • Gerry says:

        Beckie and Janet…first of all, he and his class partner seemed to be good kids, and we had a nice interview and chat. Their thank you notes came in the one envelope, and they were typed on a computer and printed. I have every reason to believe their teacher “suggested” they send the notes, because this teacher has been sending us students for years.

      • Beckie says:

        However it got done, Kudos for showing manners! 🙂
        Besides, they’ll need to know who to write a thank you note for those job interviews they’ll be going on.

  7. Gerry,

    It was really very nice anyway that kids did send you the Thank You notes. No matter who made/had/taught them to send you the Thank You notes, is that they did learn something from you as does most of us!

  8. Terry says:

    ask the kid to text…. well thats another story

  9. Pat says:

    Ten years ago I would have been bothered by this, but no longer. You see, it really doesn’t matter. Whoever scratched out that address is prepared well enough for the next generation of jobs – none. They will make good pool-boys, token white landscapers, sex workers, and the highly paid no skill government jobs. The lucky ones might get part time work at fast food joints passing out fat, salt and other deadly slop. It’s going to be a utopia. Dear Leader has promised change, and this symbolizes it.



    • J A Scott says:

      Token WHITE landscapers? You can tell from that scrawl that the writer was “white?” Hmmm….

      Also, while I can understand your cynicism, I’m not so sure that what you speak of is the NEXT generation of jobs. It seems we are there now, and have been for some time, thanks in large part to the “Dear Leader” who held office for the eight years prior to our current president.

      Change takes time. I am not happy with the job President Obama has been doing, but it is also true that he inherited a bunch of messes that need to be cleaned up – not to mention other stuff that has occurred since he was elected, some of which may relate back to policies put in place by previous administrations – BP oil rig disaster (dereg?/Halliburton?) comes to mind.

      I do agree with you that “fast food joints [are] passing out fat, salt and other deadly slop”!

  10. Bill from Billings says:

    Interesting. I went to school in Bloomfield. The school system had a great handwriting teacher by the name of Mr. Crow( early 1960’s). Mr. Crow would visit all the schools. I remember him as a distinguished “older” gentleman, well dressed, with wire rimmed glasses and a fabulous voice- he should have been in radio. When I say he was “older”- I mean he was probably about 18 years YOUNGER than I am now.:). He was a good teacher! Even though I was a boy and left handed-He really helped me!……..

  11. Matt says:

    No zip code??

  12. Gerry says:

    A lot of interesting comments. Thanks.
    I always thought handwriting was a reflection of your personality, or at least a way of saying, “I’m literate.”
    Printing out something tapped on a keyboard eliminates that, and I think we lose something personal.
    But hey, that’s just me.

  13. Joan says:

    I totally agree with you Gerry. It looks like a child wrote that envelope, not a high school senior, but you have to give him/her credit for at least sending a thank you note. Thank you notes are VERY rare in this day and age!

  14. Alex says:

    See, I was going to come here to say something snarky along the lines of “have you ever met my father?” but it turns out that the hills of Connecticut are alive with sensitive scribblers.

  15. Cat says:

    Well, I agree with Janet A.
    The young person didn’t have to send a thank-you note at all.
    The handwriting is not a big deal, but the words of thanks he sent along are more important.
    I trust this young person did type proper English and you did not have to endure the usual lazy words “nope, yep” and so on.
    Now you want to complain about handwriting, try reading doctor’s orders, being a nurse, we need a year of training just for that. ~QQ~.., yet they are some of the most brightest men and women I have ever encountered.
    I say give the kid a break, his writing may be bad in your eyes, but he does have feelings and cared enough about yours to say thank you.

    • Gerry says:

      Cat, there were extenuating circumstances that I didn’t go into for the kid’s sake. Believe me, I did give him a great big break. And I’ll always take a thank you note from someone who wants to send one, as opposed to has to send one.

  16. Kevin says:

    Someone call the black suits, looks like Hinckley is penning letters again.

  17. I was going to send you a note on this via snail mail. But you wouldn’t be able to read my handwriting. I was taught handwriting skills in elementary school. Like many of the things I was taught during my 12 year sentence to the American education system, I forgot what I learned. When I was a newspaper reporter, I couldn’t decipher the notes I had taken at the scene of a fire, crime, etc. I got back to the newsroom, prepared to write my stories, and reading my notes was like Alan Turing trying to figure out the Nazi Enigma code.

    Nobody ” writes ” anymore ( Some old school writers, who can afford secretaries who type their longhand scribbling, excepted ) I wouldn’t make a mountain of that kid’s molehill. I’d give him a break. His handwriting’s far better than mine.

  18. Lori says:

    Educators are in a very difficult situation as they prepare our students to have the necessary skills to compete in the 21st century. Skills once held as relevant, may no longer be so. Cursive, or handwriting skills, has taken a “back seat” to higher level thinking skills requiring problem solving, communication and technology. Unfortunately, a large percentage of our current population is so reminiscent of past practice, it impedes forward progress. In a marketplace being dramatically impacted by technology and the information age, educators must focus on preparing current freshmen with skills that we can only speculate will be needed by the time they graduate. Based upon this student’s handwriting alone, we cannot determine whether the educational system has or has not provided proper support to this student. The educational system, while not perfect, has become an easy target and is often held responsible for solving all societal problems.

    • Gerry says:

      Lori, I had no idea that handwriting was deemphasized in schools, and I appreciate your explanation why.
      As always, thank you for your clarity.

      • Lori says:

        Wow, I just reread everyone’s responses. I never knew the topic of handwriting could elicit such emotion! Love your blog Gerry!

      • Gerry says:

        Neither did I. I’m tempted to do a post on the replies. When you least expect it…

  19. Looking through all the comments on this subject, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to laugh or cry or get angry. Or maybe even get all three.

    I do remember my parents standing over me when I did my Thank You cards to family and friends for gifts. Which is how I started my ‘flair’ for writing. There were no such things as abbreviations. Then I took ‘Shorthand’ in High School, which is how I took most of my notes in class. Then when I worked there were many other ways to do shorthand, so it would be quicker to type at work, as to not take up so much space for our notes from customers.

    To me a Thank You or TY is a Thank You no matter who makes you send one, even if it’s either online. I know I have said “Thank You ” to you Gerry a few times for letting us use this blog, for the smiles it has brought some of us, and even for showing some of the rougher part of life. Yet, for some reason, reading the responses, some of these are getting so out of place, even going to the point of blaming the President of the United States. Was President Obama there when the kids sent the Thank You to you?

    Quick question for you Gerry, are you getting more replies to this than to the problem of the Men’s Room at the new station?

  20. Steve says:

    Response to J.A. Previous administrations were a problem, starting with the 2nd worst President this country has ever seen, Jimmy Carter. At least it took him 4 years to attain this lofty plateau. It’s only taken Barry to hit number one on the charts in 17 months. Typical of a flaming liberal to blame bad handwriting on George Bush.

  21. Dan McCarthy says:

    Wow, I’m sorry I fell so far behind on your blog, Gerry. Kudos on your excellent penmanship. Some of us are just destined to have a doctor’s handwriting, I guess. I had 4 teachers in elementary school try in vain to make me write legibly. Even now, I confuse people on a daily basis with my chicken scratch.

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