Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Hand Written Letters

       A columnist in my local paper had as a topic writing letters by hand.  It started me thinking.

       When was the last time I wrote a letter by hand? I can't remember. I've had a computer in the house since 1997. Before that, I can't remember who I would have written to. When I first left home in 1957, my Mom wrote me every week and I replied. My Mom and Grandma exchanged letters every week. There were many friendly letters in our local rural mailbox. The letters were newsy and always exciting to receive. Mom would read the letters to us many times. Am I about to sit down and write someone a friendly letter? No!  

      Now I know I receive at least one written letter per year. My sister-in-law hand writes every Christmas. She writes a very good letter.

     Because of the absence of personal letters in my mailbox. I'm not the only one who's quit writing letters.

    In a slower time it was pleasant to sit down and write a  letter to tell people what was going on in my life and to inquire what was happening to another person.

     So why don't I write? Well you can guess. Email has made it easier for us to make contact quickly  and easily. Why we can phone all over the place in an instant. In the 1940's, to phone Grandma long distance would have been very expensive and I can't remember if Grandma and Grandpa had a phone.

    Now I also have to admit that my cursive writing skills have disappeared. I could probably write in cursive form but I would really have to think about it. I've printed for more than twenty years and the printing is also getting rather rough. I've been through some old mementos here and found a couple of letters I had written. It gave me a rather strange feeling to see the evidence from my hand. So the keyboard has limited my cursive writing and printing.

    Now all this comes from a retired teacher. We taught cursive writing to the kids in the 1950's and 60's. I know these kids don't use cursive writing any more. 

    So have we lost something that is a necessary skill? Do we have something that will adequately make up for our lack of cursive writing? What's next? How will technology influence our handwriting or printing? How will our letter writing be influenced?

    There's been  an unbelievable change in the last twenty five years. 

Now I have to admit that my talented daughter wrote my poem beautiful lettering

41 comments:

  1. I still write a few letters, not everyone I know has a computer. I usually send cards with a photo on them. I like to get mail, and the only way you get mail is to send mail! I bet your cursive handwriting is beautiful! Most teachers had a wonderful hand:)

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    1. Wrong, wrong, wrong about my handwriting . It's terrible. My daughter wrote the poem in calligraphy

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  2. In truth, I can't really remember when I last wrote a letter by hand....in handwriting. Even before I had a computer, I had a portable typewriter and I typed most of my letters on it. These days when I do "write" by hand, I mostly print...not running writing.

    I have two friends who don't own or use computers, so I do type hard-copy letters to them; and I receive handwritten ones in reply from them.

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    1. There are a few who write and it's much appreciated.

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  3. Is that your poem? It is a nice poem. My handwriting has really gone downhill since I started using the computer. I find it hard to write before my fingers get too sore anyway. But I do try to write or post a few letters and cards here and there. I just hope people can make out my chicken scratch, lol.

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    1. I wrote the poem and my daughter used her calligraphy skill to write it so it looks pretty!

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    2. Oh that's nice of her to write your poem out in lovely calligraphy. Either I missed the sentence under the image in my first reading or you added it later.

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  4. People used to have their own handwriting signature. I always recognized the handwriting of my mother, father and sister. This all has gone now, I only receive sometimes a hand written postcard.

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    1. I'd forgotten about recognizing individual handwriting. It was like your own identification.

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  5. I always send thank you's for a variety of things. I have blank cards and enjoy sending a poem or personal messages.

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    1. I'm sure people appreciate a written card.

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  6. I started writing in a journal last fall and it amazed me how hard it was to start writing cursive again. I've been lax lately, but I do still know how to write in longhand. Not that I use it much. :-)

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    1. I'm surprised you don't use the word processor to write your journal.

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  7. U.S. schools often don't teach cursive writing any more, and a friend of mine has often said that the skills required to learn cursive build other mental strengths.
    My handwriting has always been a bit sketchy, and now I wonder if I could physically write for any length of time, I'm so unused to it. I remember the examinations for my Masters in English - 4 hours of straight writing. I wonder how I survived.

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    1. Our schools don't teach grammar either. That one bothers me.

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  8. That is beautiful writing. I only write my signature- any note taking I do these days tends to be in printing instead.

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    1. My daughter wrote the poem out.

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    2. My daughter wrote the poem out.

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    3. My daughter used her calligraphy skills to write out the poem

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  9. Love the poem, and the handwriting is a work of art. Like many of your commenters, I can't recall the last time I wrote a letter. Addressing a few birthday cards is as close to cursive as I get.

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    1. In one of my daughter's art classes they had a short unit on calligraphy so I will pass your comment on to her.

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  10. In my life I have written miles of text by hand - letters, diaries, school reports, essays, poems... but like you in the last twenty years there has been very little handwriting. It's mostly been keyboard writing. Kids might not be taught cursive writing these days but some of the have well-developed cursive* speech!
    *cursing

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    1. I get your cursive point. There's some pretty fancy language thrown around.

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  11. my mother and i exchanged real letters, but she's been gone for years. my sister will occasionally send a real letter - but only because she's away from wi-fi at their cabin and wants to write during down time. but that's rare, too.

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    1. I'm sure you appreciate the letters.

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  12. I used to write all the time back in he day before the Internet. Letters written almost every day to my parents and other relatives and friends back home in the UK. These days all those people are no longer there to receive letters, and e-mails have taken their place. The beautifully handwritten poem is truly lovely.

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    1. My daughter did the handwriting. A letter in the mail box is a treat.

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  13. A lot of things to think about here! It's been forever since I wrote a letter by hand. Emails and software have taken over. I do send out handwritten greeting cards, though, and I still write in cursive.

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    1. I'm amazed that you actually do cursive writing. Good for you!

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  14. I'm so used to printing things for work, I forgot how to use cursive! Let's see, the last time I wrote a letter...hmmm...

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    1. With this post I'm surprised to find that most of us do not use cursive writing anymore.

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  15. I still send an occasional handwritten note, like a thank you note. Like you, my handwriting is suffering, and even more so, my spelling. I really rely on spell check anymore.

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  16. I love your poem and I love the calligraphy. Cursive isn't even in the curriculum in my third grade granddaughter's school. I really think something valuable is lost now that we don't even teach the rudiments of handwriting.

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  17. I still have a couple elderly relatives who don't use email and now it seems such a pain to write them with pen and paper, get a stamp, and realize any news will be old by the time they receive it. Maybe we were better off when things didn't move so fast that you needed to transmit information instantly.

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  18. I may be in the minority, but I still handwrite my Christmas greetings and still send out a LOT. Even in these days of higher postage costs, e-cards, etc. I still enjoy doing things the "old-fashioned" way and doubt if I will give it up because in reality it also gives me pleasure. I also handwrite notes in cards for birthdays, anniversaries, get well, friendship...and sometimes for just no reason. You are right, Red, that so few pop do take the time to send a snail mail card or letter. I like to believe, however, that people still enjoy receiving them.

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  19. Hand written letters seem to be a thing of the past now unfortunately. I used to hand write all my Christmas letters, now they are printed on the computer but I do still always hand write in cards.

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  20. I think hand-written letters are pretty much gone. Too many computers and texting machines anymore!

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  21. Cursive writing is not taught in school anymore - I think that is a mistake. I still enjoy writing a letter now and then, however, I can type 80 or more words a minute, so mostly I type....but now and then its fun to write. I know a hand written letter is more fun to receive according to me :) That's why I still do the hand written note or letter. Nice Post Red.

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  22. Hi Red, Your daughter did a beautiful job with the calligraphy. As for cursive ... I have to wonder if any of this current group of students in school will ever grow up and want to collect old postcards? What do you think? I kind of doubt it and they may not be able to read a lot of the old cards.

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  23. Just like you, I used to enjoy writing and receiving letters, but I wouldn't dream of writing a letter these days. When I was in the Peace Corps in North Africa in the early '90s, it took two weeks for my family to receive my letters. A few years later, with the widespread introduction of the Internet, that time lapse was eliminated entirely. So much changed so fast!

    Personally, I don't lament the demise of cursive writing. If we don't need it, why teach it?

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  24. I too learned cursive writing? Now since using the computer here and using emails. My writing has been hopeless. I used to be a A student in penmanship. My friends my age who do not use the computer like I do and you. They have the most beautiful writing like it has never left them. And they send me many snail mail. Which like you. I hardly do so.

    Well did you know Red. That the schools. Universities. Print. Know one writes. My golly. I cannot imagine.

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