Memories of Penmanship

Our first-grade teacher watched us practice cursive letters

using an exceptionally long thick pencil.  We drew swirls

until our small hands became accustomed to holding

the pencil as we wrote hesitant letters.  Serious faces.

Sit up straight.  Hold the pencil this way.  Do not hunch

over the desk when writing.  I wonder how left-handers

fared in a mainly right-handed world?  Our son belonged

to the former and I to the latter group.  When we lived in

Germany, our son attended first grade.  Our daughter was in

Kindergarten – for ages 3-5 yrs.  In town I had to purchase a

special lined paper for first grade writing attempts.  The lines were

spaced farther apart – four lines to write cursive precisely.

Waving a large piece of wallpaper, our son came

home from school holding it.  New idea to me.

He promptly turned it to the blank side and began

making swirls.  Each day he came home with a new piece

of wallpaper until the entire alphabet had been practiced.

The teacher walked around the classroom observing her

pupils as they attempted to write in cursive penmanship.

Thus, it was with a new generation. Sadly, cursive is not taught

in most US schools today.  When I taught German, my

high school students were awestruck at the beautiful

German penmanship in the pen pal letters they received.

In return I had my students write in cursive.  Some

attempts were better than others.  In reading historical

texts such as our constitution or in Germany with perusing

historical documents like birth certificates, it becomes

necessary to be able to read the script as a translator for example.

There is great merit in learning the invaluable skill of cursive writing.

In elementary school in Massachusetts, penmanship was a class.

In first grade in Germany, pencils were used. In subsequent

years, fountain pen and ink were used. Not a ballpoint pen.

This entry was posted in cursive writing, fountain pen, German Schools, penmanship, S. schools, US schools, wallpaper and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Memories of Penmanship

  1. Emily says:

    Proud of my artwork! Thanks for sharing haha! Wonderful memories and photos. Love this!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Emily, thank you for your lovely comment! You and your brother were/are quite talented artists, musicians and great with German and French. Glad you enjoyed the entry. Be well and have a good weekend. oxox 🙂 🙂


  2. Russell says:

    Wonderful memories and. I recall the beautiful handwriting!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I still love cursive writing! Taught it to my students so they could read my notes to them… Not in the curriculum, but they loved learning and writing. Also, had the cursive alphabet posted across front of room. Thanks for sharing, Mary Ann!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bette, I love your comment. Thank you. All my classrooms had the cursive alphabet posted across the front of the room when I was in elementary school. So glad to hear someone else did too. Sometimes I handed out sheets with the alphabet to keep in a notebook. Those were the days! Be well. Enjoy the weekend. oxox

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Erica/Erika says:

    Hi Mary Ann, I recall the days of penmanship and cursive letters. Hausaufgaben – Homework. I recall the first time I was allowed to use an ink pen. Oh, my goodness! How precious, saving some of the schoolwork and artwork. You have inspired me to find the box I have tucked away. Recently I have sent away a few hand written notes. My penmanship may not be the best, yet, the heartfelt sentiments are still shared. Your photos are beautiful – a Winter Wonderland. And I especially love the family photo. A beautiful post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Erika (Erica), thank you for such kind words about my blog post. As for saving the school work and art, I have kept both of the Schulranzen my children used in Germany. Whenever I wanted to change the pace in my German classes, I brought these in. When my son’s first grade class sent Christmas cards they had made to the class in the US, the teacher laminated them to use on bulletin boards. She returned them to us when we came back the following year. So very kind and thoughtful of her. When our children used the fountain pens in school, I wondered how they made corrections. Of course, I learned of a great German invention called the Tintenkiller and how it erased ink. Find your box and enjoy the memories. The family photo included my children and my support teachers for the first Fulbright Year abroad. What an adventure for them. Enjoy the weekend. Snow still falls at our end of the pond. 🙂 🙂


  5. You have such a distinctive style, so easy to read and with stunning photos.

    Liked by 2 people

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