Among the other disappearing virtues from my childhood is decent penmanship. We were drilled on handwriting throughout elementary school. First we were taught to print in a block style on wide ruled paper. Then, just when we had been given a chance to master that, they sprung cursive on us. Cursive was not intuitive and the large chart at the front of the classroom demonstrated the correct way to form each letter. Interestingly, the capital Q shown above was required when I was in school but seems to have disappeared.
I have dreadful handwriting. I like to think it is genetic. My father was a commissioner and had to sign hundreds of bond certificates. He actually had to testify that, despite how it looked, that really was his signature. My maternal grandfather had nearly illegible handwriting. I never made the transition from block print to cursive, and my writing is some kind of quirky, but unreadable, blend of the two. Fortunately, I was able to read all the handwriting of my students, no matter how dreadful, since I had practiced by having to read my own!
Unfortunately we were graded on penmanship. My failing grades were consistent throughout school. I failed both penmanship and deportment. Deportment. There’s another term I am happy to forget!