As the disgorging of content from my parents’ house continues, I’ve recently been presented with a large folder of school memorabilia — including ALL my school reports, good work certificates, several notable assignments, an abundance of early childhood creative writings (which I may share in some other post), even a maths exam and some science assignments (what was my mum thinking?!).
Naturally I’m pondering which of these documents etc to keep and which to throw away… Do I really need any of it? I haven’t looked at any of this stuff in over 25 years. Moreover, I had completely forgotten the existence of swimming certificates, dance exam certificates, piano exam certificates. Should I just flick through them now and be done with them? (Or will I get it all out in another 20 years and reminisce one last time?)
I don’t have answers to these questions yet. But I have hoarding instincts, and my thought processes are heading in the direction of: It wouldn’t take a large box to store this stuff, and once it’s gone I’ll never get any of it back again…
But then again, I’ll probably never want to look at it again either.
Nonetheless, it has been entertaining to read what my various teachers wrote about my reading and writing ability when I was young. And the thing which has me most entertained is all the comments from my grade 5 and 6 teacher (I had the same teacher for two years) about how much my handwriting sucked.
Yep, my handwriting.
Early on, my handwriting proved quite popular with the teachers — Always very neat and of a good size… correct formation of letters… blessed with a beautiful style…
And then — She has made the transition to pen very successfully… Her handwriting is a pleasure to read…
After that it goes downhill. Age 10 — Ellen is a dedicated and consistent worker who only needs to tidy her handwriting… Care must be taken at all times with neatness (and the following of instructions)…
And then at age 11 — Ellen is endeavouring to develop her own style of handwriting. As a consequence styles differ from page to page and cause her work to look messy. She must try to decide on a style so that her work can regain the neatness of old.
Seriously, my handwriting is STILL really variable, depending on my mood. A quick flick through my writing journal proves it.
But all this focus on handwriting 30 years ago has made me think about how things have changed. The fact is that hardly anyone other than me has to read my handwriting these days. Birthday cards… the odd handwritten note for a colleague or friend… Er…
And it makes me wonder how much pressure is put on today’s kids to have neat handwriting? It seems they make the transition to using computers in schools so early these days… Do kids still transition to cursive script and then get ‘pen licences’ like we did? How does it work now, when 10-year old students are handing in assignments all typed up on a computer?
And I’m curious to know whether Grade 6s are marked on ‘handwriting and presentation of written work’? [I got a B for all my exploratory efforts.]
It’s fascinating to think about the role of handwriting — and the simple process of writing with a pen — in the modern world. As a writer I have an affinity for pen and paper, and I believe I think better with a pen — all my planning and note-taking is still done by hand. The concept of taking notes directly into a computer seems alien to me.
But still it’s rare that anyone other than me ever has to read my handwriting, so as long as I can decipher it, I guess that’s all that matters. Right?
What do you think about your handwriting?