Upon hearing Tyler Perry give credit for his writing beginnings by suggestions of journaling. What an Aha! moment, as I realize having seen that same show my own journals were begun. Over the years writing is like taking a nice long cool breath on Winter’s day. To inhale a tiny germ of thought where imagined characters live out and act out their lives. Bringing to mind forgotten tidbits of how my Mother would smile and all troubles left the room. That she listened to soap opera dramas on the radio long before actually seeing them come to life in the living room on an old black and white television with rabbit ears wrapped in aluminum foil. She was ‘in love’ with the singer Tom Jones and a great fan of Moms Mabley, Phyllis Diller, and Lena Horne’s music from back in the day. Real old school music come back on the fringes of Beyonce’ singing Etta James
My oldest sister ‘B’ used to put a straightening comb to Ma’s hair and give it some curls or a wave. She and Daddy went to local clubs stepping out into the night, away from the screams and hollering of eight kids wanting - something.
It’s fifty years since Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, and the facts of life for those days are we kids took it for granted we didn’t have to use rear entrances. Walking through front doors of stores and theaters as if problems never existed. Going into a stores dressing room and trying on clothing before they’re bought. The Hub, Peoples, J.C Penny’s or the Five and Ten Cents store were all places where no signs of racial division were displayed. You knew without signs that some restaurants and stores are off limits. You knew that people of color did NOT use the skating rink - you just didn’t because we are unwelcome.
In recalling those fragile days of the 60’s as our nation sought ways for growing social change, its a fact more doors open than stay closed to folks of color. From where we sat on public buses, to whether or not we could even ride the school bus in the first place. To where we sat - front , middle, or back seats on the bus. equality spoke for all who died in violence in effort we can have choice in refusal or acceptance of what’s considered the norm. It’s because of those essential strides made by our parents, our grand-parents and other family members joined by complete strangers to prove civil rights, justice and equality is claimed by all mankind. Women. Children. Men. Kind teens and children who realize that we all must look out for one another in order that man continue upon paths heading into a future blooming with infinite possibilities. Progress said, expect the unexpected and welcome all the gifts created from toiling fields of what if, maybe and why not. Educated children will groom themselves a place among those who are aware of possibilities. If not all at least some - while its been found those who remain unfed and malnourished because they’ve failed in quenching their thirst for education. Expanding ones mind will in turn expand ones horizon. Unless you don’t have any inkling of what that’s supposed to mean. Its sorta like learning how to write in cursive when by today’s standards have our children addicted to pushing buttons. You want answers? sit before a computer screen and push a series of buttons and search engines provide reasonable answers. Pushing those buttons don’t require much thought just the correct sequence. We’re teaching our children how to surround themselves with easy. Uncomplicated. If it take sup too much of ones precious time than we send the message its too hard. Children have no way to cypher through problem solving skills. Their way to fix any problem is to get huffed up and start a fight. Verbal. Or physical. They use this as only way out of a tough spot - cuss, fight, or lie! That’s not good for the long haul which becomes path ones life path is set upon. Wouldn’t it better suit our youth to enable they learn how to be compassionate towards one another? Instead of everyone following a trail of lemmings over a cliff. Throughout the course of our nations history there exists an aura of instances our Founding Fathers put forth best efforts in crating these grand United States of America. Land of the brave. Home of the free. With all its purple mountains majestic sights found in each of those flourished 50 states. Its written about and signed with a flourish of cursive writing to identify its creators. Cursive writing is in the creases of every movement and movie script detailing birth of this nation. Children over hundreds of years could see these letters from A to Z, perched on the top ledge of every chalk board in every school room from Washington state all the way over to the New England states. From Alaska down through those lower forty-eight states. And across the ocean to Hawaii. Those letters proud warriors of a great learning experience which meant in the future a child will be able to string those cursive letters together and write down their thoughts, or a grocery list, perhaps a long over due letter to a loved one or simply sign ones name upon legal documents. Maybe even one day write that illusive great American novel to win a Pulitizer Prize in literature. Cursive writing is as much a part of our nations historical value as any war the U. S. of A/ fought. There’s more power in the written words today than there ever was and sad fact that many of our children are unable to read or write in cursive. Sadder even more is that our school children will no longer be taught how to use this powerful tool. So many men, women and yes even children have died violent deaths for accomplishing a long sought after goal of being able to read and write cursive. Or printing. Its not hard and certainly not time consuming as part of the learning process.
Printing is printing and rally no big deal in grand scheme of things. Pushing buttons on a key pad is okay and gets the job done - however not everyone has the luxury of being able to afford being wired to the internet. Not everyone is tuned into the way technology ‘buttons’ have become our normal. Yet this particular bit of ‘normal’ isn’t connecting our society the way the handwritten word has over the centuries. Why? Because we’ve tossed out the baby with the bathwater. Along with not teaching cursive writing has gone our correct use of punctuation - now downgraded to ‘emoticons’. How do we communicate with one another or people from across the country or abroad the world when we’ve given up the (of one of the) things we’ve all got in common. The knowledge of the written word and the reading and understand of it as it flows from raised pencils and pens. If a child in school is learning to print words while also learning to read, the next logical step in this process is learning cursive writing. We do our children more harm than good by denial of this gift. Most times when our youth attend school and make out class schedules there’s a lot of whining about ever using Science, Trig, English Literature, or some other burdensome class, in their futures. One thing is sure and certain, cursive is one area of ones learning experience that WILL be used on regular basis. Just because the class of 2020 hasn’t been taught, doesn’t mean in 2020 cursive will be obsolete! The world isn’t going to toss such valid knowledge aside regardless of how tech savvy folks may become.
Once upon a time long ago and back in the day when educators were more inclined towards students leaving school having learned something to take away from the experience for years to come. Usually math. Or English Literature stories having a life lesson at its core. Do unto others had such a lingering affect as the cursive writing classes taken in grade school. There was no way students were getting out of elementary school without knowing how to read and write cursive. There was a broad grin of pride worn once this ‘can’t’ live without it class was mastered. Sorta like office practice - this class a proven triple threat offering typing (not keyboarding or hunt and peck as there definitely is a difference), shorthand, and the nuts and bolts of office machines. In typing you learned correct finger placement upon the keyboard and each finger has its own specific set of home keys and corresponding keys as well. you learned how to set tabs for making lists used for numerous columns. How to use the numbers for adding or subtraction. Multiplication and division. You could make foot notes for those time consuming reports for Civics or Problems of Democracy classes. There were few shortcuts and even then you had to be close to being an honors student to get maximum use of everything a type writer has to offer. There was no spell check so a student actually did have to know how to spell across the board. It all went out the window, however, if you didn’t memorize your keyboard and more than four or five spelling errors on a typed page was enough to have you failing a time trial - as the object is to make zero mistakes in a specific amount of time - minutes. The perfectionist is the typist able to type ‘x’ words a minute with no errors. No mistakes from start to finish. In Shorthand the object is to be able to understand squiggles (professional word) swirls and curlicues that make absolute sense when read aloud. And you had to be able to read everyone else’s shorthand. There were no crazy shortcuts here either as every squiggle, curlicue and aarc has definite meaning to spell out definite words spoken as we students wrote along. The entire alphabet, numbers and even punctuation has its place in the world of shorthand written words. Taking these classes meant you’d be able to have a boss or anyone else dictate a letter or other document and you’d be getting it all in shorthand. Using a ‘real’ ink pen of course. No bics allowed. That pen had better have a nib on it or Mrs Freshwater is going to be wanting to know why it didn’t. Well, techinically its a fountain pen required and you’d best not make mistake of running out of ink during an assignment… let’s just say there’s no ballpoint pens in this writing called shorthand. Its a language demanding a pen nib perfect for the intricate details found