Category Archives: cursive

School’s Out for Summer!

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My two preschooler grandchildren had ‘graduation ceremonies,’ both

feeling mighty proud of themselves. They will be proceeding onward and

upward, to kindergarten! This happened last week, before my busy trip

taken to Cleveland, Ohio for Memorial Day weekend.

It was a fun event for Marley, since her preschool had a family picnic

held at Blue Limestone Park last Wednesday.

For Micah, it was a formal ceremony on Thursday evening, with his mother

and brother attending. Micah’s father was sick, barely able to get out of bed.

The only one in the household of four who was able to outwit the flu, or flee

from the sickness, had been Skyler.

Since I was heading to Cleveland to see my Mom, I had mentioned to the whole

family that I hoped the children would help to decorate my Mom’s corkboard

or bulletin board. I regularly ‘collect artwork donations’ so this was just

a ‘reminder notice,’ via texting.

When I had asked the children to help make ‘Get Well’ cards for my mother,

they were very cooperative. The parents all said the children expressed

concern and sent loving wishes for their Great Grandmother.

Marley made one with hearts, rainbows and some swirly lines. Micah made

his with an alligator in a swamp.

Marley’s picture had lots of “M’s” made into hearts by adding “V’s” to the

bottom of the “M’s.” She explained the process to me when I stopped by.

When I asked her to please add her name to it, since she is quite good at

writing her name, she put her little hands on her hips and told me,

“Don’t you know? I am out of school for the summer! I don’t have to do

any homework!”

I didn’t say a word.

Marley’s Mommy, my daughter in law, Trista piped up in a loud voice,

“Marley!”

Then she displayed her stern “Mommy look” on her face, peeking around

the corner at us at the kitchen table.

Marley picked up a crayon and added her name to her colorful artistry.

Micah, while at his home, had used watercolors and had had his Mom add

the word, “Alligator” with an arrow pointing to the area of the paper

which represented that critter. Then, Mom had printed, “Get Well, Great

Grammie O.!” Micah’s signature left a little to be desired (in clarity),

under the message.

Again, I did not say a word.

Makyah’s artwork came off my refrigerator since she had been napping at

the time of my visit. It had curly cues and little attempts at letters,

with some “M’s” included. It was mostly in purple and pink hues. She is

three and my Mom knew this was her ‘best work!’

Skyler had recently written a book report, which he felt Great Grammie O.

would enjoy reading. It had a drawing of Dr. Seuss, along with the words,

“Hop on Pop.” I thought the drawing and report would brighten her day and

said just that to Sky. He hugged me a lot, I hugged him back. I felt bad

that he had been the only ‘well’ person in the household, possibly he may

have wished for more fun and excitement. He was getting ready to head to

a friend’s when I stopped by.

Lara and Landen had also included their own personal messages, along with

handwritten cards. Both had expressed concern about my Mom’s hospital stay,

including different little symbols of this in their artwork. A thermometer

and a red cross on one’s card and a hospital gurney (or it could have been

a bed, I didn’t ask!) Lara can write in cursive, although it is not part of

her school curriculum. She had made very elaborate letters, saying this

sincere message,

“I love you, Great Grammie O!! I hope you feel better and your leg will

heal soon!! Get Well Soon! Love, Lara.”

I had stopped by, the week preschool had ended but the older ‘school kids’

had until yesterday, May 28, 2014, to complete their year out. They were

probably yelling and hooting a lot, celebrating that marvelous feeling of:

“FREEDOM!!”

Oh, how I remember how the endless days of summer seemed to stretch before

us, when we heard the final school bell ring and we rushed out the school’s

doors into Summer! Doesn’t that make you feel nostalgic?

When I was a teacher, the principal one year, over the loud speaker in

our Middle School, played, “School’s Out for Summer!” Alice Cooper’s

“escape anthem” was released in 1972! I remember the year it came out,

thinking this is a perfect way to celebrate getting out of school!

When I read the special message that was given to Lara, on her last day

at Schultz Elementary, I got teary eyed. Lara’s venturing onward into

Willis Intermediate School. She had a “Clap Out” and also, Graduation

Cake from completing her five years at the school. The next building

will house the Fifth and Sixth graders from Smith, Schulz, Conger,

and Carlisle Elementary Schools. It is a “Big Deal” to be moving ‘up

in the world!’

I am sure you will enjoy the following poem that was given to her parents,

with the poem typed on colored cardboard, a flower with a picture of the

child as the center of the flower.

In this case, Lara. It is a message that also applies to her, since the

words encompass so much in their simplicity.

It was a beautiful, endearing message from Lara’s teacher to her and her

Parents.

Mrs. Travis had been her teacher, from Fall until Spring. It was more than,

“Congratulations on Graduating Grade School!” The poem is a treasure to

remember, one that you may wish to believe in its powerful words, too.

“I’ve worked with your flower,

And helped it to grow.

I’m returning it now,

But I want you to know…

This flower is precious,

As dear as can be.

Love it, take care of it,

And you will see…

A bright new bloom,

With every day.

It grew and blossomed,

In such a wonderful way.

In September, just a bud,

January~ a bloom;

Now a lovely blossom,

I’m returning in June.

Remember, this flower,

As dear as can be,

Though rightfully yours,

Part will always belong to me!”

Signed,

Mrs. Travis

“Let’s Start at the Very Beginning”… of Seasonal Cards

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I love the first six words of this title, does anyone know why? It refers

to a famous song that has recently been remade by Carrie Underwood… I

will tell you the answer at the end of this post!

When Henry Cole, a London businessman decided to create the first Christmas

card, he is given credit for this undertaking in 1843. He originated this

card idea to his fellow business connections. Then, three years later,

it became a tradition or custom having spread itself around in big circles.

During English postal reform, 1846, this cost only one penny to send a

Christmas card to someone.

The very first card was commissioned by Henry Cole to the designer/artist,

John Calcott Horsley, of the Royal Academy of Arts (Fine Arts). There were

three panels on this first select card, two panels that held two of the

oldest Christmas traditions. These are also British in origin, “Feeding

the Hungry” and “Clothing the Needy.” In the middle of this tri-fold

card were the simple words, “A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to You.”

This message is still one of the most popular ones, on Christmas cards, of

all time. The Hallmark Historical Collection of Cards has only two copies

of the “First Christmas Card,” along with over 100,000 printed artifacts

from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

When researching this lovely subject, which gives me special memories of

different styles, I learned that the cards do reflect the current times.

During the Depression years, there were American flags and wishes or

hopes for “better times.” During the War Periods, the words “Across the

Miles” and “Missing You,” became quite popular.

During the more modern “Cold War times” there was an increase of sharpened

wit and a wider demand for more humorous Christmas cards.

Throughout all years, the most popular Christmas card of all time would

be one with angels or the Nativity scene. The Baby Jesus in a Manger is

a sight that means so much to the Christians that are celebrating the

birthday of the Son of God.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s the designs reflected the times again, with

Flower Children, Peace Symbols and the First Manned Moon Landing. The

creative artists worked the Christmas message into the designs. I seem

to remember during this period of time, my parents ordering their

Christmas cards from UNICEF. One particular card’s design had the Peace

dove with its olive branch and the words, “Peace on Earth” on the outside

and the enclosed message being: “Goodwill to Men. Happy New Year.”

In the early 1980’s, a surge for a new sports-oriented society drove the

card designers or artists to depict Santa in a jogging suit with running

shoes on. This was our “fitness craze” beginning! I remember the cards

that my parents received including a relaxed Santa and a reindeer on the

beach in an old-fashioned red longjohn looking bathing suit. Maybe my

memory is playing tricks on that one! Ha Ha! There have been cards with

such product placement as Coca Cola or Budweiser beers, maybe some

other countries had ales or liquor, as in a toast given to celebrate

the upcoming New Year. Of course, there are the popular children’s

cartoon characters and current animated movies that make it on the

annual Christmas cards being sent out.

There have also, throughout the television era, (which it is still

going on, right?) “spoofs” on the T.V. shows and commercials were

worked into the Christmas card department! With new innovations, and

different accessibilities being included, there are certainly Braille

Christmas and other holiday cards to be purchased. I know the man down

the hallway, David, told me he cherishes “hearing” from his blind friends

he made in the Columbus School for the Blind. He also appreciates his

family members who order these special cards. He has an orange cat who

likes to try to sneak into my apartment that I told David he reminds

me of Garfield! I asked him if he had any residual eyesight when he

was younger, he answered he loved Garfield in the Sunday comics

when he was in elementary school. He is “nearly blind” he says but

is able to tap his way around the apartment building using his cane

and has a woman who comes in to help him once a week, doing his

laundry and she (Linda) put up a Christmas tree for him. I peeked

in and told him when he gets a Braille card to please bring it

down, since I had struggled with that course while in the Master’s

program at OSU. (I have an A average but received a “C-” in this

course, due to not being able to go beyond Elementary level in

my typing Braille. That heavy typewriter and taking the tests

in Braille, was almost the “death of me!”

The various holidays celebrated around the world have been shown in our

Christmas cards. My cousin, Heather, married a Jewish man in the 90’s,

so from that point on, we sent both a Christian card and a Jewish one

celebrating Hanukkah. My parents also had friends, the Lezbergs, from

when I was in third grade through their retirement, who received the

general box of holiday card, that was before the Jewish individual

cards were bought for Jerry, Heather’s husband and then, one sent

to Dad’s good NASA friend, Herb, and his family. I am not sure if

there is a timeline for when Kwanzaa cards came into being, I did

not see this in the articles I read. I am sure there is a historical

reference somewhere for this!

I wonder, as some of my friends have recently discussed this subject,

will technology take away the fun and custom of sending Christmas

cards? I know you can send e-cards and email family newsletters.

There are also, “walls” on Facebook, where you can post a general

“Happy Holidays” or “Enjoy the Festivities!”

But, I hope and truly believe there will be some of us that will

still buy the boxes of Christmas cards, sit down and address them,

write a personal message, possibly write a family newsletter,

copy this off to send in numbers or like I do, write each family

a personal note on Christmas decorated stationery. Which I enclose

in each of the cards I send off with Christmas stamps and little

seasonal stickers sealing them closed. Do you know why it is worth

the effort? To me it is so special and I get teary-eyed to see

the letters and cards coming to me. I feel like I am having a

“visit” with them, different from the phone calls and the

hurried notes that sometimes get written on birthday and

Easter cards.

There is something “magical” about Christmas

cards, or is it my age?

What do you think about this age-old tradition? Is it

going “by the wayside?”

I will make one more appeal or declaration Why it should

not be discontinued, this holiday tradition has managed

to “weather the storms” of wars, economic hard times, and

social changes, including more cultural beliefs and

embracing the changes.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, those six words start the

song, “Do Re Mi” from “The Sound of Music!” I feel that

Carrie Underwood did a sweet, innocent portrayal of a

nun who falls for Captain Von Trapp. She sang every bit

as well as Julie Andrews and I know this is almost

“blasphemous,” but I enjoyed it better than any other

portrayal of Maria. This is also, a true story, which I

read while in elementary school and my Grandmother Mattson,

who came to America from Germany, encouraged me to read.

It is okay if you are on a totally opposite side from my

way of thinking or have a different take on this custom of

exchanging cards… Really, it is!

Let me know!

Hugs to All and no stamp needed!

Dropping Penmanship

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“The pen is mightier than the sword.” Somehow, this makes me sad

that I didn’t write this in September, back to school time. But I did

know that penmanship was dropped out of the “Common Core.”

State standards, or school curriculum requirements, no longer require

students to be taught handwriting, cursive or what we called

“penmanship.” I liked to write in my nice blocked off letters in my early

primary school years. Making sure the circles that were made for the “d”

and the “b” didn’t “roll off the page!

I remember watching teachers letters forming on the board while

trying to copy their letters to the “T!” I was a little mimic, Mom said I

imitated the teacher’s moves in ballet class with some humorous

flourishes. I tended to want to add flourishes to my cursive once we

learned how to do that form of writing. I liked my “writing handbooks”

and our journals that we would write our thoughts or follow an

assignment. As a sixth grade Language Arts teacher, I liked taking those

precious journals filled with my students’ thoughts and reflections.

There was a lot of “angst” expressed in their writings. Somehow, if

they had been simply written on a computer and then, printed off, the

impact and power of their words, may not have been driven home.

Of course, schools have not immediately stopped these procedures. I

just can see the day happening, now that it is not “required.” There will

be no tests and no answering to anybody about this area of expertise!

Mom found a really nice article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about

a man who still makes lovely designed pens. HIs name is Brian Gray,

he has a “machine shop” where he makes custom pens. He is a “pen

maker.” There are still a wide variety of people who are interested

in purchasing the hand designed fountain pens with a variety of “nibs.”

There are still beautiful Pelikan pens that have a pelican engraved on

it. I think Cross pens are wonderful tools, this article mentioned by

Joe Crea, a reporter, that he considers them, “reliable tools for everyday

use and inexpensive enough” that he wouldn’t “flip out if they’re lost.”

Joe Crea mentions that he still has in his possession, a “vintage Schaeffer,”

a wedding gift to his parents in the late 1940’s. He has a Mont-blanc

Meisterstuck Classique, a gift from his wife on his 40th birthday.

As writers, how many of you jot your thoughts on note cards or paper

in a notebook, before proceeding to the computer to write your posts

as you blog? I still write notes, since I carry them in my purse, they are

on small slips of paper, either stapled together if I am at home, or

clipped together with a bobby pin or paper clip. I go to the library, spill

the words onto the computer, trying to “beat the clock” before the

next person needs to use the computer. I feel blessed that so far, my

“well has not dried.” (Reference to the days when I would use an ink

well. I no longer use in my pen and ink drawings that form of artistic

usage of ink. I used thin point or extra fine point “Sharpies.” They still

resist the watercolors I apply in some of my drawings and children’s

name drawings.

I do like Joe Crea’s line thtaz summed up the downfall of pen and ink

usage,

“Sure, there were issues that drove many users to abandon their

fountain pens: leaking, smudging, staining. Scratchy nibs. Uneven,

stop-start ink flow. The agony of losing a pricey pen.”

How often in your life have you treasured a special pen? Has one come

to you in a gift box, laid on a bed of black felt, maybe in a set? It was

common in my “old days” to receive them, once you graduated from a

level of school, if you had a boss who wanted to reward you or as a special

occasion gift.

The sadness for me is that I can see the days when we won’t appreciate

those scrolling letters. Nor the artistic and creative ways that people write.

There would not need to be writing analysis books and experts who could

tell your personality, simply through the way you wrote.

History of the words “the pen is mightier than the sword:”

George Whetstone (1582)

Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” (1602)

Robert Burton (1621)

Thomas Jefferson 1796) to Thomas Paine, “Go on doing with your pen

what in other times was done with the sword.”

The person attributed to “coining the actual phrase” was Edward Bulwer-

Lytton, (1839), in his play, “Richelieu, Or the Conspiracy.”

His words in the play were:

“True, This!-

Beneath the rules of men entirely great

The pen is mightier than the sword.

Behold the arch-enchanters wand! Itself a nothing.

But taking the master-hand

To paralyse the Caesars and to strike

the loud earth breathless-

Take away the sword- states can be saved.”