The Lost Art of Cursive Writing

My son has about a month-and-a-half left of fourth grade.  So if it hasn’t happened by now, I doubt it will happen at all.

And by “it,” I mean learning to write in cursive.

When I taught fourth grade, my students had already learned the basics of cursive the year before in third grade.  We continued to practice, because practice makes better, and I did require some of their assignments to be completed in cursive writing.

Last year, my son didn’t learn cursive writing in third grade.  So during last year’s summer vacation, I spent time with my son, teaching him how to write his first name in cursive.  He writes it beautifully. 

But we still have the rest of his name to learn, the rest of the alphabet to practice.  That will happen during this year’s summer vacation.

Click here to read an essay I wrote several years ago for titled “The Value of Teaching Cursive.”


The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, March 2018

Here in Los Angeles, we don’t have seasons the same way other parts of the country have seasons.  But when I asked my ten-year-old son to name his favorite season, he told me it was spring.  When I asked him why, he said, “Because it’s my birthday.  And because it’s the best weather.  Not too anything.”

I knew what he meant.  Generally, spring is the “not-too-hot and not-too-cold” season.  And my son’s birthday (which is the same day as my mom’s birthday) lands in the  spring.

This year, though, was different.  This year, my son turned 10!  And while his birthday was a great spring day, there were plenty of dreary winter-like thoughts invading my mind.  It prompted me to write “When Dismay About My Illness Keeps Me Stuck in a ‘Winter-Like’ Mindset” which you can read on The Mighty by clicking here.  (And please don’t forget to share it on social media).

Eat Cake

I wanted a guaranteed feel-good type of book to read so I turned to my bookcase and selected Jeanne Ray’s Eat Cake.  I vaguely remembered the storyline, so I knew I would enjoy re-visiting these characters.  What I hadn’t anticipated was just how much I enjoyed the book, and how much I learned from it.

Here are a few passages that really resonated with me:

Cakes have gotten a bad rap.  People equate virtue with turning down dessert.  There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake.  But that isn’t a person with discipline, that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy.  A slice of cake never made anybody fat.  You don’t eat the whole cake.  You don’t eat a cake every day of your life.  You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious.  You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that’s safe, uncomplicated, without stress.  A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding.  A cake is what’s served on the happiest days of your life.

My mother was a teacher, and when I say that, I don’t simply mean it was the way she made her living.  She was a teacher in her soul and found that inside every action there was the opportunity for instruction.”

Nobody likes to think they need to be rescued and everybody is grateful when it happens.”

It was worth everything, that moment, that song.  It did the very thing that music can do when it is at its best:  It elevated us and healed us and showed us how to be our better selves.”

I never knew that people could be afraid of good news too.  I realized that good news took you places you didn’t know anything about.  It changed everything as much as bad news did.” 

Everything changes.  Sometimes when your life has been going along the same way for a long time you can forget that.  You think that every day is going to be the same, that everyone will come home for dinner, that we will be safe, that life will roll along.  Sometimes the changes are the kind you can’t do anything about: Someone gets sick, someone dies, and you look back on the past and think, Those were the days of my happy life.  But other times things change and all you have to do is find a way to change with them.  It’s when you stay in exactly the same spot when everything around you is moving that you really get into trouble.  You still have a chance if you’re willing to run fast enough, if you’re willing to forget everything that you were absolutely positive was true and learn to see the world in a different way.

A Little Self-Promotion

I’m not all that good at self-promotion, but for writers, it’s important.  It’s important to let readers know what you’ve written.  And why they should read it.  So on that note:

Friday, April 6th is Fresh Tomato Day.  And I thought I’d use that unique holiday to spread the word about Tomato Slices — An Anthology of Tomato Stories, Poetry, Art, and Recipes.  I don’t like tomatoes, have never liked tomatoes (even though I like ketchup and pasta sauce), so I originally didn’t think I’d have an essay to write about tomatoes.  But, it turns out I did, and it is included in this anthology.

Additionally, The Mighty recently published a personal essay of mine about what my life is like as an “undercover disabled woman.”  Please, help me get the word out and help share it on social media.  Hopefully after reading my essay, you’ll find yourself behaving a bit more patiently when waiting for someone who looks “fine” to slowly cross the street.