February 23, 2011

After a lovely bit of a heat wave--40's and 50's°F--we had a dusting of snow yesterday, melted now, but lower temperatures at night again and high 30s in the daytime.
Some of the song birds are back, though and it's a great thing to hear them singing all day long. I miss that in winter. Though in winter we have the Cardinals, Blue Jays and Chickadees stay around.
I was thinking about handwriting and art today.

Palmer Method

Did you have penmanship in elementary school? We did.
Feet flat on the floor! Hands just so... dip the nib on the black wooden pen into the ink well embedded on your desk and make the interlocking OOOOOOO's.
Then other designs and finally the alphabet over and over.
First each letter alone with it's capital and then the alphabet connected as in cursive handwriting.
We all tried so hard to make those spiraling O's perfect circles.
It was called the Palmer Method and it was taught in American schools for generations. My mother received a national award for her beautiful Palmer method handwriting when she was a child. As an adult she was often asked by people to address wedding invitations and to write names on certificates of graduation, etc.
I had the worst handwriting in the whole school until I was in the 5th grade and I decided I wanted to be a good student. So, I stopped goofing off...ok I mostly stopped.. but not completely.
Okay,   well, I didn't stop really  and I learned in 6th grade to write 5,000 word compositions for talking too much in class. That was an education in itself, boy.
But there were teachers with beautiful handwriting whom I admired and I copied from their examples. My handwriting became nicer and nicer until finally in my freshman year in high school I began to notice the penmanship of our very elegant French teacher.
She was it! And I copied it until I learned it with its little "and's" written between words on a slant.
I think computers have ruined handwriting for most children and what I see today is kids who mostly seen to print everything.
It is kind of sad because good penmanship gives a sense of pride and accomplishment and a love of beauty,

like in this Spencerian method handwriting, which is so lovely.
It is really art work isn't it?

Did you have penmanship in school? How is your handwriting?


  1. I had penmanship in school but not with ink, just pencils. I hated it. My handwriting now is not a pretty thing. My French husband has very elegant handwriting and a swirly signature.

  2. Very interesting, I never made a connection between handwritting and art.

    They didn't teach penmanship when I was in grammar school. My handwritting is atrocious.

  3. Hi Annie, I didn't have penmanship at school, but my mom taught it to me and I loved it :) Writing can sure be an art.
    My handwriting was gorgeous till I was studying (till University), but in the last 8 years I have used mainly the computer... and my handwriting is getting worst and worst. So yes, I agree with you: computers have ruined handwriting for most children.
    Have a lovely day :)

  4. Hi Annie,
    When in school I had beautiful penmanship and got A's at it but now handwriting is awful. I write like Dr's do. I guess I am always in a hurry or just don't have the patience or something?? Yikes to 30's for you! I was reading in our local paper a cold snap is coming down from the gulf of Alaska and we are expecting snow in San Francisco and snow as low as 500 FT. The coldest in over 30 years! Hope you have a lovely day! Hugs!!

  5. Having begun school early , I was 6 months younger than the rest of my schoolmates . The Palmer Method was taught in third grade by an unmarried older lady who said the only was to justify my handwriting would be to become a doctor ! Funny , by writing smaller , I had more control , but then she complained it was too small for her to read . The current legibility depends on the time allotted and the importance to the recipient .
    Keep warm and have a wonderful day !

  6. Hi Annie;

    Like you I was taught the Palmer method in school and had to "scribble" the interlocking o's with ink also. :) I was rewarded for my penmanship by writing the attendance sheet for the teacher. Now years later and computer keys, my script has changed to half printing and half script and far from neat.

    We are in a winter warning with snow and ice through tomorrow. Yucky!! ;-} Have a lovely weekend ahead my friend. Hugs

  7. Hi Annie! I had penmanship in school but with pencils. My handwriting is terrible, lol! Have a great day and weekend!

  8. I wish I was better at cursive. It's so pretty.

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  9. Hi Annie! I was always criticized in school for the way I held my pen/pencil. As a teacher of younger students I printed so often that I almost forgot cursive handwriting. My printing now is a kind of unique combination of printing and cursive. Most people say they really like it because it's easy to read yet pretty. It's almost like the writing above this comment box that says "Post a comment." The Getty Museum has some of the most amazing manuscripts and the writing is truly art! Enjoy the Oscars tonight if you watch... I can't wait! Going to get my popcorn and give thumbs up or down to the fashions, etc... :)


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