Lefthander has a little trouble learning to write with dip ink pens in fifth grade back in 1953.

by James K. Sayre

Learning to print in upper and lower case block letters in pencil was no problem. But, around fifth grade or so (back about 1953 or so), we were forced to learn cursive handwriting (with the letters mostly connected together) with dip ink pens. It was probably not fun for right-handed kids, but for left-handers it was a real mess. Either you lifted your hand above the writing line (painful) or scrunched your hand below the writing line. I guess that the good ball point pens had not been invented back then, or at least they were not available to conservative school districts (and schools tended to be on the trailing edge of most everything back in the 1950s).

Anyway, I developed a strong aversion to writing cursively, and tried to stick with printing with a pencil as much as possible. In 9th grade I took a typing class as an elective and managed to fail it. I just was not the fast and not that accurate. About 90% of the class were girls, and some of them were aiming to become secretaries or clerk-typists, I suppose. Anyway, I repeated the typing class in summer school and passed, barely. Slowly, I learned to type my own high school papers on a manual typewriter. This was decades before the age of personal computers. My aversion to learning how to spell correctly was slowly disappearing as I realized the importance of have a strong vocabulary in high school.

Nowadays, practically the only cursive handwriting I do is to sign checks or other documents. However, I have taught myself to print with my right hand, a useful skill...




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