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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Monday, November 21, 2005

writing

First grade started for me in 1947 at a very rural location, about 8 miles from a town of any size. We didn’t have kindergarten, pre-k, or pre-pre k, everybody started in first grade. This is a period of my life that I don’t remember very much about, with one exception. At Christmas time, my first grade teacher gave me the first present I remember getting – a small rubber car with wheels that actually rolled – this was before plastic was available.

There must have been other presents before that – but the car was the first one I remember, and it was actually store-bought! Other presents were homemade by Mom, Dad or other siblings, or so I seem to recall. It would seem that I should be able to remember the name of a teacher that caused such a profound memory to be implanted in my small brain – but such is not the case.

The three “Rs” were taught and I was fascinated with this whole new world of learning that had opened to me. The main fascination seemed to be reading, particularly a wonderful story about someone that got a new rocking horse to replace an old broken one. Then someone repaired and repainted the old one to look just like the new one – this really rocked my world. OK, it wasn’t “Treasure Island”, but still mesmerizing to me.

We moved from that area to the huge metropolitan area of Cleveland, Tennessee – about 30 miles north of Chattanooga – and I finished first grade there. It was either in this grade or the first part of second that my teacher dropped a bombshell into my young life. Of course I knew my alphabet and how to “write”, but what I “wrote” was printing and not cursive. My teacher commented that by this time I should have learned how to write cursive and did not think as highly of my rural teacher as I did.

In a short while I was with the program and could “write” the way she wanted me to. My cursive was fairly acceptable and could be read by most people – with a little study time. I don’t remember being overly impressed – or depressed – by my penmanship, and it did get me through high school. It was after I joined the army when the subject again came back to the forefront of my mind – the location was Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.

After writing a letter – to my folks or otherwise – I reread it and was not pleased at all with the scrawling cursive letters or the readability thereof. This was at a time in my life when I wasn’t necessarily my favorite person – due to a long-standing battle with low self-esteem – and I was convinced that I needed to improve myself in any way I could. I remembered the short drafting course from back in Junior High (Middle School now) and set out to neatly print all my correspondence.

Even with this new, more readable concept, I was not pleased until it was as close to perfect as I could make it. This necessitated writing and rewriting several times and made letter writing a very arduous process. Even after purchasing a computer – circa 1997 – all my letters were still written by hand – even though I had starting writing email via keyboard.

Even today I’m not quite sure of the reason for that because I had learned to handle the keyboard – in Junior High, of course – and had Microsoft Word available to me. Maybe it was a basic distrust of new-fangled machinery and methods. Then came the fall of ’03 – I mean the literal fall off a ladder and the resulting torn rotator cuff of the right shoulder.

The injury, surgical repairs and rehab caused a major rethinking of the writing process. My disability forced me into using the software product that I had dodged for several years. Now, no matter how sloppily I type, it comes out looking good – or the letters do anyway – only the thought processes might seem warped. The down side would be that spell check is always nagging me about something.

If you can read this, thank the nagging things in my life. If the thoughts conveyed seem rather odd at times, blame me. If you see any joy between the lines, thank my loving Heavenly Father - He is my supplier. ec

3 Comments:

Blogger RedBark said...

That was a pleasant read. It is eternally satisfying to simply observe. In this case what happened to you and how it impacted you. Thank you for the simplicity and clarity.

11/21/2005 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger Edd said...

Hi neighbor, thank you for the visit. Have you ever published any of your work? If not, it is very good...

If you get the time, drop me an e-mail and I'll steer you to several Posts that better define who I am and how I'm handling my disability since 1996 at the age of 49.

11/22/2005 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger Using up the words.... said...

I like it... your style is so real, and yet, thoughtful. :) And somehow, the words take me back to the States. It's funny how someones vocab can steer you to another time. In this case... I can feel the sweet hot breezes of summer, and the shimmer of the blue grass.

11/24/2005 05:01:00 AM  

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