The Age of Cursive
This post is more of an observation than anything. A few weeks back I was substitute teaching and as I was waiting for classes to begin I was reading some copies of historical documents in the hallway. There was the constitution, letters from former presidents, the emancipation proclamation, and many other papers that hold a deep significance for the foundation of our country. It was really neat, in that moment, to skim through the words of those who had impacted our history as a nation in such a huge way.
As I was reading, however, two things, I did not expect, hit me, and it is those two observations that I’d like to share with you today:
Observation 1: Everyone in that age wrote in cursive.
Not one of those historical documents was written in print, but every word of it was its own unique interpretation of cursive dictation. This to me was a beautiful thought. I remembered back to elementary school when I first learned cursive. At the time I hated it, but looking back I began to see the beauty of this form of writing. There is a beautiful elegance to it. It flows smoothly from one letter to the next and the words all fit together like waves in the ocean. I began to try and remember, by moving my hands across the air, how to write in cursive again, and in that moment I decided that I would write a letter (or maybe even a journal) entirely in cursive. It is sad that cursive is a dying art, especially when so much of our past (which we hold in such high regard) was formed by such elegant words.
Observation 2: Historical figures made mistakes.
I was reading through these copies of historical documents and I noticed something interesting: there were mistakes. In the Emancipation Proclamation, to name one, there were two mistakes which I found intriguing. The word ‘work’ was inserted into a sentence, and later on, another word was scribbled out to make way for a better one. As Lincoln penned this famous document he made mistakes. It took me about 5 mins to even get my mind around this. I kept asking myself, “How could such an important document in history have mistakes in it? How could a person with such historic value make such petty mistakes?” In that moment I was reminded that those who had come before us were no different than us. That they make mistakes, that they were flawed, that they fell short, and that they, just like us, had needs.
These were simple, yet profound, discoveries for me, and I walked out of that hallway smiling, knowing that I had observed two things that continued the process that shapes me daily into someone who understands life a bit more fully.