How beautiful it was… by
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Not much to say on cursive, although I had perfect cursive writing scores in third and fourth grade.
I liked how beautiful it was, all the curves and the way the style let you keep your number two pencil on the page when you finally got to write whole words and sentences.
Now my handwriting is largely spastic, but can be reflective of my mood and emotional state, smooth and generous, the curves sensual when I feel good, shaky and spastic when I don’t.
Profile photo of Charles Degelman Charles Degelman
Writer, editor, and educator based in Los Angeles. He's also played a lot of music. Degelman teaches writing at California State University, Los Angeles. 

Degelman lives in the hills of Hollywood with his companion on the road of life, four cats, assorted dogs, and a coterie of communard brothers and sisters.

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Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Wow, Charles, your words evoked a memory of something I’d almost forgotten, the eagerness to use those letters to write a sentence, the excitement of actually doing it. Well put…thanks for that!

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    I understand that the look of the writing can reflect your inner self in the moment. I like your thought about keeping the number two pencil on the page for the whole word. Lovely image.

  3. Laurie Levy says:

    Like you, Charles, my handwriting has deteriorated. I used to have “teacher handwriting,” neat and serviceable. With arthritis combined with using a computer most of the time, I have to concentrate to produce that neat handwriting that was so natural to me back in the day.

  4. Just keep it legible when you’re signing those checks to the Biden campaign..

  5. Suzy says:

    This is a wonderful little paean to cursive. I love thinking about a child’s joy in keeping the pencil on the page to write whole words. That was one of the reasons I didn’t like the capital F and T, you had to write them in two parts, so they didn’t flow.

    And the featured image of Centerville School, 1954-55. Was that your class picture? If so, will you tell us which one is you?

    • Thanks, Suzy. I would have liked to have written it in cursive to see if I could still get all those beautiful swings and curves flowing again, but, alas, we have been o’erwhelmed with binary code. I”ll look to see if I can find a site-specific pic of Littleton’s elementary school. I think we moved into the new wing that year. Zowie!

  6. Marian says:

    Lovely vignette, Charles, and it must have been a satisfying achievement to write so beautifully. Too bad so many attributes deteriorate as we get “better.”

    • It WAS satisfying, Marian. I hadn’t thought of it as so, it being in school and all that school implied, but yes. I think we had an extraordinary teacher, too. As I recall, penmanship was her specialty and she traveled throughout the district, touching base at various locations once a week. I doubt such a position exists any longer. And as concerns getting “better,” Bob Dylan described it beautifully in “My Back Pages” as “I was so much older then / I’m younger than that now.”

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