This makes me feel old

In a collection of images from times past, The Feral Irishman included this one:

I remember learning exactly the same system of writing (or ‘penmanship‘, as we called it) in the first few years of primary school (which covered the equivalent of Grades 1-7 in South Africa).  We also started in pencil, and were allowed to graduate to fountain pens – no ballpoints allowed, but strictly! – when the teacher felt our progress warranted it.  From Grade 3 onwards those with the best handwriting were allowed to use ballpoint pens, but if their script deteriorated they were immediately ‘demoted’ to fountain pens once more.  (I didn’t get to use a ballpoint pen until Grade 4.  I felt very put upon!)

There are several other images at the link that brought back memories.  Click over there and see how many you remember.



  1. I must have filled a hundred or more of those notebooks when I was in Primary School. Metodo Palmer de Caligrafia.

    It never took. Nurses and pharmacists cannot understand my writing.

  2. It takes concentration to write legible cursive these days. I have to make notes and sign all day long, but for it to be what my teachers called "good penmanship"…!

    The other day I was in line paying my water bill, and the county clerk's office does not take credit cards (yet).

    A fellow of a certain age, pants about four inches below his waist, puffy looking jacket on (in early spring, no less), hat turned backwards, he had a bit of a conniption. Seems all he had was plastic money. Got no cash. Got no checks. Checking account? "Of course! See?" Shows his little green plastic card again.

    "Who in the" *bleep* "uses checks!? That's, like, so old, man."

    Cue me in line behind said poor fellow, slowly ripping out my just completed check so I can have water and sewer for another month… Seems I'm just not with the times. Just like my old county clerk's office.

  3. I learned Palmer cursive in grade school, and I'm not all that old (born 1982). Of course, I went to a private Catholic grade school. No idea what they taught in the public schools. I can still write cursive almost as well now as I did then, though a bit slower. My printing, on the other hand, has deteriorated to the point that I can barely read it myself.

  4. My handwriting is pretty marginal, but I like the fact that my daughter is at a school that is very strict about the students learning, and getting good at, cursive. But then they are also learning Latin, so it's a little different from the normal government school. While she hated cursive at first, now she likes it and does well with it. She an anachronism, like her pa.

  5. And me.

    We were allowed fountain pens in Grade 5, but Palmer Penmanship continued (with cheap plastic stick pens dipped into ink wells) until high school.

    Endless lines of connected, rolling circles.

  6. +1. Learned cursive from first grade on at Holy Trinity Catholic school. My cursive is pretty poor these days, I tend to print when something needs to be read.

    We had cartridge ink pens and many a shirt and pants were stained blue from leaking pens.


  7. You shouldn't have posted that. It's the secret code older folks use to communicate with so the kids don't understand.

  8. Some of us use fountain pens in preference to other, lesser instruments.

    I get very annoyed when I have to fill out a multi-part form that requires me to press hard, and I have to go in search of a lesser pen.

  9. Learned it in 5th and 6th grade, when I changed to a different school district. To this day I write cursive and draw print letters (because of learning how to do blueprints in shop class.)

    What's depressing is when people compliment my lousy handwriting. Spencerian it ain't.


  10. Huh, so it's called Palmer cursive. All I know is that as a lefty I despised it, and yet my 3rd grade teacher pounded it into my head enough that i actually used it, which pissed off later teachers to no end. She also said that's all we'd use when we grow up. That turned out to be a big fat lie. Everybody else stopped using it by 5th grade.

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