Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lost Arts

Lost Art

From (No listing at Merriam-Webster):
Lost art are original pieces of art that credible sources indicate once existed but that cannot be accounted for.  Okay, not exactly what I was looking for, but it'll do.

Remember a few blogs back, I promised you that I would touch on this subject?  Well, I honestly didn’t truly remember to do it.  I found myself re-reading one of my entries, and there it was; my topic for a future blog.

Lost Art.  What exactly is a lost art?  Usually,  it's something that an individual misses or was something they used, but not anymore… through no fault of their own.  Most of the time, they are things that a person still uses, or does, but that fewer and fewer people rely on… or simply have forgotten about.
What do I consider to be “lost art?”  I already wrote about one;   Lost Art of Letter Writing  

My list of "lost arts" is not long, thank goodness.  A big  one on my list is cursive.  I mention this briefly in that letter-writing blog.   It truly is a lost art.

I can remember when I entered third grade.  It was an exciting time for me for many reasons, but when my teacher, Ms. Manz, told us that we would be learning cursive that year, I was thrilled!  Writing.  Like a grown-up!  I thought about my mom's script;  she was an artist and even her handwriting was beautiful.  So twisty and elegant.  Even my father had cool script.  Why?  Practice!  And then more practice.  They were graded not only for how well they grasped the concepts of math and reading comprehension, but on how neat their penmanship was.  Penmanship?  I bet you money kids today have never even heard of that word!  I betcha!

And so it began.  We started with A, B and C; we learned lowercase the first week, then the second week the same letters in capitals.  We were always excited to move onto the next set of letters.  It wasn't easy.  Some letters had complex shapes and connecting the letters, especially words with 'b' and 'o' were difficult.  And we too were told, 'practice, practice, practice!'  It paid off.  Learning cursive took all year.  I got an 'S' (satisfactory) for penmanship on my last quarterly report card.   Now that we knew the entire alphabet, in lower-case and in capital letters, we were no longer allowed to print unless we were told to do so, specifically.  For the rest of my academic career, everything I wrote was in cursive.  Fine with me;  I always thought it was quicker to write than to print, anyhow.  And so it was.  I wrote... in cursive... whenever I wrote anything.

Look at your child's homework.  Bet it's in print.  When Aaron, my oldest son,  entered third grade, I knew what was coming and was so excited for him.  I remembered back to my own anticipation of learning cursive;  one of the first indicators that meant you were indeed, not a little kid, anymore. I excitedly told Aaron that it was so much fun to learn and to do and that he'd be able to write like a grown-up!   And so it was.  He learned it; then never used it, again.  WHAT!?  "Well... my teacher said he wants us to print our homework..."  EH?  Say again? Okay... maybe it's just the specific teacher.  Maybe when Alex is in third grade, he will ... nope.  Same thing.  I was devastated.... and angry.  Why teach it, then?  None of their teachers required them to utilize their new skill.   Oh, and no...  kids are not graded for their penmanship, which  is a good thing, I guess.  They can't be graded on something they don't use.  That, my Darlings... is a Lost Art.  In the literal sense, too, because script can be so beautiful.  It is an art form, but like any medium, it must be practiced.  I'll ask my Sophomore son to write his name on his papers.  "I can't... my cursive is terrible."  Uh huh.  Wonder why?

Wow.  I did ramble on, didn't I?  I only have two other LA complaints, but I've taken up enough of your time.  Pardon?  What are they?  Well, okay.  Since you've asked...

Manners.  Especially children with manners. A HUGE Lost Art. Okay, so my kids are not perfect, nor do I want them to be, but they do know 'Please' and 'Thank you.'  They do know to chew with their mouths closed, or that it's very rude to yell across the dinner table (we don't have a dining room table... still...).  They know better than to interrupt people involved in conversation.  Yes, their halo's are dented and even cracked, but  I can feel good about how they behave in public.

Good customer service.  Definitely a Lost Art.I think one has everything to do the other.  I'll save this topic for another day.  I thank you for reading.  And remember, the only time your pen should leave the paper is to cross your T's and X's, tail your Q'sand to dot your i's.


  1. You're absolutely right, Maryfran! I guess it depends on where you live, though, as both of my kids (even autistic Lucas) had to learn cursive, and were graded on it! However, I DID have to tell Robert's principal that he would not be using the 4rd grade reading book chosen by the school, since there were poems unsuitable for children that age in it (I'll explain sometime...) Hey, MY kid, MY taxes, so I got to make those calls!

  2. WHOA. Would love to hear about that book. Damn right, Cuz!


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