Opinion

Cursive… and a cat

I understand that cursive writing is no longer taught in many public schools. That raises the question of whether anyone will be able to read it in the future. Imagine taking a course to read cursive; it would be like taking a foreign language course.

Many chose the typewriter long ago because writing by hand tired them. That’s because they never learned “penmanship” properly, sitting in just the right position at the desk. Now they may use the computer keyboard instead.

We once had a mayor here in Rochester who had attended a private school where the kids could choose to learn cursive, or not. He had not learned it, so used block printing. However, he had to have a signature, which was, shall we say, memorable? Yes, without a doubt. More printed than written.

I remember him more for his height, six foot four. I once stood on a chair to talk to him so that he would not get down on his knees. Funny, funny.

He never married until long after he left Rochester. While here, when a date was required for a public appearance, he always had a very attractive woman, a different one each time, arranged for him. When I worked at the Rochester School for the Deaf, a secretary in the office was a very deserving Chosen One. Statuesque.

In general, anyone working there had to know finger spelling, which I did learn, but don’t remember now.

At NTID, the National Institute for the Deaf, part of the Rochester Institutes of Technology, the teachers used sign language. It seemed that most of the teachers at the School for the Deaf used a combination of finger spelling and signing, saying that finger spelling by itself was too slow.

One time, while driving, I stopped at a stop light behind another car, and saw two kids up at the rear window finger spelling to me. Weird. Possibly they had seen me at the school.

My precious cat of only two years duration came to me from a woman whose backyard backed up to mine. She worked at NTID. I always wondered how she communicated with the cat. I mean, he was the most intelligent cat ever (also cleverest, most beautiful, and most lovable, but still…). I talked with her husband on the phone a couple of times, not about his wife or his dog, only about the cat that had become mine. Later on his wife moved out.

Now, at home there is at least one photo of that cat in every room.

Byrna Porter Weir was born and grew up in Houlton, where her parents, Ina and Porter, were portrait photographers. She now lives in Rochester, N.Y.  

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.