where the writers are
Cursive, and being left-handed--an Annie story

Cursive writing is no longer taught in most schools.  With the advent of computer keyboards, it has fallen by the wayside as inconsequential; however, that wasn’t always the case. Annie and her class started to learn to write in cursive in the second grade. 

Third grade provided a year of practicing it daily as there were many opportunities to write sentences and short paragraphs.  It was during Annie’s year spent with Mrs. Rinehart that she and her classmates developed huge calluses on their middle fingers from pressing the pencil tightly in their hands.  At least, Annie had one that never went away.

Annie’s callus was a bit unusual as hers was on her left hand.  Only a few kids in her class were left-handed like Annie; however, Annie was even unusual for a left-hander as she didn’t have the habit of writing with her hand almost upside down and backwards as the other lefties did. Annie, as well as her two sisters, had been taught by her left-handed grandmother to turn the page so that it made writing straightforward. 

Annie’s fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Albert, had recently rearranged the seating arrangements so that all the left-handed students sat beside each other.  Fortunately for Annie, she was sitting right beside two of the cutest boys in the class and across from another one. Mark and Frank sat on either side of her, and Jack sat directly across her. It was the best seating arrangement she had ever had. 

By fourth grade, sloppy writing habits were beginning to kick in, though. Mrs. Albert decided that enough was enough, and that backhanded cursive was becoming all too pervasive and needed to come to an end.  While backhanded slants are considered normal for lefties, this isn’t true for those who are right-handed.  Thus, it was that on this day, anyone who was left-handed or didn’t write with a backhanded slant could read or quietly talk to their neighbor if he or she wasn’t busy with the writing lesson.

It came to be that Mark, Frank, Annie, Cathy, the only other left-hander in the class, Jack, and a few others were all fortunate to be freed from the lesson. Although Annie knew Jack from being in the her class in other years, she had never really gotten to know him well.  (Boys and girls didn’t tend to pal around on the playground together.)

On this day, though, with the sudden ability to speak openly as she, Mark, and Jack were quietly talking together, she suddenly realized how dark brown his eyes were.  They were a deep, dark chocolate, almost black. Because she had blue eyes, which seemed so commonplace, his twinkling brown eyes and his wide smile made her heart race, just a bit.  Yes, she still had her major crush on Mark.  Yes, she still liked Frank, who was Robin’s boyfriend, but in her mind, that day, there was a minor shift in her opinion of Jack. His eyes, his smile, and his self-assuredness had made a big impression on Annie. Was the same ever true for Jack?  Annie never knew.

Too soon, the writing lesson ended, and everybody was now working in their arithmetic book. Thereafter, though, Annie continued writing with a backhanded slant, but now knowing that it was a statement of who she was made her proud of being left-handed.