Cursive vs. Non-Cursing

Question: What are "The Three Rs?"
Answer: Readin', 'Ritin', and 'Rithmetic!'

With the current debate regarding teaching of cursive or non-cursive writing, my mind was thrust back to my elementary school experience. The classroom was filled with a blackboard (later called a chalkboard) and above was a very long and obvious alphabet in both cursive and non-cursive.

During those days the word "cursive" was unknown in my community. Instead, one writing style was called printing and the other writing. Our days were filled with the three Rs with a heavy emphasis on 'ritin' but, alas, my writing was never very good and remains so until this day AND I am not, nor have I ever been a medical doctor. (When my father would introduce me he would often say "This is Dr. Bill Ramsey, but he is the kind that can't do you any good.")

Doctor Writing

School days, school days, dear old golden rule days
Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic
Taught to the tune of a hickry stick
You were my queen in calico,
I was your bashful barefoot beau
And you wrote on my slate, I love you Joe
When we were a couple of kids

We were also taught to cross our T's and dot our I's which we attempted even when writing our names in the snow. Until much later in life, we had never heard the word, "Calligraphy" nor understood its true meaning. We knew photography and geography and other "graphy" words but had never heard of pornography! Also, in my home, we never heard cursing. My very devout family never used "cuss words" to express wrath, disappointment, or surprise. My Dad could occasionally be heard to say, "Hello Pete" or "Hello Molly" but that is about as close as curse words came in my family. Not one word of a questionable nature ever crossed my lips until one day I was riding my motorbike. The bike was a home-made motorized bicycle that employed a gasoline-powered motor that had been scavenged from an ancient gasoline-powered washing machine (electric laundries had yet to be invented.) I was told that my motorbike could get 100 miles to the tank-full. I had ridden from my house to Fishing Creek (a distance of just over 5 miles.) I had an odometer on my bike and had only gone about 60 miles on that tank of gasoline - easy peasy. Drive to Fishing Creek and back would only add about 10 miles - still well under the 100 miles on that particular tank of gasoline.

I was returning home and making my way up a rather steep hill from Fishing Creek when the motorbike began sputtering and eventually quit, leaving me stranded on a not-often-used road with a heavy bike which was difficult to pedal up the hill and the additional 4+ miles to my home. When the bike stopped, I said aloud, "DAMN!" instead of one of the First Baptist Church approved substitutions - darn, doggone it, drat, dang it, diddly squat, etc. Immediately, I was overcome with profound remorse and began praying for forgiveness as I attempted to pedal/walk my bike the 4 miles toward my home where I would continue to repent endlessly.


Cursive and cursing are closely related (especially later in life) but I never fully recovered from running out of gas on a lonely road. Since that time, when the fuel gauge on my car indicates that I am approaching ¼ tank, I fill up just to be cautious.

I must confess, however, that I have learned a few "unauthorized" words which I occasionally and cautiously use. I'm a bit like the Mormon leader, J. Golden Kimball, who is quoted as saying, I won't go to Hell for swearing because I repent too damn fast.

Cursive writing

Fowl Language


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