My handwriting is terrible – I finally admit it. It is entirely the fault of Miss Frances C., my second-grade teacher at the Leland Primary School, the precursor to the Longfellow School.

I had done pretty well until I hit the cursive exercises required of all second-graders. I knew my letters, could print pretty well, could read above average and had no idea why writing in cursive was necessary.

Miss C., barely 5 feet tall and approaching retirement, would stand over me while I did my “push/pulls,” to me a useless exercise trying to keep my ink pen in a continuous up-and-down line, from left to right, between the lines of the paper, all the way to the bottom of the page. It would then be followed by the circular O’s, another continuous line from top to bottom.

While most students, especially the girls, whose fine motor skills were more developed at that age, would stay the course and fill the page, I would barely last the first line while quickly losing interest, resulting in a flattening of the O to a straight line. Miss C. knew she had a challenge. She would stand over me, holding my arm in one hand and my hand in the other to try to keep my interest. I missed many days of recess trying to perfect this chore. I often wondered if one could flunk second grade because of cursive deficiency.

She finally promoted me to third grade with the hope that someone else might interest me in script. None ever did. All through life, it seemed that if I could remember it, I didn’t need to write it down. And when I did, I could decipher it. Most people were kind when they could not read my writing. Nurses particularly were grateful when I would personally tell them what I had just written. It saved a phone call. I got to know most pharmacists through our frequent calls about my prescription legibility.

I can hear the postman giggling again when the mail is returned with many question marks and Undeliverable stamped on the front – and costs me another stamp.

And just last week, I find myself blocking the aisle at the supermarket while trying to understand the fourth item on my shopping list. Usually it is the special and necessary ingredient for my planned dinner menu; it completely destroys the meal because I bought something else instead. In fact, I have a shelf full of strange stuff purchased because it looked like something I had written down.

But now, I have the keyboard – a smartphone, an iPad and a computer that relieve me of further cursive activities. Miss C. would be relieved to know I no longer think of her negatively but thank her for all else she taught me. And she’d be happy to now read that cursive writing is staging a comeback. But I think I will pass.

Why is the bank calling me? I just wrote those checks last week!