The Importance of Letter Writing…

Dear Reader:

I know my grandchildren must run when I get on my platform and start lamenting the loss of written letters and cursive writing… but it breaks my heart when I hand a birthday card to one of the grandchildren who struggles to read it… because ” You forgot Boo Boo and wrote it in ” cursive”… you would have thought, by the tone, I deciphered it in pig Latin! ”

Yesterday was Martin Luther King , Jr. Day and it brought back memories of Anne, Lorraine, Mandy, and I taking the newly formed ( very diversified) Gullah Club students to Penn Center in beautiful St. Helena Island near Beaufort, South Carolina. Penn Center was the first school in the South for formerly enslaved West Africans to learn to read and write…in the very heart of Gullah culture!

At the end of the first session the students were all laughing and yelling out in unison ” We be Gullah!” The vivacious tour leader had started out asking who in the group thought they were “Gullah” and only a couple students raised their hands and mentioned a grandmother or ancestors who spoke some Gullah.

But the guide continued…started giving examples of coming home and seeing a pot of rice on the stove frequently and/ their mother , father, or grandparent stirring in left over meat or other vegetables from the night before to stretch another meal… serving ” perlo!”

She then started on popular slang expressions and had everyone shaking their heads in delight at the discovery of the Gullah origin!

The session ended with everyone singing ” Kumbayah” -( Gullah for ” Come by here”) … wonderful memory.

Too many times on MLK Day… we hear ” I Have a Dream” speech over and over to the point that most public school children only associate that one speech with Martin Luther King, Jr.

Most historians instead point to the powerful letter King wrote from his jail cell in Birmingham , Alabama… on April 16, 1963. He was exhausted and despondent… tired of marching and being thrown in jail, missing his wife and children.

But his passion in his letter spoke volumes… ” Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere! ”

Does there seem to be a familiar ring or theme to these words…

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, uses the same central ring when he addresses all democratic countries- ” The fight for Ukraine is the fight for democracy everywhere.”

So until tomorrow..,

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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3 Responses to The Importance of Letter Writing…

  1. Gin-g Edwards says:

    Amen…all so true…love all your pictures.

    Like

  2. Sis Kinney says:

    Becky,
    It’s evening and I JUST read today’s blog and just HAD to comment. I feel the same way about letter writing and cursive. That was one thing I taught in 4th grade; the kids seemed to enjoy learning it.
    But my grandchildren (17, 14, 9, 9, 7) and cursive are another story altogether! The two oldest (girls) learned it – but don’t use it. The oldest boy seemed to enjoy learning it as well; but, again, doesn’t use it. The youngest boys haven’t been exposed to it at all as far as I know.
    And I just do NOT understand why the parents – at least one of whom in each family is a child of mine who was taught better! – don’t tell them or demand of them that thank you NOTES be written for gifts received, especially when the gifter is not present to see the gift being opened. Last Christmas (2021) I didn’t get ANY thank you notes for any of the gifts I sent; I don’t even know if the one family even received their gifts (although my oldest son said he took the bags and box of gifts to them!). I heard absolutely NOTHING! In all fairness, one family was here after Christmas and opened gifts in our presence and thank-you’s were given; the other family did a FaceTime opening of gifts, so thank-you’s were also verbally given at the moment.I’m ranting, I know, but this really hits a nerve with me! This year I told the two girls (and their brother) that I would appreciate a NOTE telling me that they received the money (I’m done with “gifts”) I sent and how they might use it. I got notes from all three!!
    And as for cursive, it is just sad, sad, sad. Even my adult children mostly print rather than use cursive.
    Sigh, I guess we’re just OLD, as well as old-fashioned! I told my granddaughters that I was old-fashioned and just preferred a written note. Oh, well.
    Great blog today!! Amen and amen!
    Sis

    Like

    • Becky Dingle says:

      The problem also is students can’t use primary resources to do research if they can’t read cursive… Jefferson or Washington’s handwriting.. few things like the Declaration of Independence, original Constitution… we spent a lot of time explaining the importance of reading primary resources… all for naught it appears!!! 😔😱

      Sent from my iPhone

      Like

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