10. Letter from Queen Elizabeth to President Eisenhower
Who knew that Queen Elizabeth made her own scones — and that she swapped recipes with President Eisenhower? Written on Buckingham Palace stationary, the 1960 letter is simply signed, “Elizabeth R.” She recalls fondly Eisenhower’s trip to Balmoral Castle in Scotland and shared her favorite scone recipe — advising him that “the mixture needs a great deal of beating” and that if he needed to feed fewer than sixteen people he could reduce the ingredients.
Would you expect the Queen to have perfect penmanship? That she might take her time, perhaps trying to impress the American president? Or do you consider that she may write dozens of letters in one sitting and would need to dash them off quickly? There are social cues that we find in handwriting that are absent in transcripts and printed text. If we are unable to read the cursive texts, we lose some of that important context in letters like this.
There are compelling reasons for all children to, at minimum, learn to read cursive handwriting. Find out if your school district is teaching it and if not, lobby them to bring cursive back and include it in the curriculum. If the school refuses to teach cursive, buy some workbooks and teach them yourself. Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science and it will be well worth the effort.