Language Arts 101–The Art of Signature.
“Okay students, welcome to penmanship class. My name is Mrs. Holgaralduski.”
“What kind of name is that?” said Marvin Lee. “Sounds like ‘hoagie sandwich’ to me,” said Molly. “Mrs. Hoagie, Hoagie, Hoagie,” said Joey in a smart aleck mockery of Mrs. Holgaralduski. All of the class laugh with him, except Ginnie Mae.
“Now, I don’t need any of you making fun of my name. It’s aristocratic. I come from a very distinguished family. It’s my husband’s name and I won’t stand for this ridicule. Get it? Simple.”
Ginnie Mae said “Mrs. Holgaralduski, don’t pay any attention to these monkeys. They have no manners and should be caged. I like your name, and welcome to our academy.”
“Thank you, Ginnie Mae. I can tell, already, you come from a home where education is valued. A special welcome to you.”
“Your name, ma’am, how do you pronounce it? I really want to know,” said Patsy Ann.
“Okay, class, I’ll pronounce it and write it on the board. Now, pay attention, please. Hol-ga-ral-dus-ki. Holgaralduski. It’s Mrs. Holgaralduski. Say it with me.” Teacher and students say it together. Hol-ga-ral-dus-ki. “Wonderful, class. A good try for the first time.”
Two of the students, Marvin Lee and Joey, didn’t even try to pronounce it with the rest of the class. “Hogs are dusty,” said Marvin Lee. Joey said “It still sounds confusing to me. Lets see, ‘Mrs. Horseradish n’ tea.’ Is that better, ma’am?” Mrs. Holgaralduski responds, “No , it’s not. I can see you two are trouble. I want you, boys, up here in front of me. No more wisecracks. Get it? Simple.”
Mrs. Holgaralduski says to class, “I want all of you to know, if any student gets out of hand in this class, I have a surveillance camera, in here, recording it all. You will regret it. Each DVD, in high definition, goes to the principal every day. Get it? Simple.”
Tommy Lee to Mrs. Holgaralduski, “Do we have to take this class? I don’t want to be here.” “Me, neither,” said Joey. Sally thinking to herself… I can tell this is gonna be bor-ing. It already is. There must be a way I can get exempt from this class.
Molly, chewing her bubble gum and popping bubbles, said, “We don’t need cursive. It’s stone age. We prefer to text.”
“This class is mandatory. You children must learn cursive, at least to sign your signatures. Students, you should have learned cursive in second grade. All of you are preteens, now. You must learn it. That’s why you are here. Get it? Simple.”
“Mrs. Holgaralski, can I show you something?” “Of course, Ben. You’re in seat number seven.” “See, this is a cell phone. We text on here.” “I have a cell phone, but have never texted. I didn’t know my phone had that capability.” Ben continues with his instructions on how to text a message. “Just press messaging. Key in to whom. Then type your message on the screen. For example, ‘I see you are late for class.’ We abbreviate, shorten the message with letters and symbols. Here’s your message in text. ‘I c u r late 4 class.’ Press send and it is transmitted to your contact. Get it? Simple.”
Mrs. Holgaralduski thinking to herself…These kids have learned a new way to communicate. Maybe they don’t need cursive at all. I will take a different approach with them.
“Class, you have taught me something. There are many new ways of communicating these days. New technology is great, but a text is not a signature. You must at least learn the letters in your name and learn to write them in cursive. You will be signing your names for the rest of your lives. Any important document will need to be signed by you. A signature is necessary.” “We have electronic signatures now, don’t need hand written signatures,” said Molly. “What is an electronic signature, Molly?”
“Sometimes it’s called an e-signature. It’s a secret code, that only you know, that’s encrypted, hidden, sent along with your documents. The receiver enters a code to authenticate that it’s your signature connected to the documents you sent. Then it opens the document. That’s it. Get it? Simple.”
“Class, I have a homework assignment for you. It’s very simple and it will be your only assignment for the entire semester. I want each of you to bring a letter, a note, anything with a signature on it. I prefer that it be someone you know. Your mom or dad, or someone else you know that is special to you. Bring two, so that we can compare them. See you all next week.”
“Good morning, class. Greet me, please. All attempt to say it correctly. “Good morning, Mrs. Holga.” “That’s great. Only part of it, but next week, I want you to add more. Next week, we will add ral to Holga to make it Holgaral. That’s Hol-ga-ral. Practice, please.”
“Now, to cursive. What is cursive? Does anyone know?” No answers, except Ginnie Mae. “Mrs. Holgaralduski, it’s circular letters. Most of the curvature letters have a curve to them.” “Correct, Ginnie Mae. You are advanced in your language skills. The rest of the class can learn from you. Thank you, Ginnie Mae.”
“Here are a couple of examples of cursive signatures. They are famous names in American history. This one is John Hancock. A signer of the Declaration of Independence. He wrote his signature large enough so that the British crown would see that he, too, was declaring his independence from England. Notice how well his signature is written. It’s in cursive, but it has style. It is his mark of distinction.”
“The next signature is a US president. Does anyone recognize it? It’s Abraham Lincoln. Notice that his name is written with less flair than John Hancock. Both men were important, but Mr. Lincoln’s signature, I feel, denotes that he was a humble and an unpretentious man. Both are famous signatures that have been seen by many for years.”
“Now, your signatures. Place your documents on top of your desks. I will come around to look at them. Yes, indeed, these signatures are unique and have style. We will look at some of them. Who wants to go first?” “Me, first!” said Marie. “Go ahead, Marie, show us what you have.” “These three signatures are my dad’s. The first one is normal, the way he first learned cursive. You can read the letters. The last two are scribble scratch. He’s a doctor. This is the way he always signs his name today, always scribbled.” “You know, class, there are many ways to sign your name. As you learn to write your signature in cursive, you may develop your own style of writing your name later. Although Marie’s dad’s signature, she calls scribble scratch, doesn’t show any cursive letters, it’s how he signs his name. It’s his mark of distinction. It’s the style of his signature.”
“Who’s next?” “I have one Mrs. Holga. But it’s in German, and it’s my grandfather’s.” “Tell us his name, Umberto.” “It’s Franz Zeifenheimmer.” “Language doesn’t matter. Show us what you have with you.” “It’s only two letters, an “f” and a “z.” Mrs. Holgaralduski points out, “Two letters are fine. You have a lower case f and a lower case z. Both have loops. A very fine signature. I see the other letter you have, the signature is the same. This is his signature. It has style to it. It’s his mark of distinction. ”
“One last one. Okay, Ginnie Mae, I see you are eager to share. ‘I have two. My dad’s signature. Wealther Worth. He signs it with two coiled w’s. See, it’s the same here. He makes lots of money. I want my signature to be just like his.'” Mrs. Holgaralduski said to Ginnie Mae. “Your signature will not be his, but yours. It will be your mark of distinction.”
“Here’s my signature. Voncile Holgaralduski. I sign it with a symbol, for the name is so long. See, it’s a V that looks like a heart. It is my unique signature. It has style and it is my mark of distinction.”
Last week of class. “Okay class, greet me with my full name.” Students confidently reply, “Good morning, Mrs. Holgaral..duski.” You all did it. Now each one of you show the class your cursive signature. Molly proudly shows her signature. “Molly Brown.” “Very good, Molly.” “Thank you , Mrs. Holgaralduski.”
“Ben, please share your signature with the class.” “My full name is Benjamin Beemer. My signature has been shortened. I only use the two capital B’s. Capital B arch B.” “I like the arch between the B’s. It’s like a bridge connecting the two. I like it Ben. It’s short and brief and is creative. It’s your mark of distinction.”
“Okay, Willie, you’re up next.” “I’m ashamed of it. I wrote it like my gramp. He couldn’t read or write. This is it. Just a ‘w.'” “But, Willie, it has style and the tail of the w crosses back across the w. I think there are two letters. A “w” and a “t.” What’s your gramp’s last name?” “Tanner, ma’am. Willie Tanner.” “That’s his signature. A great signature and his mark of distinction.”
“Class, we have all learned that our signatures have style and are our marks of distinction. It doesn’t matter how you sign it. It is your style of writing it. You all have done well and have passed this class. Pick up your certificates as you leave, but you must sign your name, as best you can, in cursive to get it.”
Signatures are your marks of distinction. They all have a style to them. A signature is an expression of you on paper. It does reveal something about you. So be proud of it.