Monday, January 17, 2005

"Chicken scratch!"

"No, Dad. It's shorthand."

Mom took Pitman; I learned Gregg. Dad didn't care about the differences. As far as he was concerned they were both, "Chicken scratch!"

By the time I in my junior year of high school, I was using shorthand to take notes in all of my other classes. Since by then I'd also had several years of typing, I typed all of my reports, too. The teachers didn't care how class notes were taken, but I'm sure getting the reports they assigned turned in typed instead of scrawled earned me an occasional extra point or two. Except for my Senior year with Mrs. Robinson in World Lit. She took a point off because of a typo and I only got a 99 on that report I did comparing five different forms of short poetry. Now you tell me, was that fair? I didn't think so and still don't. I'd worked hard on that report and . . .


When Da Kid was getting ready to select his high school classes, I insisted on two no matter what else he took: shorthand and typing. Unfortunately, by then no one had taught shorthand in years. It was gone from schools completely.

Now, however, it might be making a comeback:

"I started thinking recently how nice it is to have a skill like that, how helpful it is in meetings and with note-taking in college," [said former computer programer Kim Skimmons].
Skimmons is one of 12 who'd just graduated from a 12-week adult education class in shorthand. Others in her class included "a housewife who plans to teach the method to her young children, an administrative assistant in a local elementary school, a college student born in Indonesia, and a man who works in the intelligence field."

Hopefully it will continue as shorthand is rediscovered.


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