Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spelling bee memories

A long time ago, C and I found the national spelling bee on one of the ESPN channels while we were on vacation and we ended up postponing dinner until it was over because it was just so funny in an endearing way. Since then, we've watched it several times with the kids--all of us do color commentary, choose our favorites, guess the words and laugh ourselves silly.

Well, tonight I not only picked the winner, I could spell the winning word! (It was "Laodicean," by the way, and it was about the only word I could spell.) Most of you know that I'm a spelling nerd and have been all my life. What you may not know is that I was my elementary school's spelling champion in 5th grade. I have absolutely no memories of the spelling bee at my school but I have vivid memories of studying for hours and hours preparing for the city-wide bee sponsored by the local paper. I would stretch out on the floor while my mom called out the words to me from a booklet given to us by the national spelling bee organization. The official rules stated that if there were still contestants standing after every word in the booklet had been asked, the judges would begin to use words from the dictionary. I faithfully studied every single word in that booklet over and over but I refused to study the dictionary.

Anyway, I also vividly remember the city-wide spelling bee and the room it was held in (some public building, maybe the lobby of the newspaper office). There were molded plastic chairs in rows for the contestants and also for the parents and other onlookers and cookies and punch on a long table against one wall. I remember being so nervous but also excited, I remember the exhilaration of being one of only two left standing, I remember winning to a 6th grade Asian boy named Andy, and I remember the word he won on ("chary"). I don't remember the word I missed to give it to him.

Anyway, I was reminiscing about that tonight as we watched the national spelling bee (on network tv now), thinking that my kids will one day say to their kids, "My parents were such dorks, we watched the spelling bee every year," but they'll say it with a smile and have some fond memories.

3 comments:

Electric Monk said...

I came within one word of winning my school spelling bee in 8th grade. I lost on the word "mozzarella."

Trisha Taylor said...

They wouldn't just let you spell "cheese"?

Jim said...

I wrote a book with a spelling nerd? I'd never have guessed :-)