I am a fantastic speller. Always have been.
I acquired this gift without ever asking for it; it’s just part of me.
My brother, who is a horrendous speller (or as he would spell, a whorendus one), claims spelling is a genetic tick. I disagree. I believe that the number of books you read equates how many words you can spell correctly.
Many others (who can’t spell) claim it’s not a requirement in this day of digital spellchecks.
I’d like to inquire: how many times has spell check messed them up?
Whatever, I’m pleased to attend my 3rd grade granddaughter’s spelling bee. When I was her age, no one squired me to a spelling bee. As far as I know, none existed in New Jersey. Perhaps I would have had a chance to earn one trophy in my young age. I certainly had no luck with soccer or swimming or hockey.
Here in New England, the entire school district participates in a Spelling Bee, from 2nd grade to 12th. Last year, Sophie and her team of two other 2nd graders won first place for their grade. She earns the title of Sophie, Spelling Esquire, in my mind.
So, I have high hopes for this year.
All of six of us in the family (parents and both sets of grandparents) sit together in the high school lecture hall – the location for the 3rd grade Spelling Bee. Sophie and her two team members name themselves “Beauty and the Bees.” They each wear black clothing with yellow trim, headbands with bee-like antennas that pop up, and funny sunglasses that look like bee eyes. But once the Bee begins, those are discarded.
Seven teams of three students each prepare their individual white boards to write out their team answers.
The words begin simply:
Decide Protect Finger Enjoy Simple Joyful Complex
By the third round, two teams are disqualified. The words get more difficult:
Event Blouse Flannel Certificate Balk
By round six, only Sophie’s team and one other remain.
The word that Beauty and the Bees must spell: CHOIR (“She sang in the choir.”)
The girls confer, their little antennae hitting each other’s heads as Sophie writes the answer on their white board.
Q U I R E
While the room gasps, Sophie’s other grandmother whispers to me, “If her parents took her to church, she’d have won.”
We laugh and give a thumbs up to our precious only grandgirl. She widens her eyes and lifts her brows to indicate that really, why wouldn’t choir be spelled QUIRE?