I was working on a story for the front page last week when I miraculously spelled the word restaurant correctly. It was a great day! I am dyslexic, not a pretend dyslexic that transposes the occasional letter, word or number, but an honest to goodness dyslexic. I was diagnosed in the second grade. All my life I have struggled with certain words as most people do, with restaurant being chief among them. Often times I can’t get close enough for spell check to guess what I am trying to spell.
My tenth grade english teacher, Christy Cathey, now Christy Hesslen, would give our class daily spelling tests when I was in her class.
Not only were they daily but they were tests on the same words everyday, words that are difficult to spell, words that she referred to as “Spelling Demons”. I did not care for this at all. My biggest nemesis in those days, no matter how many times I spelled it was the word “receive”. To this day when I see Mrs. Hesslen I start with a pleasant greeting, as I am not a sociopath, “How are you?”, after she responds I then proceed with “r-e-c-e-i-v-e”. Say what you will about rote memorization, but if you spell a word 180 times it has a tendency to stick. She also had a piece of construction paper affixed to her podium at the front of the class that read “A lot is two words”. This has helped me more than it should have.
When I worked as a 911 dispatcher I kept a list of street names written in a notebook that I could not spell. I found that when someone is panicking that they or a family member may perish they are not really in the mood to help me spell Neis (pronounced Niece) and fun fact, if you can’t spell it correctly the computer does not know where you are talking about.
Other items on my “words I can’t spell” list were: Kinkead, Hermitage, Chateau, Fischer, Phoenix, Armour, Wynnewood and lastly Tancred, which let's be honest is just a made up word.
Dictionary.com defines Tancred as a Norman hero of the first crusade. Come on, that doesn’t count! It is just some Viking’s name. I guess Tancred grew up on the south side of Fort Smith because they named a street after him. In any event If I have another child, boy or girl, I think I have a name picked and my wife is going to love it.