Friday, January 31, 2014

what's that definition?

Yesterday I performed my duties as "Local Pronouncer" for the Scripps Spelling Bee.  The crowd was great this year, rooting on the final four...then the final two...and cheered wildly as we began round TEN!  I wish I could recall the word that knocked out the last kid, but a couple words that thinned the herd were "lanai" and "shaitsu."  The winner was a girl who spelled each word with casual ease, never once asked me to repeat, define or use a word in a sentence.  She's a cool, athletic and clever 8th grade girl who I predict will go far in this world. 

No one cried, although a few kids probably wanted to weep with relief when I told them "incorrect."  Stage fright is an awful thing. 

One girl was advised by her science teacher "Just remember, i before e except after c."  Guess what word she got and spelled wrong?  Freight.  Ugh.  English.  What a wretched language.

I inherited a few old books this winter, including a couple Bobbsey Twin first editions, published in 1925.  I read one because I'd never read one before and thought it was a hoot.  Anyway, just as entertaining as the narrative voice and the silly plotting (parents leave to take care of sick uncle, snowstorm shuts down the town, Bert is falsely accused of breaking a window with a snowball, small twins get lost for a day playing in a doghouse, Flossie sits in dough while Nan makes biscuits and gets flour on her skirt! etc.) were the last pages in the book advertising book series I'd never heard of--have you?  Check them out:




 No, dear reader, that last series is probably not about pot.


20 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Interestingly, and I had forgotten it until now, I once spied a "Mary Jane" book (I forget which one) in some shelf display of "charming" old books in a decorator's magazine shot. I remember trying to read the title. I suppose YA series fiction used to be a thing even way back in the day. Everyone knows about Nancy Drew, but does anyone else remember Trixie Belden? I read at least a dozen or so of her books as a child. Scrappy Trixie and her best bud Honey solved all sorts of neighborhood mysteries. I adored them! I remember a couple of Bobbsey Twins books on the shelf growing up but never read them because my sister said they were dumb. (!)

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  3. I have some old Bobbsey twins books. I should read one. Actually, I'd love to reread some old Nancy Drews.

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  4. I could never be in a spelling bee. It sounds frightening, and I don't get stage fright. I think my oldest was pretty relieved he wasn't picked to compete this year. ;)

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  5. Ack! The science teacher didn't give the poor girl the entire rule! It's i before e except after c, unless it's a long a sound, as in neighbor!! She would have had it!
    Either way, ugh to English.
    I have never heard of those other books either.

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  6. I don't remember those, but they did remind me of another series I read (in addition to Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys) --did anyone else read Alfred Hitchock and the Three Investigaors? (http://www.threeinvestigatorsbooks.com/TheThreeInvestigators.html). I really liked those.

    Emma participated in her school's Geography Bee and made it to the last six kids. She was quite happy with that --she could feel could about her ability, but not go on to the scary regional stuff. :-)

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  7. One of my grandson's just got 1st place in the city wide spelling bee for the whole city. Go B!
    I haven't heard of any of those series, interesting.

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  8. I do remember reading some Bobbsey Twin books from the small town library where I grew up. I loved that place :-)

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  9. Spelling bees are near to my heart. Bravo to you and all the contestants for participating!

    When I was a child I found some Bobbsey Twin books in my grandmother's attic - the books used to belong to my Mom. She loved them, but I was more into Nancy Drew.

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  10. I have read some of the Maida series, in fact I might still have some moldering away upstairs with the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew and Laura Ingalls Wilder...

    I remember going through a series by Ellery Queen Jr, thinking I was hot stuff reading adult books. Oops different author. :)

    Since I can't spell worth a darn, spelling bees scared the beejebers out of me. Our 6th grade granddaughter was in the final 4 of their geography bee. She said it wasn't scary at all. That sure wouldn't have been my reaction.

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  11. I devoured all the Bobbsey Twins books. I can remember how much I loved them and looking forward to new books. I must have been in grade school. This would have been in the late 50's.

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  12. I loved spelling as a kid, but spelling bees made me queasy. Cool books. I never read any of the Bobbsey Twins books. I read a lot of Nancy Drew as a kid. This year I read some of the Hardy Boys to the boys, which they seemed to enjoy.

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  13. I would have been frozen with fright if I'd ever had to take part in a spelling bee, don't think we have them here. Standing up in front of a crowd is the stuff of my nightmares!

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  14. I loved Trixie Belden as a young girl....but I've never touched a Bobbsey Twin book. And I LOVED spelling bees and spell-downs. Not being athletic, spelling powers made me stand out in my class. :) That, and the amount of books/pages I could read for the monthly Book It pizza certificate.

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  15. Loved Honey Bunch-could never figure out why she didn't get any older. Much more interesting and life changing was the Cherry Ames series about her nursing career. Starts with her in nursing school and then she graduates and goes out to be every conceivable kind of nurse-each with its own book: School Nurse, Army Nurse, Cruise Nurse, Visiting nurse... Loved that series; read the books over and over til the pages fell out and I became a care provider in real life because of that series of books. Amazing what I learned from those books and how much they influenced my choice of profession.

    Spelling Bees: love to spell and love to spell correctly but didn't make it past the fourth place and felt really bad about it. In eighth grade so i ought to let it go, huh ?~!

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  16. Freight falls into the category of "Or when it's 'ay, as in neighbor and weigh." And my dear HS English teacher taught us to remember the exceptions: Neither foreigner seized weird leisure from the height.

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  17. I love vintage children's books, especially Cherry Ames (maybe she is the reason I became a nurse?) but I'm not familiar with those advertised in the back of your book, and I've never actually read the Bobbsey Twins.

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  18. Oh, the Bobbsey Twins! I should revisit them. Your description gave me pangs.

    Must dash--off to eBay to look for The Mary Jane series.

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  19. I was not super in to the Bobbsey Twins, but I love the look of the old books. That spelling bee gig sounds like a lot of fun.

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Spill it, reader.