How to add a posting below . . .

To add a new posting, send an email to me at with a comment, question, story, photo, observation, etc. It will be posted below, shortly after the email is received. To comment on an existing posting, click on the "comments" command below the posting and type your comment. Your comment will show up immediately.   Pete Stemmer

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To Bee or not to Bee- Spelling that is!

While flipping T.V. channels the other day, somehow I ended up briefly watching a spelling bee. As I watched student after student correctly spell strange words I haven't heard of, my mind flashed back to my Spelling Bee days in elementary school. Suddenly, I broke out in a cold sweat, as the memories of an unsuccessful Spelling Bee career flooded over me. Remember the kid in your class who was so poor in sports that no one wanted him on the team? When teams were chosen in gym class or on the playground he was always the last to be picked. Well, that was me during our weekly Spelling Bees. Always the last one chosen! Thank goodness for spell checkers on today's computers!

You see, I'm not the best speller in the world. In fact, I may be the world's worst speller. This was reinforced when Jackie bought me a tee shirt (See below) some years back. She couldn't help laughing as I looked at the shirt with a puzzled look, not quite getting it. I faked a mild chuckle as she explained it to me.

Don't laugh! You'd have a grumpy look on your face too, if you spelled as poorly as I do. (Photo by Jean Boston.)

You're probably wondering what all of this has to do with a history blog. As John Wayne used to say, "Well, I'll tell ya Pilgrim." I was looking through some old clippings from the Tuckerton Beacon and stumbled upon a photo of Tuckerton High School Spelling Bee winners in 1938. Memories of my inadequate spelling bee days suddenly resurfaced, as beads of sweat formed on my forehead.

Viewing the photo and caption, I found that two of the champion spellers were from New Gretna - Naomi Post (now Maurer) and Jean Schropshire (now Harris), both now good friends of mine. They sit, as bookends, in the first row.

Wow! Two of the winners were from little old New Gretna! How do you explain that? This was a disproportionate number considering the small number of New Gretna students attending Tuckerton High School. I figure it must be the water. If so, maybe there is still hope for me. Pardon me while I go for another drink.

Pete S

PS- New Gretna born and raised Jean Shropshire went on to claim addition fame as a champion speller in her Junior year at Tuckerton High School. I wonder what her tee shirt says!

Tuckerton Beacon - March 7, 1940

PPS- A special thank you to my history buddy, Shirley Whealton, and her husband, Les, who clip out old Beacon news articles and ads and drop them off to me.