While January 1st is the official start of the New Year, for me, the beginning of the school year always seemed a more appropriate date. Growing up, the new television season began in September for all shows, and Dad said that the new model cars were always unveiled at that time. Now that we have a teacher in the family, the feeling continues. Hearing the updates as Jamie sets up her classroom for the start of school this week got me thinking about some of the methods I was taught to learn to spell particular words or remember certain facts. I know all of you can probably add to my list.
Uncle Rich’s family lived in Illinois for a while. That is when I learned to spell Chicago. “Chicken in the car and the car won’t go. That’s how you spell Chicago.” I know it’s corny, but when I think of the windy city, that is what I hear in my head.
Along the same weird line, how do I spell the town of Passaic? “Piece of pie and a piece of cake that’s how you spell Passaic.” I can’t figure that one out one bit. It makes no sense. I can almost hear you snickering. Perhaps my cousin Susan, who lived in Passaic, can help me with that, but it’s stuck in my brain, too.
Anyone who watched The Mickey Mouse Club learned how to spell encyclopedia from Jiminy Cricket. When the teacher would say “encyclopedia,” you could see every head bobbing in unison as the melody was quietly sung by each student. At least all of you used an encyclopedia when you were younger, but it has become a dinosaur. For Bryce, and any future siblings and cousins, that will be a foreign word. “Mom, what is an encyclopedia?” Show all of them this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy2jWJtO3lE
One of my favorite teachers was Mr. Egge–my English teacher in seventh and eighth grade. He bore a lesson into my head as well. Ask your aunts no recite their helping verbs. It goes like this:
Has, have, had,
Do, does, did.
Be, am, is, are, was, were, been.
Can, could, shall, should, will, would,
May, might, must.
In second grade, you learned to recite the 50 states from Mrs. O’John, who taught you to remember every state using the song, “Fifty Nifty United States.” (For some reason Jamie doesn’t know the song.) It was so successful that when Kelly was in college, during one class, she had to list as many states as she could remember. I don’t think her professor expected anyone to list them alphabetically.
All three of you had Mrs. O’John, and I am probably correct in stating that she was one of your favorite teachers. Now that I an obsessive player of the alphabetical license plate game, I have included that song in my funeral playlist. (Wendy, make sure it’s played!)
So to all of you this week I say, “Happy New Year.”