I notice spelling errors in other people’s writing . In mine sometimes , also ; but in other people’s always . Well , nearly almost always . I’ve had my spelling errors pointed out to me , too , in my blog posts , usually by my sister Pat , who reads my posts regularly I think . I hope she doesn’t read them like I used to read the Daily Bulletin issued at Virgil Middle School when old W. was principal . I used to read that sheet just to laugh at the mistakes . There wasn’t much use , otherwise , to read the boring thing . It almost never had any useful information . There were always mistakes , always , and often hilarious ones . I don’t remember any of them now except school spelled scool . I suppose I was easily entertained in those days , on the hunt for easily obtained enjoyment in an often joyless place . It seemed to be a great irony to have an education institution mangle and misuse the language on a daily basis in print .
My brother-in-law FaceBooked a post recently about his retirement and he made a typo spelling error . He wrote thought rather than though . Some people commented on his short post by the time he saw his boo boo . He then had trouble correcting the typo without deleting the entire post . He felt a need to make the correction . Frustrating stuff !
I recently re-read one of my friend Joe’s blog posts over at Coming of the Toads . He mentioned me , that he remembers me correcting his spelling way back when we were teachers together long , long ago . He discusses spelling in his post and mentions great writers who were lousy spellers .
I was not a good speller in school . Remember those end-of-the-week spelling tests ? Twenty-five words each week and maybe a bonus word ? We all had those soft -cover spellers , twenty-five spelling words per chapter . The word list was always at the top of the page . These would be the words on Friday’s test . Memorize them ! Practice with your mom !
I got Cs anyway . Sometimes a B . Maybe an A- once in a blue moon . I practiced the words , tried , tried . What could be easier , after all ! But : C , B , A- once in a blue moon . I wasn’t adept .
Much later in my life I could recognize misspelling . In others . Like a witch’s curse it came upon me unannounced . It stuck like glue . When did it happen ? Late high school ? College ? Later ? And now I am doomed to see bad spelling . Incorrectly spelled words on a page pounce on me mercilessly like leopards . Spectral tireless cursed leopards .
Daniel Boone wrote phonetically . Whatever the word sounded like he wrote down . People in those days did that . Words didn’t have to be spelled ” correctly ” . He’d spell the same word different ways . The important thing was to catch the meaning , to hear the word . No one was cursed with spelling tests . No twenty-five words ! There were no bad spellers . Or else , everyone was a bad speller , but no one cared . Daniel Boone . Davy Crockett , too , spelled like he spoke . Crockett was in Congress . Communication was the key , but spelling ? Who cared ! It was a free country .
Noah Webster wrecked all that . Talk about American freedom ! Webster ended that idealistic notion . He wrote a dictionary . There was , after that , a ” correct ” way to spell each and every word . Creativity was out ! In 1786 he published ” The American Speller ” . People called it the ” Blue Backed Speller ” and for hundreds of years afterwards students were forced to learn proper spelling . In 1806 he published ” The Compendious Dictionary of the American People “. And we Americans were from then on doomed . We were dominated by proper spelling and correct usage . Little children were from then on dominated by spelling tests from lists of words forced down their throats by dictatorial teachers . The words themselves were prisoners . Any odd spellings were shamed and then weeded out ! Conform , damn you ! Toe the line ! Fall into lock-step !
Freedom of Speech ? You say patriots fought for it in the 1770s ? That’s gone , fella ! Get out your dictionary . Study that Speller !
I wish that you , readers , couldn’t spell ,that you can’t recognize the so-called spelling errors on a page . Let freedom ring once again in America ! It’s perhaps not too late . Anyway , there are long lists of great writers who couldn’t spell , my friend Joe wrote . Joe might be one of them .