Grammar School Spelling Coaches
I intend to become a better writer, using strong verbs, making a little game out of it: Today’s strong word are – affirm, propose, promote, rebut, mitigate, abrogate, educate, propagate, deepen and dominate.
Amy studied the table, determined not to squirm. She did not understand everything the three adults said. No one affirmed her fear that she had been a bad girl. They talked as if she were invisible. Amy silently proposed that, when she had her own little girl, she would include her in every decision.
Father leaned across the table to the stranger, face growing red. He waggled a finger. “Let me understand. If we go ahead and hire you, you guarantee Amy’s promotion to the Spelling Team?”
Amy noticed her mother shake her head. Mother remained silent, failing to rebut father’s question. Earlier, when her parents thought they were alone, father talked very loudly. Mother cried.
The stranger shook her head. “I don’t remember saying that. What I said, was, if we can mitigate those nagging little mistakes that hold, errrmmm, Amy, hold Amy back, there is every reason to believe she can make the Spelling Team.”
She favored Amy with a small glance, and then returned to her parents. “Of course, if Amy does not improve, you may always abrogate the agreement.” Her body language exuded confidence.
Amy listened, dreading what was to come. She went to school every day, and the Sisters educated her as they thought best. Her father’s focus on the Spelling Bee dashed Amy’s pride in her grades.
Her father had been State Spelling Bee Champion. Propagating his spelling prowess to her, filled everything he did with her. Often, when he spoke about his march to victory, his eyes came alive. He relived every round and every word. In his mind, he vanquished his opponents, one by one.
His stories inspired Amy. And she just knew that, if she could just spell better, his love for her would deepen. Spelling dominated every discussion, every car ride, every meal her father presided over. Sometimes, she wished she could go outside and play with her friends.
Mother slapped the table. “I won’t listen to this, anymore. Amy is only eight years old. Let her be a child. She will have to face the real world, soon enough.” With that, mother glared at the at the other two, arms’ folded.
After many heart beats, father scooped Amy out of her chair and hugged her tightly. He kissed her forehead. “What have I done? Oh, Amy, please forgive me. I love you more than anything in the world.”
Amy wrapped her small arms around his neck and squeezed, hard. “I love you so much, daddy.” She wanted him to hold her forever.