When I was in the fifth grade, I was one of two students representing my school in a city-wide spelling bee. My mother, who was a teacher at another school, prepped me for weeks beforehand. I could spell up a storm.

On the night of the competition I was nervous but confident, feeling fully prepared. I made it through the first round. Then I went up to spell my second word. The announcer said: "worthy." I drew a blank. He didn't use it in a sentence. He just repeated the word: "worthy." Still nothing.

Hesitantly I croaked "w-o-u-r-t-h-y," spelling my doom. Incorrect. As I left the stage and slinked to a seat in the auditorium, I saw my father slipping out the back door. My mother had to stick around with me 'til the bitter end, as mothers usually do.

Later my father remarked that I "didn't understand the word," which was certainly true. I understand it now. I haven't misspelled the word since then. In fact, I rarely use it in a sentence. Worthy.


No comments yet, why not leave one of your own?

Leave a Comment or Share Your Story

Please Sign In. Only community members can comment.

SMITH Magazine

SMITH Magazine is a home for storytelling.
We believe everyone has a story, and everyone
should have a place to tell it.
We're the creators and home of the
Six-Word Memoir® project.