Making a ‘Beeline’ to Conversation Club

Submitted article

Conversation Club met on Oct.22 at the lovely heritage home of Susan Henry. President Marla Stewart thanked Susan for hosting the group and commented on the bright fall day and beautiful tree colors viewed on the drive through the countryside.

Marla spoke about the club’s traditional way of answering roll call with a reading. She encouraged us to bring a poem, quote or reading to the next meeting. Fifteen members answered roll call.

The Christmas Committee, Susan Henry, Sharon Breckel and Lois Hackney, reported that we will celebrate Christmas together with a tea at the Clinton County Historical Society. Everyone should bring a gift for the exchange. Reservations should be made with Diane Murphy, treasurer.

Vicki Wilson began the program by sharing a book she heard about on NPR. “Beeline” by Shalini Shankar is about spelling bees for children. Vickie has always been interested in spelling bees and told us about the time she participated in a spelling bee and later, as a school teacher, when she announced a spelling bee.

Scripps National Spelling Bee began in 1925. Last year, 2018, was the 92nd annual spelling bee and it was aired on ESPN. In 2019 there were eight spellers who were declared unbreakable and all were declared champions.

Contenders are serious, achievement-driven students of spelling who work with coaches. They work on personal strategies, learn phonics rules, word roots and Latin. Students can be no older than 14 and in no grade above eighth.

Vicki tested our spelling abilities with words from all the spelling bee levels. Most of us realized that even with our many years of experience with the English language, we would not make it to the top levels.

Vicki encouraged discussion by asking the question, “Do you think this is child development or child abuse?” Many commented on the complexity of the English language, language rules that don’t always work and words that have several meanings. We did not find an answer for Vicki’s question but it did encourage good discussion.

Friends continued conversation over delicious fall refreshments of pumpkin squares and mulled cider with other fall munchies.

Submitted article