There is a reason we call it spelling. The magic of the letters, when put together to form words, can indeed cast a magical spell within and around us.
She stood in front of the class of first graders. Mrs. Bergstrom. Tall and straight. Not with a robe, nor a hat, but she did have a wand. Some might remember it as just a teaching pointer. But not me. As she tapped it against each letter chalked perfectly on the blackboard, white dust — fairy dust I was sure — sprung into the air. We were spelling. And it was magic.
That magic moved from the blackboard to our Big Chief notebooks. Then marched with us single file to the library down the terrazzo halls of Washington Elementary. With each book we moved into neighborhoods. Made friends with dogs. Rode horses with cowboys and bloomed into teenage girls, and boys with paper routes. Everything was possible in the words.
I’d like to think it still is. As I type each morning, I take that magical journey. With each letter I make a path. Sprinkling it with a stroke of Mrs. Bergstrom. Because it’s all beautiful, even the hardest of days — when wanded into the words of “look what we survived,” and “look what we’ve become” — are nothing short of magical! I still believe it. I have to believe it. I hope we all can.
Because she didn’t just give us the happy words. She taught us how to spell. How to make our way through it all. Today, I too will stand straight and tall. And I promise, I will not waste the magic.