Constantinople. Spelled C-O-N-S-T-A-N-T-I-N-O-P-L-E. Constantinople.
Watching The Great Australian Spelling Bee with all those children spelling out words reminded me of this word and my struggles with spelling.
“This word was my greatest challenge, I had to master it. It was my Everest.”
When I was in Year 3, approx 8 years of age, I had a lot trouble with spelling. What I clearly remember is the feeling that everyone else seemed to find it easy and I didn’t. We were given a page each week with 15 spaces and any words we didn’t spell correctly in our work we had to write down and practice writing them out all the next week. If there were any spaces you could choose your own words. Well, I wanted a free space so I could practice and beat the ultimate word – Constantinople.
I don’t know why this word was the ultimate test to prove my spelling ability but it was.
Finally my time came, I had an empty space and my chance to conquer this word. I wrote it out every night and then on Friday’s spelling test … I spelled it WRONG!
Next thing I know my Mum and I are called in to “talk” to the teacher. She said that the word was ‘too hard’ and I needed to ‘choose easier words’. Sigh.
So of course I didn’t and the following week I triumphed! My excitement wasn’t even dampened by the fact that city is called ‘Istanbul’ and had been since the 1920s. I won! And look at me now, a copy editor and proofreader!
It’s funny what memories a word can hold.
So my new challenge – New Delhi. When I do crosswords and this is the answer I always have to double-check – is it Delhi or Dehli? I can never remember.