Happy Mother's Day to the late, great Lilly Louise "Bobbie" Guess-Bell-Cady.
She brought me here, she raised me, she always encouraged me and she ultimately forgave me. You can't ask for more than that.
And, speaking of unconditional encouragement, because of her constant praise, when I was in Kingman Junior High I was fearless. I thought I could do anything. I walked right up to the prettiest girls and kissed them (sorry about the chipped tooth, Jan!) and I was elected student body president without making any campaign speeches.
I also got it in my head that I was going to be a bonafide Spelling Bee champion. I just knew I was going all the way to Washington DC. The elimination process began in our home room and it started with each row. There were four rows of desks facing the teacher and to narrow it down, the best speller from each row competed with the winners from the other rows and then those winners went up against the other three classes and then the winners went up against the entire Junior High and then, that winner went to state.
A small hurdle for someone as confident as I was.
To make a long story, a little shorter, I couldn't make it out of my row! This happened three years in a row (6th, 7th and 8th grades). And, to add insult to injury, the girls dominated. In fact, I seem to remember the only guy who had a shot at the Kingman Junior High Spelling Bee Championship was Charlie Waters and I think he made it to the finals before getting bumped by this girl: