Aaron Burden, Unsplash

Wordsmithing & Learning to Write Right!

17:00 September 20, 2021
By: Keith John Paul Horcasitas

Memories of learning to write, tied in with a significant NFL Record, in grammar school - Holy Name of Jesus Catholic School, New Orleans, Louisiana.

"Before you are allowed to leave class for recess, you need to make the correction to this essay," Sr. Caroline, who was my 7th grade English teacher, said.

"But, Sister, I don't know what is wrong with it," I said as I gloomily walked back to my desk and kept trying to see what was wrong with the sentence Sister had circled with a red pen.

All my grammar school buddies were waiting for me to join them at recess for some more football that we had been playing before school started.

As required, I had written a one-page story the day before about having gone in the past to a New Orleans Saints' game with a neighbor, Drew, whom I use to hang around with.

In my simple essay, I shared about how we had gone to a Saints game against the Lions—back then, they were played at the nearby Tulane University Stadium, before the Superdome was built.

Many times, fans would leave the Saints games early, as they never had a winning season back in those days.

Sure enough, Drew and I had left that game at halftime following what appeared to be another dismal game—with Billy Kilmer as QB (Archie Manning came the next year!).

As we were walking around in the surrounding area of the stadium, Drew and I heard a crowd roar unlike any we had heard before.

Not long later, when fans were coming out of the stadium, we found out that Tom Dempsey had kicked the winning 63 yard field goal—which was an NFL record for many years!

Back to my essay, I kept looking at the following sentence that was marked in red by Sr. Caroline: "Anotherwords, Tom Dempsey had won the game with a record field goal kick!"

Finally, after a few more back and forth frustrating walks to Sr. Caroline's desk, she gave me a big hint: "'In your own words,' change the sentence!"

The light-bulb then went on: "'In other words," I had missed the (field) goal of a perfect paper, but such is the "Human Condition!"

Now that I occasionally get an article or submission in the paper, I'm better prepared to proof my work like Sr. Caroline had taught me.

Of course, "Spell & Grammar Check" help me now—most of the time!

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