Athanor. Torticollis. Ambystoma. Neroli oil. Those are just a few of the words that stumped some of the best spellers in the nation in last year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, the tournament of verbal terrors that returns on June 2.
For over a century, spelling bees have been stages for childhood triumphs and agonies, whether in front of a national audience or in a tiny classroom. What’s your most vivid memory of a spelling bee? Were you surprised, like Charlie Brown was, when a familiar word suddenly seemed unfamiliar under stress? (The culprit there was “beagle.”) Did you ever travel a spelling bee circuit, or did contests stay local? Were you ever a spelling underdog, or perhaps a favorite that others were looking to beat? And do you remember the words that you vanquished, or the one that defeated you?
We want to hear your spelling bee memories, big or small, joyful or pained, exhilarating or bittersweet. We may include a few in our coverage of the National Spelling Bee finals.