Commemorate July 23

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  • 22 Apr 2017 at 11:05 pm #9181


    July 23 is a day to commemorate an event in the life of Charles J. “Cormac” McCarthy, Jr. Today is the 70th anniversary of that event.

    In 1947, the thirteen-year-old Charles, in what became a McCarthy tradition, followed his two older sisters in participating in the annual spring Knox County Spelling Bee. Representing St. Mary’s School, his sisters Jacquelyn and Barbara had made their way to the finals of the bee. In their respective years Jackie advanced and eventually placed third in East Tennessee while Barbara spelled her way to a third place spot in the County.

    When he reached the eighth grade Charles was also chosen to represent St. Mary’s in the spelling contest. In anticipation of the event his photo along with the other participants appeared in the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

    Disappointingly Charles was eliminated in the first round. The word that he misspelled was–[drum-roll]– “commemorate.” The putative psychological significance of the event, if any, has not been determined. But so far among over 30,000 different words used in his novels, McCarthy has avoided using the word “commemorate” in any of them. (Its present participle was used once in The Orchard Keeper, p. 81.)

    23 Apr 2017 at 4:35 pm #9186


    Sweet. Good stuff. Funny he has avoided the word that tripped him up in the long ago. My daughter was a county champ in Iowa one year in the late 1990s. I don’t recall what word was her undoing at the next level.

    23 Apr 2017 at 4:55 pm #9188

    Candy Minx

    Ah, that is a funny story. And unfortunate to forget a word whose meaning is memory. Darn!

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