My grandfather couldn’t spell for anything, God bless him.
It’s not a surprise, of course – he left the Pennsylvania schooling system at 8th grade, and went straight to the Navy*. And it’s not like the Pennsylvania public schooling system in the early ’40s was a model for educational excellence.
(Of course, the people of that generation were supermen and superwomen. A substandard education by their standards is pretty much a gifted education by ours.)
If there was one thing that he couldn’t do, it was to properly spell a possessive or a plural. (e.g. “we serve bean’s”.) But my favorite, still to this day, is seeing a dropped letter on a past tense. Show me a sign that says “We serve bake beans” and I’ll show you a slightly teary ex-Pennsylvanian.
The point is, I have an irrational trust of such a place. Like, you might think “eww, they can’t even spell corned beef. What must it taste like?” but I think “Ah, home. Bet they cook like my grandparents used to.”
So this predilection also skews me in unexpected ways. My grandfather, my best friends, my extended family – they can’t spell for squat either; you’d think they never picked up a book in their lives. So when I’m helping the kids with their homework, I should try to nudge them towards spelling more accurately, right?
Maybe. But then again…
I think of all the people I’ve been blessed to have in my life, and they’re rocking just fine without reading like the New Oxford. Which maybe isn’t the best educational perspective, but that can I say? It’s all I got.
And if I’m lucky, one of those … creative spellers … will even learn to cook like my grandfather did.
* (Yes, that means he enlisted a few years early.)