The Linear Canvas
This journal is about the wrongs and rights of the world, as I see them.

The Linear Canvas

Speech Class

August 15th, 2004 . by Alexander Fisher

When I was a little boy, no doubt I must’ve had a strong southern/hillbilly accent. I had grown up around people that were mostly from either the Ashland or Paintsville, Kentucky areas. I had little experience with people, until I got to school, that didn’t have any real accent. I thought our family’s accent sounded normal, but TV and living in Springfield,Ohio were making me realize that there were people in Ohio that talked funny.

I had made it through kindergarden without much incident, besides the assasination of President Kennedy. (I have an alibi) When I was promoted to first grade the next year, I was finally in a grade that took learning a little more seriously. There were many tests and screenings that children went through at that time to detect learning disabilities and other problems that could affect the success of that child throughout life. One was the speech test.

I understand the importence of speech tests in most situations. I would suppose that sometimes they are early indicators of some other dysfunction, like hearing loss. In my case, I never realized I had speech dificulties until one overzealous speech therapist decided that I had a problem.

It wasn’t untypical for me as a boy to repeat the greetings and phrases that I had heard. I was a big boy before I realized “have to” was two words instead of one. I thought it was normal to greet people with “Hey Fellers, How ya’all doin’?” or “Hower You?”. I even thought “irregardless” was a real word.

I was given the speech test one afternoon at school. Later, before I went home, I was given a note to take to my mother. On it, the speech thereapist had written that I had taken the speech test and had failed it. She said I now would have to take speech therapy to correct my speech impediment. I wasn’t particularly phased by this news, but my mom was furious. She decided that she would take me to school the next day and straighten this out.

I remember the ride being really bumpy all the way to school, and we walked. My mom was mad and was walking too fast to keep up with easily. As we entered the school, my mother took my hand and led me, or better yet, bounced me up the stairs to the principles office on the third floor. Mom’s intention was to clarify that little Alexander did not have a speech problem. I know my mom really just wanted to explain that there could not possibly be anything wrong with the way her son talked, so she explained to the principal:

(said in a big Appalachian/Southern Accent)
“Hain’t nuthin’ wrong with the way he talks!”
(Phonetically that would be: “Haintnuttinwrongwitdawayheetawks”)

Even as a small child I understood the significance of what my mother had just done.

I was sent to speech class that day.

The young teacher who conducted the speech therapy was not the same person who had tested me originally. After about two days of therapy the teacher took me out into the hallway and told me

“Alexander, There is nothing wrong with the way that you talk. Go back to class now.”

I guess it’s just how you say it.

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