Derailed by that tricky S

High School Year Book Pic

The caption in my Livingston High School yearbook shows I wanted to be a sportscaster a long time ago.

I decided I wanted to be a sports reporter in high school. (The proof is written above my yearbook picture.) So, I attended college to get a degree in communications, though I was a bit discouraged when my professors echoed the same sentiments as everyone else. “You’re a girl! You can’t be a sportscaster,” was the usual phrase.

But I pressed on, convinced the mid-1970s were modern times and I would surely get a job with a microphone talking about sports.

My last semester at Miami of Ohio was one of imminent change. I would be graduating in the spring. I had worked hard for that cap and gown, and had managed to thwart my older brother’s claim that I wouldn’t make it through my freshman year, because I wasn’t smart enough to attend college.

One day, about a month before graduation, I was summoned to the office of the communications department without explanation. I was instructed to sit in a room where I was met by a graduate student.

After we’d exchanged pleasantries, she folded her hands on the table. “I see here you never took the speech test.”

I didn’t know where she was going.

“You can’t graduate without taking the test.”

This immediately got my attention. “Fine. I’ll take it right now.”

All these years later, I have no memory of test itself, but I know I went in with complete confidence. After all, I’d been in multiple theater productions, performed in singing groups, and had taken voice lessons. I’d served as a sportscaster on my high school’s in-house radio station and was co-anchoring Miami’s college sports TV show.  I wasn’t the least bit concerned.

I should have been.

After the test, the grad student reappeared. She sat and blinked several times. “I’m afraid you have a speech impediment.”

“A what?” I grinned. Surely she was mistaken.


It’s true. When I say the letter S, it often comes out with a bit of a hiss.

“A speech impediment. You hiss when you say a word that that begins or ends with the letter S.” She stared at me like I’d committed some sort of crime.

Now I understood. “My front tooth got knocked out when I fell off a bike when I was  little. I learned to speak without it.” I shrugged.

She paused dramatically. “Well, you’ll need speech therapy. You can’t graduate from the communications department with a speech impediment,” she said as if I was a child.

I calculated the time I had available. Finals were approaching. “When would I do that?”

“It’s up to you. But you can’t graduate until you get it sorted out.”

“Wait! That can’t be right! Why didn’t someone tell me earlier?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know, but those are the rules.”

Montgomery TV .75

I trained myself not to mangle S words on the air, but now I’m not so careful.

My brain exploded. I understood that speech therapy was not a one-time thing. It was a process. How would I explain to my parents that I wouldn’t be graduating?

Here’s the strange part of the story. I have no idea how I got out of it. I know I complained, that I never went to speech therapy, and I graduated on time.

And, yes, I still hiss.

“You did it again,” my sweetie pie periodically points out.

I don’t have to ask. I know what he means. “I didn’t do it when I was on the air,” I say, defending myself. “I can fix it, if I think about it.”

‘That’sss good newssss,” he said.

“Yesss, it issss.”


I am delighted to announce that The Next Chapter publishing team will be releasing my new novel, Wild Horses on the Salt, on June 14, 2020.


A woman flees an abusive husband

and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Kindle Pre-orders available at:

Paperback Pre-orders will be available soon.







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