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Why 70’s Kids Couldn’t Spell Relief

March 31, 2021

My daughter does volunteer work six days per week. It’s about a ten minute drive from our house. Despite the fact she’s 21, she doesn’t have a drivers license so I drive her. The CD player in my 25 year old car is broken, so I listen to the radio. And I listen to the Oldies station.

I love music. I have for years. I know most of the songs on the Oldies station. And often several are played without a commercial break. This morning I was offering her trivia about each song and artist. Many I also sang along to.

Is this a CD?

No. I just know all these songs. Because, you know, I’m old.

The final song that came on while we pulled into her parking lot was RESPECT by Aretha Franklin. I explained what a pioneer she was in the music industry. She exited the car before the song got to the first chorus and the distinctive,




I thought about how I would never forget how to spell that word. Sure, it’s a simple word, but the song has burned it into my memory.

Travis Tritt has a song called T-R-O-U-B-L-E. The song features the lyrics

What are you doin’ A-L-O-N-E?

Yeah, hey good L double O-K-I-N-G

I smell T-R-O-U-B-L-E

I’m sure everyone my age also remember’s Jenny’s phone number from the Tommy Tutone hit of the same name: 867-5309. Songs and ads make us remember.

It’s also why those of us who grew up in the 70’s couldn’t spell the word relief. It’s an easy word, like respect, or trouble. But, just as kids will learn the right spelling from a song, they will also learn the wrong one.

When I was in 5th grade many of us spelt relief as R-O-L-A-I-D-S. Rolaids, the antacids company ran a commercial. The tagline was “Rolaids spells relief.” Interesting that as 10 year olds we weren’t even the target audience. In fact, the people buying Rolaids knew how to spell relief.

So, here I am almost 50 years later. I don’t remember class lessons, but I remember Jenny’s phone number, the spelling of respect and remind myself on the right spelling relief.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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