She came from a big family. Lots of siblings and lots of cousins. They were not an intellectual family, but they were all readers. Every one of them learned to read at an early age. They boys learned from the sports pages and the girls learned from recipes. Words were important to them. Word search. Crossword puzzles. Jumbles. These were how they spent their time.
And like some families played touch football at family holidays and reunions, hers played Scrabble. Sprawling cross generational tournaments. Card tables were set up across the living room, even spilling out onto the porch. Brackets were drawn on a portable blackboard. Everyone was competitive. These were serious games. Family bragging rights were at stake.
She was the kids' champion for most of her teen years. Anyone under 18 was considered a kid. She made several good runs at the adult champion. This is why it became such a family tragedy years later when the words started failing her.