Appreciation: Mary Ishkanian exuded elegance and class

I met Mary Ishkanian for the first time well after her teaching days were over. The Item had just become the sponsor of the Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee, I was one of the judges, and Mary was the pronouncer.

I've sat through my share of these things in the ensuing years, and of all the pronouncers we've had since then, nobody -- in my estimation -- did it better than Mary. Every word, every syllable, rolled off her tongue as if Professor Henry Higgins himself had decided to inhabit her body. 

These were the days before the City Hall auditorium was fixed up and fitted with better equipment for things like acoustics. If you think it can be a bit rough now, you should have seen it back in the nineties, when…

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