In an eventful week, one celebration and three commemorations.
Your mother in law is looking great! You better take good care of yourself, Jim, so Deborah doesn't have to spend too many years without you!
I saw my father's first cousin, Barbara, for the first time in many years on Thursday, along with a son and daughter-in-law. She's 96, and looking and sounding like she's got a number of years left in her. She now lives much closer to me than she did, so I hope to see a lot of her.
What an unexpected pleasure (though tempered by the reason for its appearance) to see the appreciation for Jerry Doolittle.
Mr. Doolittle (I can still recall the somewhat exasperated snort he let out when someone addressed him as Professor Doolittle on the first day of class) was my expos teacher in the fall of 1985. While I am not a person who generally lacks for confidence, I was coming to Harvard from a California high school that (at that time at least) didn't send many kids to the Ivy League. So I remember wondering if I would have to change the way I wrote to succeed in college.
Mr. Doolittle quickly assuaged those fears. He made it clear that there was no mystery to being a good writer. It was about having something to say and then saying it with clarity and conviction. And as someone who was interested in the idea of national service (and would go on to write my thesis about it), I still remember the anger he held toward the peace protesters of the 60s who had treated military personnel with disdain. He firmly believed that if there hadn't been student exemptions and everyone had served, the Vietnam War would have ended far earlier.
It's been awhile since I thought of Mr. Doolittle, but he was one of only a small handful of teachers at Harvard that actually made an impact on me. Thank you for sharing your memories of him and for the links to the Brian Murphy article and Crimson profile.
Jim I find obituaries a marvelous way to learn fascinating aspects of individuals, both distinguished and just plain interesting.
The New York Times over the years has developed the art of obituary writing. I have learned of the multi-dimensionality of folks who I thought I had known well.
Warm thanks for introducing me to Angela and Jerry.
Now that I am 90 my wife thought that I should write my own obituary. AWWWRK! I would much prefer to read what others will write about me. I imagine that it might be nice, but not especially true. Fortunately I shan’t be scrutinized by NYT obituary specialists.