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In his graduation day robe, he looks like a cross between a biblical prophet and a Christmas elf. No one there knew he was a prominent doctor of sociology, with years of experience as a college professor and several well-respected books. Once, he brought a tango tape and got them to play it over the speakers. At a birthday party for a friend, he stumbled inexplicably. He was in his seventies by this point, so they whispered "old age" and helped him to his feet. My remaining grandmother, sadly, died very slowly and lost her memory to Alzheimer's, which was a very painful thing to observe.He has sparkling blue-green eyes, thinning silver hair that spills onto his forehead, big ears, a triangular nose, and tufts of graying eyebrows. He would close his eyes and with a blissful smile begin to move to his own sense of rhythm. Then he commandeered the floor, shooting back and forth like some hot Latin lover. Another night, he fell down the steps of a theater, startling a small crowd of people. But Morrie, who was always more in touch with his insides than the rest of us, knew something else was wrong. I remember going to visit her in the hospital and having her not recognize me. Professors always have so many students, I always think they won't remember me. Would Morrie's lessons have carried less weight if Mitch and Peter hadn't resumed contact by book's end? Linus from home: So, did Morrie really remember you when you called after seeing him on "Nightline"? Because of the cane, he took a while to reach the chair. Morrie would walk that final bridge between life and death, and narrate the trip. He met with meditation teachers, and closed his eyes and narrowed his thoughts until his world shrunk down to a single breath, in and out, in and out. My wife and I are trying to start a family, something that had never been a priority with me prior to Morrie. Instead, he hobbled into the classroom, his home for more than thirty years. Massage specialists came by once a week to try to soothe the constant, heavy stiffness he felt. I've negotiated long stretches of time off with my radio commitments -- I now get between two and three months a year away from the job -- and dropped several television obligations.
Before we leave, I hand my professor a present, a tan briefcase with his initials on the front. Looking back, Morrie knew something bad was coming long before that. Bernie from Novi, MI: Mitch, You've been highly successful at a young age.
Outside, the sun was shining and people were going about their business. When a colleague at Brandeis died suddenly of a heart attack, Morrie went to his funeral. I've been telling all my friends 'you have to read this.' Mitch Albom was given a wonderful gift from his teacher Morrie Schwartz and now he has the great pleasure of auditing the same class. Who do you think got more out of their Tuesday meetings, Mitch or Morrie? After reading this book, what do you think about that? There's no perfect answer, but what I imagine Morrie would suggest is, first of all, to be direct with your expression of your feelings.
When they left, the doctor gave them some information on ALS, little pamphlets, as if they were opening a bank account. Charlotte had a million thoughts running through her mind: How much time do we have left? He was using a wheelchair now, and he was fighting time to say all the things he wanted to say to all the people he loved. "All those people saying all those wonderful things, and Irv never got to hear any of it." Morrie had a better idea. And all the heartfelt things we never get to say to those we love, Morrie said that day. Acknowledgments Chapter 1: The Curriculum Chapter 2: The Syllabus Chapter 3: The Student Chapter 4: The Audiovisual Chapter 5: The Orientation Chapter 6: The Classroom Chapter 7: Taking Attendance Chapter 8: The First Tuesday: We Talk About The World Chapter 9: The Second Tuesday: We Talk About Feeling Sorry For Yourself Chapter 10: The Third Tuesday: We Talk About Regrets Chapter 11: The Audiovisual: Part Two Chapter 12: The Professor Chapter 13: The Fourth Tuesday: We Talk About Death Chapter 14: The Fifth Tuesday: We Talk About Family Chapter 15: The Sixth Tuesday: We Talk About Emotions Chapter 16: The Professor, Part Two Chapter 17: The Seventh Tuesday: We Talk About the Fear Of Aging Chapter 18: The Eighth Tuesday: We Talk About The Money Chapter 19: The Ninth Tuesday: We Talk About How Love Goes On Chapter 20: The Tenth Tuesday: We Talk About Marriage Chapter 21: The Eleventh Tuesday: We Talk About Our Culture Chapter 22: The Audiovisual, Part Three Chapter 23: The Twelfth Tuesday: We Talk About Forgiveness Chapter 24: The Thirteenth Tuesday: We Talk About The Perfect Day Chapter 25: The Fourteenth Tuesday: We Say Good-bye Graduation Conclusion I love this book. Do you think Morrie should have been tougher on him? Does impending death automatically make one's voice able to penetrate where it couldn't before? One common thought is that it would be best to live a long, healthy life and then die suddenly in one's sleep. Try the "effect of silence" exercise that Mitch described in your class or in your group. In what ways would your list be the same or different? Discuss the book in terms of structure, voice, and tone, paying attention to Mitch's use of flashbacks and other literary devices. Mitch Albom: That's a great and important question.
A longtime panelist on ESPN's "The Sports Reporters," Albom has also penned films, plays, and a musical. He also runs an orphanage in Port Au Prince, Haiti, the Have Faith Haiti Mission. The Curriculum The last class of my old professor's life took place once a week in his house, by a window in the study where he could watch a small hibiscus plant shed its pink leaves. Afterward, I find Morrie Schwartz, my favorite professor, and introduce him to my parents. He was rushed to the hospital and injected with Adrenalin. "We need to check this further," the doctors said, looking over his results. My other set of grandparents were immigrants, and my grandfather did not speak very often or very much.
For more than a decade, he was named top sports columnist in the nation by the Sports Editors of America, the highest honor in his field. He is a small man who takes small steps, as if a strong wind could, at any time, whisk him up into the clouds. He used to go to this church in Harvard Square every Wednesday night for something called "Dance Free." They had flashing lights and booming speakers and Morrie would wander in among the mostly student crowd, wearing a white T-shirt and black sweatpants and a towel around his neck, and whatever music was playing, that's the music to which he danced. He twisted and twirled, he waved his arms like a conductor on amphetamines, until sweat was dripping down the middle of his back. A few years later, he began to have trouble walking. He died rather suddenly without my ever having a chance to really relate to him as an adult.
MITCH ALBOM is an internationally renowned author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and TV broadcaster and philanthropist. You were expected to respond to questions, and you were expected to pose questions of your own. Although no final exam was given, you were expected to produce one long paper on what was learned. The last class of my old professor's life had only one student. It is the late spring of 1979, a hot, sticky Saturday afternoon. When the ceremony is over, we throw our caps in the air, and we are officially graduated from college, the senior class of Brandeis University in the city of Waltham, Massachusetts. The lab report came back suggesting a neurological problem, and Morrie was brought in for yet another series of tests. Do you think after this experience you wished you had done anything different with them? I never knew one grandfather -- he died before I was born.