A former professor of mine died last week. Here’s his obituary from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He was my European History prof when I was a freshman. As a freshman in the music school my interest in the subject was, shall we say, not exactly obsessive. Nevertheless, he hung in there and tried his best to highlight things that might grab my attention.
Later on I became good friends with his son Costa, a fellow student, who was in classes with the pseudonymous Anthony Cartouche. Later still, I helped him in his migration to the east coast and became friends with his cousin Monica. So despite being a “C” student with scant interest I became close to the family. Go figure.
Last summer I ran into him again. Costa’s daughter was graduating high school, and he had a big party up in Glen Rock and he invited me. When he told me his dad was there I almost fell over. “He must be 90 years old!” I said, and Costa replied “yup.”
I’ll tell you what, though, it was the most inspiring conversation I’ve had in the last few years. He remembered me right away and seemed really glad to see me. And he was as sharp — make that sharper — than 99% of the people I run into who are in the so-called “prime of their life.” He was still reading and learning constantly — a very new book came up, just published, and I mentioned I was halfway through it. He’d already finished it!
We had a great talk about politics and family, and it’s a memory I’ll treasure always as well as a role model for how to be when I grow up.