In my old age I often sit back with my eyes closed and try to recall memories of the many thousands of young men and women who passed in and out of my classrooms over the last 61 years. I wonder where they are, what they are doing, and how many children and/or grandchildren they have.
One of them, now a grandmother, lives very near to us and she begs me not to tell people that she was once a student of mine in university in 1963 lest, God forbid, people will know her true age which she, like so many women, never likes to reveal. “Hevel hevel….all is vanity, wrote Ecclesiastes (Koheleth).
Another former student is now the Head of the Department of Biblical Archaeology at a very prestigious university in upstate New York.
Fourteen former students are now ordained rabbis.
So there is much to recall and much to be proud of.
Today I received an e-mail message from our editor, Anne Gordon. A former student had recently read one of my articles in THE TIMES OF ISRAEL and he was excited to locate me. Anne did not give him any information but forwarded his request to me.
It was from Kyle, the boy with a smile, who was a student of mine a dozen years ago. An outstanding student, quiet, often shy, with a very loving and warm personality…probably an inheritance from lovely parents. I was thrilled to hear that he had been looking for me and I wrote to him at once.
In his reply he told me he had married two years ago and that he and his wife were expecting their first child, a girl who they will name Aria. He wrote a very long and detailed account of his life and it filled me with much happiness to learn how successful he has become. He will be a very devoted abba.
Our younger readers cannot understand the depth of joy there is in being remembered. And older readers can delight knowing that someplace, somewhere, someone remembers them from a long-ago time. They have not been forgotten.
Kyle’s messages to me are words that I will always cherish and treasure. It is a warm feeling to know that I have touched other lives.
One lives in New York City and is an artist and cartoonist for the NEW YORKER magazine. Another lives in far-away Minnesota and is a nationally renowned landscape painter whose paintings in galleries sell for very high prices. He keeps in touch with me by frequent e-mails. I have suggested to him that he should come here to Israel where a wealth of landscape awaits his palette.
Kyle doesn’t paint nor draw cartoons. He expresses his creativity through the spoken and written word. And through them, he has brought sunlight and gladness into my old-age heart.
Thanks to Anne Gordon for forwarding his message. And special loving thanks to Kyle, the boy with a smile, who took time from his busy life to remember a once-upon-a-time teacher. God bless him.