Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I am Endebted to Irving

January 8, 2006

Irving Layton was my first cousin twice removed (his mother and my grandmother were first cousins). More significantly, he was my teacher at Herzliah High School for most of my secular subjects for a period of three years (1953-1956). From Irving I learned Latin, history, English literature and, most memorably, composition. Each week he assigned an essay topic, and then thoroughly critiqued our very modest efforts. I was only 12-14 years old then, yet it was one of the best learning experiences that I have ever had. I only wish that more of my doctoral students were exposed to someone so dedicated to teaching writing. In addition, he opened our minds to poetry, inspired us to read and love good literature and exposed us to the works of important social critics. I feel very indebted to Irving, proud to be his cousin and grateful to have been his student. May his memory be for a blessing.

Stanley Messer (Highland Park, NJ )
smesser@rci.rutgers.edu

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