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Subject:  The Ultimate Praise Date:  1/26/2005  7:51 AM
Author:  beccapooka Number:  3707 of 4871

I asked one of my classmates last semester if I could interview him for the school paper. (I had already pitched the idea to the editor, a girl who offers little to no feedback about anything ever.) He reluctantly agreed. LOL I think mostly at his wife' insistence. (She works for the school, and I have met her a handful of times as well.)

The short story is that this man attends classes because he suffers from Alzheimer's and college is part of his treatment plan. He really is just such an interesting guy... He's 69, so his life experiences are totally different from most of his classmates even without considering his reasons for being there. His reluctance was more because he doesn't think he's that big of a deal than because he doesn't want to share his story. During the interview, which was really just a great experience for me, at least half of what he told me was 'off the record.' He told me not to make him out to be some kind of hero, a challenging request to meet because, well, he is a hero to a lot of people. In the class that I had with him, for example, the young guys were always just in awe of him and the stories he told.

The story was printed in January's issue. I've received quite a bit of positive feedback from teachers and classmated I've had, particularly those who also know the man I wrote the story about. Last night I ran into him and his wife. They are taking a class together this semester. (She doesn't always take classes with him, but it's Shakespeare, and she thought it would be fun. The teacher for the class is awesome.) Anyway, his wife thanked me for writing the story and said that she cried when she read it. She said that I captured what is in her husband's heart very well. He also thanked me for the story. His wife laughed then and said that when he read the story he said, "This isn't right." She wondered if he was reading the same story that she had just read. So she asked him wat wasn't right and he said, "So many people deserve this so much more than me." That's how he felt about the story from the beginning, though.

I am just so glad that they liked the story. I got so much out of writing it.


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