|The Curriculum |
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. The class met on Tuesdays. It began after breakfast. The
subject was The Meaning of Life. It was taught from experience.
No grades were given, but there were oral exams each week. You were
expected to respond to questions, and you were expected to pose questions
of your own. You were also required to perform physical tasks now and
then, such as lifting the professor’s head to a comfortable spot on the
pillow or placing his glasses on the bridge of his nose. Kissing him
good-bye earned you extra credit.
No books were required, yet
many topics were covered, including love, work, community, family, aging,
forgiveness, and, finally, death. The last lecture was brief, only a few
A funeral was held in lieu of graduation.
Although no final exam was given, you were expected to produce one long
paper on what was learned.
That paper is presented here.
The last class of my old professor’s life had only one student.
I was the student.