Brandeis Alumni, Family and Friends
Looking Back at ‘Tuesdays With Morrie’
March 28, 2017
Detroit Free Press Columnist
Twenty-two years ago, I flipped on the TV and my life changed forever. An old professor of mine, Morrie Schwartz, was on the “Nightline” program, talking to Ted Koppel.
My mouth dropped. Morrie was more than a former teacher. He was closer to a favorite old uncle, a smiling, gentle mentor at Brandeis University in Massachusetts who saw in me a flawed but salvageable young man.
We’d been extremely close. I took every class he offered. I ate lunch with him. I visited his home. He spoke to me about life, values, love, community. He listened patiently to my silly collegiate complaints; I majored in sociology, his field, mostly so I could study with him all four years.
On graduation day, he gave me a hug. “Mitch,” he said, “you’re one of the good ones. Promise me you’ll stay in touch.”
I said I would.
And then I broke that promise. Every day, week, month and year — for 16 years. Not a letter. Not a phone call. Why? Ambition. Self-absorption. A belief that work — like this column at this newspaper — always came first, and everything else could wait.