Sunday, June 21, 2009

Memory and Age

Martha's dad, John Ensign is with us for about a week. John is a recent widower of 87 years old, voracious reader (he reads the NYT's as a full-contact sport. If I don't get to it first I find it in dismembered pieces in other rooms), and an intriguing conversationalist. He is an unapologetic liberal of the old school, studying with Neibuhr and Tillich, and personally acquainted with Bonhoeffer. He's a southern gentleman who travels in full suit and tie, yet he fought the KKK to integrate Christian camps, paying the price with a burning cross in the front yard.
Tonight we went for an after-dinner walk, talking about a wide range of things. On the way home, we talked about memorization and how hard it is to get kids to memorize anything. John then said he had to memorize 500 lines of Shakespeare before he could graduate from high school. No way! 500 lines? I pursued him; which play? "MacBeth" he said, and launched into a soliloquy of Shakespeare planted deep into his memory. I was transfixed by his eloquence and power of memory.
I guess it's not too much to ask for the books of the Bible from 7th and 8th graders!


At 7:55 AM , Blogger E Erickson said...

wow, thanks for sharing that!


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