Dear Mr. Albom,
After three classes discussing The Time Keeper with my eighth grade English students this week, I am more convinced than ever of the truth of its themes. I am a 37-year-old English teacher at Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but until a year ago, I was a lawyer working hundred-hour weeks in Manhattan. Now I’m using my life, my limited and precious time, in a far more gratifying manner--this week that happens to be teaching your book. The Time Keeper was the only required reading this summer, and the girls are relating to Sarah, finding morbid fascination with cryonics and learning alongside Dor. While discussing authorial intent (a simpler version of a new criticism discussion), I showed a clip of a video interview you did while promoting the book. Several of the girls piped up—“Oh, we’ve seen him,” and proceeded to tell the class about billboards advertising your trip to Chattanooga this fall. “Wouldn’t it be so cool,” said one of the girls, “if he could come talk with to us about the book?” Before I could agree, many voices jumped in insisting you were too busy, too famous. And the student whose idea it had been backed down immediately saying, “Yeah, I guess he wouldn’t come.” How can you end there? It seemed like a teachable moment . I told them we don’t know whether he’ll come unless we ask him. So I’m asking.
When you visit Chattanooga on Friday November 7, 2014 for the Holiday Hearts hospice benefit, would you please also come visit with seventy-nine 13-year-old girls who have gained a lot from reading your work and who would gain even more from getting to discuss it with the author? Girls Preparatory School is a five-minute drive from the convention center where your evening event will take place. School funds are tight, and I suspect there is little or no honorarium to offer you, though I will certainly go to the administration to ask if you are amenable to visiting. We would of course accommodate your preferred format: round table discussion, book reading, informal question and answer or prepared remarks. The girls may well be correct that you are too busy, but what a transformative event it would be for them if you are willing. These girls are curious, open-hearted, engaged, engaging and earnest. If your schedule cannot permit it, I understand. But if you make the visit, rest assured, you will not regret it. Thank you for writing The Time Keeper. And thank you for considering a visit to The Girls Preparatory School to discuss your book with your readers on November 7th. Warm Regards, Amy Piper
Below is a link to The Girls Preparatory School so you may learn more about us if you like:
http://www.gps.edu Amy G. Piper8th Grade EnglishOffice: 423-634-5427Email:firstname.lastname@example.orgGirls Preparatory School, 205 Island Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37405No Limits. Prepared for Life.
—, Chattanooga, TN
First of all, I want to tell you that my English is not the best, I live in Venezuela and I speak Spanish; I hope you can understand without difficulty.
It all started with me going to a bookstore in search of a new reading material, usually do this as often as possible because I love reading. I wandered around the shelves and when I already gave up seeing nothing of my taste, between two really thick books was "Tuesday with Morrie" by inmediado the title it reminded me of my art teacher without reading the cover I decided to buy it. I must confess that I regretted after reading some exterior way home, I thought it was a more self-help book, but I remember feeling that I created for my "old professor" impuls me to read it. I have at least 2 years without talking to my teacher.
I get home and I finally dared to open the book and start reading it, I was surprised how similar my teacher has Morrie, while the two are very different; I created each page a different feeling. I'm young, 18years, my teacher has at least about 62 years, and half of the book the fear of losing flooded me and I get to call him on his cell phone, thank God heard me, they would have not done if he did. We talked a long time and we will be back on Friday, Thanks for that.
Morrie captivated me as a person, died a few months before my birth and I find it a charming person with an amazing spirit, I promised myself to visit his grave one day and thank you for the feeling that caused me. Thank you for your last thesis together, has been of great help to my spirit, has made me realize that I slowly is conducting myself the way by which you were going, seeking only money, work and drowning in routine days , Thanks to you and me the coach is not late enough to ask, like you, that happened to me?.
My intention in writing this is not your book alagar or alagarte you. Alago the person was Morrie and what it means to me now, although I met him, in my thought now took his teachings in me and I plan to keep them cool during my college career (psychology) and every day from waking to sleep.
Finally, Mitch, mingling between those lines I find it incredibly easy to find people like Morrie captivates me today, and I really hope to be so old.
- With Morrie
With Honey and much Gratitude, Maria Rodriguez, Student of Psychology, Venezuela
June 8, 2014
—Aragua - Venezuela, ,
I found it very important to share with you the tremendous impact that you have had on one of my students in particular. This began last year when I taught Tuesdays with Morrie to my Junior English students, where we focus on American authors. The message of this book resonated with many of my students, but one in particular seemed to connect with your message. This particular student has had to deal with the loss of a parent early in her life, and in spite of this difficult situation she has become a very loving, caring and giving young lady. I have always encouraged my students to read independently, but at the beginning of this past school year, she came to me and told me that it was her goal to read every single one of the books that you have written. We are now at the end of her senior year and she has accomplished this goal. She even had our librarian order a copy of The First Phone Call from Heaven so that she could read it right away. Not only did I want to share this with you, but this year my seniors had to create portfolios at the end of the year. One of the journals that my students had to answer was, "Who do you admire? Why do you admire this person? What kind of impact has this person made on your life?" This student chose to write about you as the person she admires the most. You have taught her many things through your novels and she turns to quotes from your books to help her get through some of the difficult moments in her life. You are someone that she admires also because of how you continue to help others. It has become one of the items on the Bucket List that they had to create to meet you. I hope one day she is able to do so.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and your stories with us.
—Payson Seymour High School, ,
This year I hadn't planned on surviving my 15 birthday. I had relinquished all hopes of a brighter future, and focused the remainder of my year withdrawing relationships in a quiet fashion to make "leaving" an easier task. With a terminal mindset, I completly isolated myself from society, figuring no such aid could be offered to such a forsaken girl. I never considered this act to be selfish; never did it cross my mind that taking one's own life was an act of weakness. It just so happens that the night I was at my darkest moments... I picked up your book "Tuesdays With Morrie". I found myself insantly drawn in by the passages; crying alongside Morrie, laughing from his blunt remarks, and feeling the figurative pain of captivity in one's own mind such as Morrie had felt. I seemed to have lost track of the moment, and found myself wide awake, drying the tear stains I had collected earlier, being that it was 1 A.M. with the novel completed. My intake on life began to shift, and my situation I currently was in, seemed so insignificant compared to those of Morrie's. The lessons Morrie taught appeared to touch almost every individual in my class, however during class discussions I heard numerous remarks such as, " How inspirational!" and "We should do that someday". Not once did I hear a person say, "Let's go change our lifestyle for the better, Let us make a difference, and strive to make an impact on another person's life". You see the modern day society is comprised of individuals who talk a big talk, attempting to satisfy others instead of taking role in action. I decided then, that I would focus on other people's state of being, and target repairing society with the little actions I could part-take in. I began by spending my Sundays at our local river, cleaning all trash I could find. I found such a great amount of satisfaction from reflecting over the days work with visible progres; I could see the change I had made. This became a regular thing, as soon as all nessecities were taken care of after my school day, I would take the remainder of my time and run to the river with my bags, and begin where I had left off the day before. The riverside has improved tremendously, I have brought along friends, and have talked to numerous people about joining in on the volunteer work. Every Wednesday I have began volunteering at an assisted living facility in another town, where I play piano for residents, and converse with them. I have fed people with Parkinson's disease their meals, helped make "newspaper fashion", as well as relive their past through series of stories. I find myself leaving the facility a new person, one with a fresh set of morels each time I exit the doors. My latest project, yet more of an aspiration, is to donate one of my kidneys. I figured that because I lack an idea of my ideal purpose in life is, if I am able to aid someone who is fighting for their own, I could discover mine as well. No gift I could give, could ever amount to the gift of life. It is the only thing I want for my sixteenth birthday, and I plan to save up my money for the operation. Mitch Albom, none of these acts would have ever began if it weren't for your inspring words and doings. The messages you bestowed led me to a complete change of lifestyle. I wasn't planning the completion of my 15 year, however through your lectures I have found a temporary purpose for my life; and that is to better others. Thank you Mitch. You truly did save my life. Your words and charities spark the selflessness in numerous people. You are one of the few people who act upon their ambitions rather than talk of them. I want to become a leader like you, and make a difference in the lives of others; hopefully discovering my own purpose along the way.
Sincerly a freshman girl,
—Petoskey Highschool, Petoskey, MI
The students in my advance 7th grade English class read Tuesday's with Morrie over the summer. Although it has taken awhile for me to set guidelines for their project, they have been sent forth to discover about their own lives by meeting with a significant adult in their lives. Their project is based on 10 lessons on life gleaned from Morrie's advice in the book. Their objective is to decipher meaning from quotes on specific topics, pose and answer self-reflective questions about those topics, and participate in a weekly "class" about each topic with a trusted, experienced adult in which the focus is a lesson from Morrie. The final products of the project will consist of a personal narrative about their experience that pays tribute to their chosen adult, a series of poems about each topic, and a presentation to teach the rest of the class about the most significant ideals learned in their journey.
Honestly, I have never seen 12 and 13 year old students be so enthusiastic to engage in such an arduous assignment. Through our brief discussion, these kids feel empowered by the opportunity to express themselves and connect with the values espoused in the book. I look forward to sharing some of the more insightful work. In the meantime, a word of encouragement from you might make a difference for those who are doubters.
—Rockdale Junior High, Rockdale, TX