The English Professor at Large

“Hey, Pat, you want to hear a joke?”  The question comes from a 13-year-old boy standing in my office in his parents home. Handsome, funny,and highly intelligent beyond his years, Edward Albert, Jr. waits for my answer. “Yes, sure, Edward.” He opens up the top drawer of a filing cabinet where cards with jokes are stashed. Pulling out one, he tells me the joke.  This becomes a ritual every weekday after he comes home from school, followed by a conversation about books, or “Mad Magazine,” or films, or records, or writing, or what happened in class, or anything else that strikes our fancy.  And that is the beginning of a 42-year friendship until his death, way too young at age 55. Ah, the memories, like gentle rain, of his teenage and young man years, fall into my mind and fill my heart.Memories of  Edward grabbing my hand as soon as…

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