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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 4, December 2017

Aron Rothstein
Toledo, Oregon, USA

Persistence of Memory

In seventh grade, we knew Mr. Lin as the campus gardener. Born in Sumatra, of Chinese descent, he seemed mantled in mystery; rumor had it that he had been an intelligence operative in Burma. If we firsties were amid his plantings, fetching a ball or having a snowball fight, sudden cries of "Mr. Lin! Mr. Lin!" might go up. Everyone would run for cover.

But Mr. Lin also taught English. In ninth grade I walked through his door into a chamber more conservatory than classroom; student desks had potted plants, even large trees, perched on them. It was in that room I first heard of Basho, learned to read the Bible as literature, and developed a love of words, of language for its own sake.

– Anyone know what lassitude means? . . . No one? Well, it's the attitude of a pregnant collie.

– Come on, Mr. Lin. There's no word for that. What about a pregnant . . . uh . . . uh . . . beagle?

– Beatitude.

Forty years on, I read his name in the paper. That idiosyncratic, charismatic teacher, whose lessons set me on my life's course, had taken advantage. His explanation: Times were different — I loved those boys.

Who lives in my memories? Who owns them?

Times crossword —
a corrected answer
changes all



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