It is with profound and yet inexplicable sadness that I report the passing of author and Classicist Erich Segal. When I heard this, I went to my bookshelf, where after nine moves and countless rounds of weeding, I still had his book, The Class, which I bought new, in hardcover, in 1985.
I sat for a long time with the book, and could not open it. Reading this story of students at Harvard in 1958 again would have reminded me that I never attended Harvard, never became a Latin professor, and haven't taught Latin for 17 years. No matter how long I am a librarian, I will always, in my heart, be a Latin teacher.
After reading this, I wrote Mr. Segal about how much I, as a Classicist, enjoyed it. He wrote back. Despite his literary success with popular fiction, Mr. Segal remained an academician, and was a fellow at Oxford University's Wolfson College.
I am a librarian now. When I fling books at middle school students, I have to remember that sometimes, the right book at the right time can become integral parts of our personalities, keepsakes of what we were, and tokens of dreams both realized and lost.
Requiescat in pace, Magister Segal.