Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Wise & Kind Dr. Massey

I found out earlier this week that one of my former English professors, Dr. Tom Massey, passed away. He taught at Chapman University. He was the first professor I had for an early American literature course when I started my M.A. I later had him for a critical theory course and contemporary American literature. He was also one of three professors on my oral exam committee.

There are a few professors that I shared memorable moments with. He is one of them.

I would often encounter Dr. Massey on the stairwell. There were several flights of stairs leading to classrooms and faculty offices. Perhaps it is because a stairwell is such an archetypal image that my encounters with him either ascending or descending carry such meaning.

Dr. Massey had a great love and passion for literature. At the time I was taking the American literature course, I was working as a counselor along with my good friend Deanna. I especially recall the discussions of Thoreau and Emerson in the class. Each morning after the class met, I would share my experiences with Deanna while we were supposed to be working. There were days where we spent hours talking about my class and related topics that came up instead of working. This started a love affair for both of us of early American literature.

Dr. Massey was always so kind and offered me great support. He continues to be an influential person in my life.


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