Friday, February 11, 2011

Parallel Lines

I love Frank McCourt. I love the autobiography he wrote, Angela's Ashes. I listen to it as well as his follow-up books 'Tis and Teacherman in my car everyday. I listen to them over and over and over. Frank narrates the stories himself in his lovely Irish brogue. When Les called me a couple of years ago to tell me that he had passed away, I was sooo sad. I stopped listening to the CDs. I just couldn't bear to hear his voice knowing that he was no longer around. I felt as if I had lost someone very dear to me whose life I had been a part of since he was a wee lad growing up in the slums of Limerick, then surviving as a college student in his beloved America and finally as teacher in the burrows of New York City. It would be months before I could bring myself to play the discs again. But I eventually did, and I still do . . . everyday . . .

Mr. O'Neill, Frank's master in his fourth class at school admired Greek mathematician Euclid who lived in 300 B.C and is often referred to as the Father of Geometry. Frank tells this story about Mr. O'Neill who they called Dotty because he was small like a dot:

"He draws two lines side by side and tells us these are parallel lines and the magical and mysterious thing is that they never meet, not if they were to be extended to infinity, not if they were extended to God's shoulders and that, boys, is a long way."

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14 comments:

Leslie's pics said...

Waaaaahhhhh!! :*( 'tis a shame we lost such a beautiful fella...och.

Guess it's time to wipe the dust off my cd's and listen to them again!

jalna said...

'Tis, Les.

Randism said...

wat an amazing life! did he talk about how come he neva get his pdh wen he went to dublin?

Anonymous said...

Excellent! I love this post.

Winnie

jalna said...

Sorry Rand . . . "pdh"?

Thank you, Winnie!

Dd said...

I will never look at two straight lines the same again....

jalna said...

I know what you mean, Didi.

Erick said...

My deepest sympathy. Great line shots!

jalna said...

Awwwwww, thanks Erick.

Randism said...

sorry; he wen go dublin (trinity college) fo get his PhD but he never get em! two years went down da drain and i wonder how come? da teachers wuz lousy or was too hard or wat! just wondering...

jalna said...

Aaaahhhh, you're right Rand. Basically, it was too hard. His dissertation topic was Irish/American Literary Relations 1889-1911, and although he accummulated mounds of index card notes with information he got through research, he never could get it together.

Randism said...

i see; thanks for the info! of course, i don't know if he felt bad about it but it didn't matter since he touched many more lives than most!

K and S said...

wow!

jalna said...

Rand, due to his upbringing Frank always suffered from feelings of unworthiness and after failing at his PhD attempt, wondered how in the world he ever thought someone as he could achieve heights so high.

Kat, if you've never read Angela's Ashes, you should. It is veeeery engaging and entertaining.