A great inspiration

April 24, 2009 at 8:32 pm (Obsessions) ()

My mother sent me some newspaper clippings from her local paper about the celebration of life held recently for one of my  high school teachers: Keith Lindstrom.  Mr. Lindstrom was my grade 11 English teacher and one of the greatest influences on my later educational life.  He was also a huge inspiration for me in my obsession with reading.  He was a tall man, dark, obviously balding but the first person I’d met who deliberately shaved his head.   He kept his head shiny and his goatee neat.  The possessor of a wicked sense of humour, he was great at getting a laugh.  In our production of “Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” I was the Mrs. to his larger than life Potiphar.

At the beginning of our educational year he presented us with a list he’d created; the list of books that in his opinion a well-read person should have read.  They were divided into sections: “very highly recommended”, “highly recommended” etc.  Being the bit of a suck up that I was, I decided to try and work my way through the list.  I got hung up by Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse.  Such a small book, but so dense!  (not in the stupid way)  The list fell by the wayside.

I moved away to go to university, and Mr. Lindstrom eventually retired.  My parent’s would see him now and then, out for a walk, often with his late in life small child.  About 5 years ago I requested that they ask him about the list and if he still had a copy.  Well, my mother tells me he was thrilled and next they saw him he had made me a copy of the most recent list, complete with handwritten annotations and comments.  It was so interesting to look at this list, so many years later and see so many books on it that I’d rea of my own free will.  And many others to try.

Everyone I’ve ever told about the list has wanted a copy, so I’ve made them one.  When I’d heard that Mr. Lindstrom had passed away, I wrote a note to his wife telling her how much I’d appreciated him and that I was sharing his list-I think he’d be really tickled by it.  I’m going to post it in it’s entirety on this blog, but it is a long list so I’ll do it in sections.  Maybe one per week?  I’ll figure it out later.

Farewell, Mr. Lindstrom, wherever you are.

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