Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Last week, one of my favorite teachers died. His name was Al Montesi. I took an American Literature class from him at St. Louis University. He was a popular teacher who had a passion for his subject. (Sometimes he used to throw the chalk to make a point--or maybe he was angry at our stupid answers!)

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, he was a character with a lovely Southern accent. Although he loved the Southern writers, what I remember studying in his class was an F. Scott Fitzgerald story, "Bernice Bobs Her Hair." Once I spent time with him in a bar with a group of students. He told me I was "perspicacious." After I looked it up in the dictionary, I loved that word. I never forgot it, and I never forgot him.

After parents, teachers are some of the most important people in our lives. Do you agree? I have several other teachers I could write about, who made a strong impression on me, who influenced my life. Do you?


Blogger Ann said...

I found this and another tribute to Dr. Al Montesi when I typed in his name after seeing his obituary in the UNIVERSITATIS magazine tonight. It made me sad to learn of his death although I haven't had any contact with him since I graduated in 1964. I was in his creative writing seminars and would have leaped over the precipice for him (was that from Tosca?). i doubt he ever had a clue as i was really shy and intimidated. first of all because i had attended "convent school"-Sacred heart and was never in classes with "boys" or "men". Also because i was so happy to be there which was only because i went to his desk at registration and requested and was shiocked that he agreed. Once he wrote on a story I wrote that it had images that were "golden". I was walking on air. Then he read one of my essays to the class-about the Lord of the Flies and a story was published in the school newpaper...I haven't thought about him or SLU or any of that in a long time.
I remember he told us we were too young to really write and passionately advised us to go out and live. Well I did and never became a famous writer as i was too distracted with the living part. He was a great teacher and unforgettable to me.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Lynne Davis said...

Can I get in touch with you? Will you give me your email address?
It sounds like we have a lot in common.

7:17 AM  

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