Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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There's More Than One Side To Every Sadness

As my cryptic post of a handwritten quiz on UC Berkeley stationery yesterday and my post of an even more cryptic poem a few minutes ago suggest, I'm in mourning. My hero, role model, and friend Julian Boyd passed away yesterday. He was an idiosyncratic man and an even more idiosyncratic teacher, but the hundreds of people he touched -- and that's a highly conservative estimate -- would surely testify, along with me, that his idiosyncrasy contained unusually high percentages of both love and genius.

I learned how to teach from Julian. More importantly, I learned what I want to do with the time I spend as a teacher outside of the classroom. His generosity was enormous. And I had the privilege of experiencing a lot more of it than most of the people he knew. I'm going to try to write an essay about what I learned from watching Julian. For now, though, the poem will have to speak in its stead.

One of the great things about having longtime friends I stay in touch with through this blog is that we can share things that would be hard to express over the phone or in person. It meant a lot to me today when Batdina and Steven posted their entries about Julian. I rarely cry, but they got me tearing up. Then, when I read Kim's entry, I cried the way I did when I was three. No doubt my mid-life crisis is contributing to my sudden thrall to extremes of emotion. Today, though, the outpouring felt completely justified. I wish I could keep crying.

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