12+ I post a #bookcovers and #firstsentences homage series on Instagram (as @tallandtrueweb) featuring fiction and nonfiction from my bookcase. Sharing the posts has brought back many fond memories of dusty books I haven't read in years. And I recently shared a favourite tear-jerker, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.
As I wrote in an earlier blog post, The Last Book That Made You Cry (August 2017), I read Tuesdays with Morrie while being "Mr Mom" for my then-toddler son. At the time, I had a home-based software consultancy, and the plan was to catch up on project work during his morning and afternoon naps.
However, my son's morning naps stopped happening, and he wouldn't settle for his afternoon nap unless I pushed him around the block in his pram. And then I couldn't get the pram back in the house without waking him!
Mr Mom days with Morrie
Eventually, I gave up trying to squeeze in work in the afternoons and instead pushed my sleeping son in his pram to a local park and enjoyed an hour or so of reading. And it was during this period I discovered Tuesdays with Morrie.
This post is not the place for a detailed review of the book, save to say, Albom learns his old college professor, Morrie Schwartz, is dying from ALS. And Albom recounts the Tuesdays he spent visiting and philosophising with Morrie, commenting in the opening paragraph:
The last class of my old professor's life took place once a week in his house, by a window in the study where he could watch a small hibiscus plant shed its pink leaves. The class met on Tuesdays. It began after breakfast. The subject was the Meaning of Life. It was taught from experience.
I enjoyed reading Albom's tale of his "last class" with Morrie. But as I drew nearer to the end of the book, I wanted to avoid its "inevitable conclusion". So when I got to the final chapters, I put the book aside and started reading another one instead.
Over the next few months, I read several books on my afternoons in the park with my son asleep in his pram. And then, one afternoon, I decided it was time to brave Tuesdays with Morrie again.
Braving the final chapters
I had been right to hold off reading about the death of Albom's old professor and "Coach". But sitting on the park bench that day, it felt good to finish the book and shed tears over Morrie's passing. And when I closed the book cover, I was ready to move on and push my sleeping son home.
Or so I thought. Because when I took down Tuesdays with Morrie from my bookcase and dusted it off for the Instagram post, I re-read the final chapters, and the tears started flowing again.
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Perhaps this time, it was a mixture of sadness at Albom's account and nostalgia at the memory of reading books in a park with my son sleeping in his pram? Those years have long gone. My son's now a strapping sixteen-year-old and towers over his dad. And though I still enjoy reading, nowadays, it's me that needs an afternoon nap.
Do you have similar fond memories of reading a favourite book? If so, please post them in the comments below.
Or why not share your memories and writing on Tall And True?
© 2018, 2022 Robert Fairhead
2022 Update: I wrote the Memories of Tuesdays with Morrie blog post in August 2018, after sharing the book on my #bookcovers and #firstsentences homage series on Instagram.
A year earlier, in another blog post, I had nominated Tuesdays with Morrie, Marley & Me by John Grogan and The Book Theif by Markus Susak as three books that had made me cry. (There have been many others since then.)
A year earlier, I had written another blog post in response to a question posted by Penguin Books on Facebook: What is the last book that made you cry? The books could evoke tears of joy or sadness. And three sprung to mind, all sad tear-jerkers.
- Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
- Marley & Me by John Grogan
- The Book Theif by Markus Susak
(I’ve read several other tear-jerkers since then.)
What struck me about Tuesdays with Morrie and inspired me to write this blog post was how re-reading the final chapters set the tears flowing again. It was like I was back in the park with my son in his pram.
And yet, fourteen years had passed since I'd read Tuesdays with Morrie. And my then-toddler son had grown into a strapping sixteen-year-old.
So was it Albom's account of his last days with Morrie that had me crying again? Or fond memories of early fatherhood, reading the book in the park, while my son slept in his pram? From my Morrie-like life experience of four more years of being a dad and seeing my son grow into an adult, I can safely say it was both!
A middle-aged dad and dog owner, Robert is a writer and editor at Tall And True and blogs on his eponymous website, RobertFairhead.com. He also writes and narrates episodes for the Tall And True Short Reads podcast, featuring his short stories, blog posts and other writing from Tall And True.
Robert's book reviews and other writing have appeared in print and online media. In 2020, he published his début collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story, and in 2021 Twelve Furious Months, twelve short stories written for the Australian Writers' Centre's Furious Fiction writing competition.
Outside of writing, Robert's favourite pastimes include reading, watching Aussie Rules football with his son and walking his dog.
He has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.