My tradition of origin said, “Find a teacher.” My first teachers, of course, were my parents, especially my father, who taught me to paint a room, saw a board, read poetry during thunderstorms, climb tall logs in the playground and catch fish. When I was in about the fifth grade the rabbi’s wife, who was my Hebrew teacher, invited me to her home and was the first person ever to serve me coffee.
At the sprawling university I attended, two teachers took an interest in me in my freshman year. My philosophy professor, Mr. Wisdom (no kidding), had lunch with me just to talk, and a history professor held Saturday night soirees at her apartment where she served sherry. They made me feel like more than a registration card number.