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Cheers to Great Teaching and The Strand

I'm zoom teaching tonight. 50 years I've been a teacher. Every so often something I read

about teachers makes my heart sing. This is one of those pieces.

An old man meets a young man who asks:

“Do you remember me?”

And the old man says no. Then the young man tells him he was his student, And the teacher asks:

“What do you do, what do you do in life?”

The young man answers:

“Well, I became a teacher.”

“ah, how good, like me?” Asks the old man.

“Well, yes. In fact, I became a teacher because you inspired me to be like you.”

The old man, curious, asks the young man at what time he decided to become a teacher. And the young man tells him the following story:

“One day, a friend of mine, also a student, came in with a nice new watch, and I decided I wanted it and I stole it, I took it out of his pocket.

Shortly after, my friend noticed the flight and immediately complained to our teacher, who was you. Then you went to the class:

‘This student's watch was stolen during classes today. Whoever stole it, please return it.’

I didn't give it back because I didn't want to. Then you closed the door and told us all to get up and you were going to search our pockets one by one until the watch was found. But you told us to close our eyes, because you would only look for his watch if we all had our eyes closed.

So we did, and you went from pocket to pocket, and when you went through my pocket, you found the watch and took it. You kept searching everyone's pockets, and when you were done you said

‘open your eyes. We have the watch.’

You didn't tell me and you never mentioned the episode. You never said who stole the watch either. That day you saved my dignity forever. It was the most shameful day of my life.

But this is also the day my dignity was saved and I decided not to become a thief, a bad person, etc. You never said anything, nor even scold me or took me aside to give me a moral lesson, I received your message clearly.

And thanks to you, I understood what a real educator needs to do. Do you remember this episode, professor?

And the professor answers:

‘I remember the situation, the stolen watch, which I was looking for in everyone’s pocket, but I didn't remember you, because I also closed my eyes while looking.’

This is the essence of teaching:

If to correct you must humiliate; you don't know how to teach. Dedicated to all the awesome teachers I know


Dear Readers, Below is part of the letter I got from Nancy Bass Wyden, the owner of The Strand, last Friday. No one wants this fabulous store to close. Fortunately, fans have been rushing over to shop. I was--and still am--scheduled to offer on writing workshop on January 28, 2021. Registration information will be up on the Strand website in December. Meantime, I'm doing lots of shopping there. Hope you do too.

Dear Friend,

I grew up in the Strand, or at least that’s the way it felt to me. I remember the old floorboards clacking under my Mary Janes, the ghostly grey walls, the magical delight when I found the candy colored books gracing the wooden children’s shelves and the thrill that I could bring home any book I wanted. As I watched my grandfather and dad working side-by-side evaluating piles of books at the front door buying desk, never did I imagine that the store’s financial situation would become so dire that I would have to write friends and devoted customers for help. It hurts to write this, but that is the predicament that we are now in.

We’ve survived the Great Depression, two World Wars, big box bookstores, e-books and online behemoths. We are the last of the original 48 bookstores still standing from 4th Avenue's famous Book Row. Because of the impact of Covid-19, we cannot survive the huge decline in foot-traffic, a near complete loss of tourism, and zero in-store events (compared to 400 events pre-pandemic).

As the 3rd generation owner, I have tried to imagine what my dad and grandfather would do right now after they spent their entire lives—6 days a week—working at the store. I don’t believe they would want me to give up without a fight and that’s why I’m writing you today.

What can you do to help?

The next few months will determine the future of The Strand. Can we count on your help?

With gratitude, determination and appreciation,

Nancy Bass Wyden, Proprietor

Strand Book Store


We voted Saturday. If you haven't already, let your voice be heard.

Love 'n Stuff,




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