|Helen Thies - She Loved Her Lit|
None of these books was included in the curriculum, outside reading that they were, and not until one encountered American literature as a junior, under the tutelage of Helen Thies, did one become erudite about great American novels. Or did we? Certainly we heard about Mark Twain, Emerson, Thoreau and others, but how many of them became part of your reading library - or inspired you to read more? Perhaps the criticism is unfair, perhaps not.
As sophomores we were treated to an entire quarter of Leonidis Chimbidis reading All's Quiet on the Western Front, no doubt a great novel, but certainly an easy lesson plan for him to prepare just as it meant no homework for the students. So it was like we were getting cheated on inspiration.
And then this writer discovered, through the Google, that Mr. Chimbidis died at age 73 in 2004, and found his obituary online.
We missed out on something, as you will discover if you click that link and read his obituary. He was indeed a traveled man. He never left you with any doubt that he was quite intellectual, but the depth and breadth of his life may surprise you. It's just that he never seemed like the kind of guy who would come out to the farm and help you unload a wagon load of bales. We knew him as having worked as a bartender at the Red Llama, as reported by Mike Lien after one of our proms, but his involvement in the development and operation of that and other businesses was never brought to the light of day.
What a shame. The obituary reports that Leo was a teacher and philosopher in the tradition of those classical scholars of Classical Greece. We could have learned much from the man,what with his repeatedly investigating the religious and archaeological sites in Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia. . . .
Leo, we hardly knew ye.