Sources of Joy: November 16 is the date for On My Teacher’s Shoulders release

This time, we’re really doing it.

After a brief hiccup, we’re back on track to celebrate the completion of On My Teacher’s Shoulders, the book I’ve written about learning from former fourth-grade teacher, mentor and friend Paul Tamburello at three different points from 1974 to 2004.

The event will be held from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Brookline’s Pierce School on Friday, Nov. 16.

For those who don’t know, Pierce is where I had Paul as a student and worked for two years as an apprentice teacher in the same fourth-grade classroom where I had been a student a dozen years earlier.

Paul taught at Pierce for 34 years in all, retiring in 2004.

Being as student and a fledgling teacher make up two of the three times I learned from Paul.

The last one came in 1993.

This was when Paul learned that he had Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a non-fatal version of ALS, more commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

Rather than sinking into a depression, Paul decided to begin a series of “Positive Spin for ALS” bike rides that sought to raise funds and awareness about the deadly disease.

He also began to take “honorary riders,” the names of people affected by ALS, with him on the ride.

And, in 1997, in an impromptu moment, he began to read the names of those rides at the jetty in Provincetown the day after the ride.

The first year he had 17 riders.

By 2004 the number had grown to 162.

Paul’s dignity, courage and strength in the face of his diagnosis and his efforts to help other constituted a different, but no less important, form of example and instruction.

The project will include a PDF of the book that interested folks can download and a web site designed by ace designer Russell Weller that also contains photographs, video, and audio.

That evening we’ll eat some food, talk a little bit about the project, and read some excerpts from the book.

More generally, I’ll celebrate having brought this project into the world that chronicles the substantial impact Paul has had on my life during the past 38 years.

Dunreith and I will be there.

We hope you can make it, too.

You’re definitely invited.

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