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Remembering Frank McCourt

July 25, 2009

Re "Frank McCourt, 1930-2009: Late-blooming author of 'Angela's Ashes,' " Obituary, July 20

With Frank McCourt's passing, we have lost not only a great author but a great friend to teachers everywhere.

When his book, "Teacher Man," came out, I went to hear him read at a local bookstore. I will never forget his hilarious description of his torturous days as a new teacher and his first words to a class: "Stop throwing sandwiches."

When I got to the front of a very long line to have my book signed, I told him that I had taught seventh-grade English for 30 years. He looked up at me with a sweet smile and said, "Oh, my dear, you deserve a halo!"

Sometimes when I've had a rough day of teaching, I'll open "Teacher Man" and laugh out loud.

Sheila Berman

Los Angeles

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Thank you for the excellent obituary on author Frank McCourt.

Observing McCourt at a Sun Valley writers conference, I saw a man at ease with everyone -- rich or poor.

He joked about his wife growing up in Palos Verdes -- somewhat different than Ireland. And he wondered what his mother would say after he received an invitation to L.A. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt's son's bar mitzvah.

He couldn't help but put a touch of humor and love into everything he said.

Richard Riordan

Los Angeles

The writer is the former mayor of Los Angeles.

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