Friday, April 4, 2014


After too many years to count, I found myself back in a high school classroom yesterday and again today. Kevin, my grandson, is teaching English literature and two of his classes have read Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” and seen a movie about McCarthyism. I was invited to be interviewed about the McCarthy years as I experienced them.

For an hour in each class we talked about “witch hunts” and related issues going back to my parents’ time, starting during World War I, and my own memories from childhood up to the present. As you may imagine, everything was on the table: the struggles and contributions of “reds” to social progress; communism and “red scares”; the FBI’s hounding of civil rights and anti-war activists; present day “surveillance”, deportations and racial profiling — too long a list to fill out here.

There was a warm feeling of connection despite more than seven decades of separation by age. We enjoyed and respected each other. For me, it was a wonderful time. It brightened my day even after the latest 5-4 abomination by the Roberts Court.


  1. Leon, this is great! What a wonderful opportunity for these young people! I just took a group of students to perform in a senior residential home, good experience for all, but nothing like this. Great photo, too! - Paul

  2. Love the photo, Leon! There's something to be said about hanging around with young people! And it's always special to be able to make connections across generations.....

  3. What an inspiring story, and what a great shot of you and your new homies, Leon! I was pleased to be able to talk with you in detail about your experience with these students. The more of these kinds of cross-generational and cross-cultural experiences, the better!