The mind wasn’t affected at all. It was just the body was breaking down. And so just as that mask was the year before — ugly –his body was ugly, his face was frightening. And the home was starting to show the affects of his illness. So it was not what one expected as a freshman at an institution like Williams. He knew all that. And for the first time a barrier between Bob and the student, between what he saw needed to be done and what he could achieve, a gap was there. And he was upset. We began to talk about should he do this? Should he teach this class? Remember, I’m a young man, still a student at Williams, and I’m talking about these matters with my professor. An extraordinary experience. And Bob came to a resolution about of all that, or at least an attempt, and he relied on a gimmick, much like the mask the year before. He said, “Don, you’re going to come to my classes.”

I loved him. I loved him. So he had this little stool – 6 inches off the ground, 4 legs, overstuffed — and he had me put it at the base of his chair, and I was to sit there. They were sitting cross-legged around it, but I was to sit there in front of his classroom. I didn’t know these students. But he introduced me as his student and, “He’s going to be like a TA,” or something like that. I was there to complete a sentence if he couldn’t get it done, to repeat a question if he couldn’t hear it.

The students were afraid of him and nothing could be sadder for Bob. Some of them began to make a claim, “My parents didn’t pay all this money to sit in a house that smelled.” There was some anger. There was some worry about, “Well, how will I be evaluated?”

He said, “I want you to sit on a footstool next to my seat.” I said. “That’s a little pompous. Am I a fetch-and-tote-boy for you?” He was laughing and he said, “No, I want you to validate me to these students. I want them to see how much you care for me.”