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Jun 11, 2021
In Favorite Paul Memory
During the four years that I taught at GWU, I got to know Paul because we both had an interest in aging and death/bereavement. I remember that he started a game (at least I think it was him) whereby a realistic looking plastic cerebral cortex was passed around people's offices. The trick was to drop it off when the recipient had stepped out and they would find it when they came back. A recipient felt "brained" to be sure. Paul grew up in Ohio; I had grown up in Pennsylvania and we were able to share the "stories" that came from towns like ours. A memory that I will never forget is the evening that Paul and I got stuck in an elevator between floors in the old medical building. Because we were between floors, even if the doors got pushed open neither of us was able to pull ourselves up through the opening. The fire department came but without ladders (and the clock was ticking because I was the guest for the class I was to teach in Paul's course) we were really stuck. One of the firemen looked down at us and recommended that Paul get down on "all fours" and let me stand on his back (if I wanted to get to class anytime soon). We looked at each other and then Paul got down on "all fours" (fortunately, I was wearing trousers). I got up on his back and two fireman pulled me through the opening. Eventually the ladder got there for Paul and he arrived at the classroom about 30 minutes later. After class, we immediately agreed that we would never again take an elevator together in that building. The one thing that I remember Paul for the most for is the "unconditional positive regard" that he had for everyone. We talked about it once because he knew about Carl Rogers' work and he commented that the new "methods" of communication were important but that at the heart of all relevant communication is "unconditional positive regard". Paul you left us too soon and yet I can't help but think that your great positive energy is somewhere making the world a better place. 😎
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