years after the memoir about his life was published,
Morrie Schwartz is still teaching lessons about life,
love, forgiveness and generosity.
says author and Free Press columnist Mitch Albom, is
more than he ever hoped for "Tuesdays with Morrie,"
the book he wrote about lessons learned from weekly
visits with Schwartz, his favorite college professor and
mentor, in the months leading up to his death in 1995 of
ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease.
Sunday, when he appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s show,
"SuperSoul Sunday," on OWN, Albom talked about
how those lessons still resonate.
happy that Morrie still gets to teach," Albom said.
"For someone who’s not even here to have that
kind of influence 20 years later, I think every teacher
dreams about having that kind of effect. And (Oprah)
helped bring that to the world."
was Winfrey’s 1997 television endorsement, Albom said,
that made his "tiny book. … most of the
publishers we went to weren’t interested" and
helped turn it into an international best-seller.
don’t even know how Oprah Winfrey found out about
it," he said. "But she found it, and after I
did the show, I remember the president of her company
called my publisher and said, ‘I don’t know how many
books you have out there, but you should probably print
up some more.’
soon as the show aired, the country was sold out; you
couldn’t get them anywhere in America for like three
weeks until they reprinted them again.
always was grateful to her for finding ‘Tuesdays with
Morrie’ when nobody else had really known it was
"SuperSoul Sunday" episode featuring Albom was
filmed at Winfrey’s Santa Barbara, Calif., home.
was impressed with her interview skills 20 years ago,
and was equally impressed at this meeting, noting that
Winfrey had the latest edition of his book which
includes Albom’s reflections two decades after
asked me what did I mean by this, and what did I mean by
that," he said. "She’s still the same after
all these years and despite all her success. She takes
every book very seriously, and every interview very
seriously. We were very comfortable seeing each other.
asked me a lot about the lessons that still resonate
from the time that I spent with Morrie. The ones that
resonate with her and the ones that resonate with me as
we’ve both gotten older, and which ones have been
easier to live up to than others and the impact that the
book has had around the world, what I’ve seen and
where I’ve gone and what I’ve put into action, and
how it’s changed me, how it’s changed the trajectory
of my life."
said Winfrey was curious about his work in Haiti, where
he operates the Have Faith Haiti Orphanage/Mission in
Port-au-Prince, and about his time withMedjerda (Chika)
Jeune, a little girl from the orphanage who had
incurable brain cancer and came to live with Albom and
his wife, Janine. Chika became part of their family; she
died in April.
knew about that, and she asked me about what that was
like," he said, noting that that his experiences
with Schwartz and his time with Chika had some
was almost to the month 20 years earlier, I found out
Morrie had ALS and 20 years later, I found out Chika had
a brain tumor," he said. "And in both cases,
my life changed dramatically once I heard that news.
know, in Morrie’s case, I started to go and visit him,
and everything that led to. In Chika’s case, I brought
her to America, thinking we’d be able to take care of
it and she’d be back in Haiti in a month or two. But
she never left; she never went home, She was here for
hourlong show, he said, affords him the chance to talk
depth about the lessons he learned from Schwartz and how
his time with Chika also touched his life.
Sunday’ is a thinking show; it’s a philosophical
show," he said. Winfrey "talks about things
that resonate for other people. It’s not an interview.
It’s not about like, ‘Tell us about what it’s like
to be an author.’ It’s not about that at all."
he said, Winfrey explores deeper questions about issues
like forgiveness, and why Schwartz’s mantra —
forgive everybody everything — is one she’s come to
embrace over the years.
had a lot of people say to me, ‘Oh, I saw you on
Oprah, talking about ‘Tuesdays with Morrie.’ Well,
to all the people who’ve said that to me over the
years, here’s the second part of that conversation. It’s
20 years later, and we’ve finished talking about it.
Hopefully, they’ll enjoy it. I felt very honored that
she had taken the book very seriously 20 years ago and