. . . Bernard S. Kaliss was born.
I know that because I have visited his grave often over the years and have memorized the dates. One day, my earthly remains will be laid to rest just a few hundred feet away from his on Mary’s Mountain.
Why is this important, you may ask?
Just because it is.
I first met Bernie at Mt. St. Mary’s during the Spring Semester of 1979 when as a freshman, I had him for a writing course on Tuesday and Thursday morning at 0730! Because I was working evenings (3-11) at the hospital, I had to get my classes in early.
And early it was.
The picture I still have in my mind is him, sitting at his desk, reading the Wall Street Journal as we gathered for class each morning.
Already on my way to being the “Arch Duke of Death”, I once wrote a paper in his class which described why autopsies are sometimes required and why sometimes they are not. After getting the paper back, he asked me to see him after class and there he thanked me for the explanation as his son had been killed in a car accident and no one ever explained why they needed to perform an autopsy on him. We hit it off after that and I think I did pretty good in his class.
We went home for Christmas break that December, only to return to hear the news that Bernie had suffered a stroke and had died a few days after Christmas.
Although he was in my life for a very short time and I knew little about his life, I think of him often and never fail to visit his grave when I pass through Emmitsburg. As long as I am breathing, he will be remembered. My guess is though, that I am not alone and he made an impact on others also.
As I get older, I often wonder how I will be remembered once I’m gone and I am told that the jury is still out on that one.
I simply hope, however, that I may have unknowingly touched someone’s life in a way that they will always remember me as I remember Bernie Kaliss.
May his memory be eternal and Happy 100th Birthday, Sir.