George's deep, happy joy

An important memory of George in the 9th grade suddenly popped into my mind this morning at about 4 a.m. [on Sept. 16, the day before George died].

George Schmidt, right, at age 13, with younger siblings Tom, Terry, and Joan. George and Tom were alter boys at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Linden, New Jersey.He was new at St. Benedict’s prep at the time. Sometimes, just before bedtime (we slept in the attic room), George would stand up and recite poems that he must’ve memorized because he wasn’t reading them from a book.

The poems that he loved to recite the most were by William Blake from “Songs of Innocence.” The poem that began with these lines: Piping down the valleys wild,/ Piping songs of pleasant glee/ On a cloud I saw a child./ And he laughing said to me.

Blake is the poet that meant so much to him while he was beginning to enter adulthood. He loved those Blake poems very, very, very much. He would get an expression of deeply happy joy when reading Blake out loud.

A poem George loved to recite at age 14.

A teacher from the beginning

"Sharing his love of literature" is a story by his sister Joan Schmidt:§ion=Article


October 1, 2018 at 8:58 AM

By: Sharon Schmidt

George's love of poetry

When Tommy shared this story with me, on the afternoon before George died, he suggested that George might like to hear the poem again. Our son Josh read it to him that day. Our son Sam also read this poem, and another George loved very much, The Lake Isle at Innisfree by William Butler Yeats, before we buried George's remains at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Chicago on Sept. 28. We were trying to focus on peace, joy and happiness, which were as much of George's life as his hard work and five-decades-long fight against injustice. See

October 1, 2018 at 9:14 AM

By: Susan Ohanian

George & poetry

A phonecall from George always lightened my day, and intermixed with our conversations about the state of public education and grief over the moribund teachers unions and the self-serving Democrats. Despair was always lightened and hope for Change always flickering when George offered a few lines of Blake or Yeats.

“Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.”--W. B. Yeats

December 13, 2019 at 12:37 PM

By: Richardheano

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