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Conversation between NU Professor John O. Hunwick and a little boy: part 2

Professor John O. Hunwick
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Author's Note for Part 2 ...

Struck by the poignancy and tragedy of what befell Professor John O. Hunwick, the author has attempted to fashion a short story in parts one and two which, he hopes, will remind folks from all faiths and backgrounds of just how precious good health and life really are.

To bring everything to a satisfactory conclusion, the author will review Professor Hunwick's Jews of a Saharan Oasis. Readers who have not yet read part one may click this link:

A Son's Gratitude

"Thank you for this, many people don't get to see the wonderful aspects of John, who happens to be my father. He was and is a most wonderful man with the kindness of a saint and a heart to match. Although he is quite limited in his abilities now I am so glad you were able to see a glimpse of what I had the pleasure of experiencing most all the days of my life. His caretaker is a wonderful lady, she is truly one of a kind. I thank you again for writing this, I hope to meet you at the park when I make a visit there with my Pops."
(Reader’s comment to part one, signed DH23)


I met David Hunwick shortly after Chesda, his father's caregiver, had called to let him know that if he still wanted to meet the author of the article: Conversation Between Northwestern University Professor Emeritus John O. Hunwick and A Little Boy, he should hurry over to Terminal Park in Skokie lest his nineteen-month old triplets run short of patience.

Arriving within minutes of her call, turns out David was due to come by anyway at Chesda’s bidding to pick up his "Pops" for an afternoon drive. My presence simply put a “rush” on everything.

Regarded within Academe as among the most accomplished scholars in the esoteric field of African Islamic history, John O. Hunwick is Professor Emeritus of history and religion at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where he taught for twenty-three years until his retirement in 2004, the author of four books, many learned articles and editor of Ufahama: A Journal of African Studies.

Notes on Human Facial Composition

I looked deeply into his eyes to see the reflection of an earlier time when John O. Hunwick, son of Reverand Cyril Owen Hunwick and Doris Louise Miller, was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant of The King’s Shopshire Light Infantry.

The endlessness of human facial composition, even for "identical" siblings who often have dissimilar features, has always fascinated me. It is a wondrous fact that every person has a unique face, making him distinguishable from his fellow.

John’s facial mask is primarily one of “perplexity"-not unlike masks of any sort which hide or otherwise distort our unique physiognomy. Smiling becomes difficult. Yet, there remains a twinkle in John's eyes.

When we bumped into them again, John looked as if he remembered us, especially my triplets. As a matter of fact, it was not my son Guri, but John who initiated the conversation with one of his guttural utterances and an excitement on his face that seemed to suggest two interrelated possibilities: for but a moment, John’s mask was lifted and that not only did he recognize but had missed them.

I am fully aware that what I’ve just said above is not science, more from the heart really than the head. Yet there remain a few certainties as well: many people love Professor John O. Hunwick. I've enjoyed the good fortune of meeting two of them: his caregiver, Chesda, and his son, David.

If this article reaches your desk and if you, dear reader, are among the many who love John O. Hunwick, professor emeritus of history and religion at Northwestern University, make your feelings known by writing a short comment. Simply follow the instructions.

One more thing … while enjoying good health for many years, Professor Hunwick taught thousands of students what he had come to understand about history and religion. It should not surprise you that he has continued to teach even after his stroke; it’s the pedagogy of those who truly teach not so much with their words but by the impact of their example. As a friend once said of my son: “In Recognition of A Man Who Has Endured Illness With Majesty and Grace And Inspires Us With His Noble Character …

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