[A]s he spoke, it became obvious. He was not waving his hands to make a point as freely as he had in their first conversation. He had trouble pronouncing certain words—the I sound seemed to get caught in his throat. In a few more months, he might no longer speak at all.
David’s face was panicked. “I can’t . . . move.” He had polio. Of course, the rain did not cause this. But a child Morrie’s age could not understand that. For a long time—as his brother was taken back and forth to a special medical home and was forced to wear braces on his legs which left him limping—Morrie felt responsible. So in the morning, he went to synagogue—by himself, because his father was not a religious man—and . . . he asked God to take care of his dead mother and his sick brother.
But a saving embrace came into Morrie’s life the following year: his new stepmother, Eva. . . . She talked when her new husband was silent, she sang songs to the children at night. Morrie took comfort in her soothing voice, her school lessons, her strong character. When his brother returned from the medical home . . . the two of them shared a rollaway bed in the kitchen of the apartment, and Eva would kiss them good night. Morrie waited on those kisses like a puppy waits on milk.
During lunch break, his father took Morrie to the boss and pushed him in front of him, asking if there was any work for his son. But there was barely enough work for the adult laborers, and no one was giving it up. This, for Morrie, was a blessing, He hated the place. He made another vow that he kept to the end of his life: he would never do any work that exploited someone else, and he would never allow himself to make money off the sweat of others.