They are two unlikely partners, one from a family of ten Italian children in the Bronx, the other from the gardens of the watch manufacturer Alfred Kurth in Switzerland. The first fought in World War II, the second was just born eight years too late to have fought in it, though he was present in part of it. They became partners as teachers in the Levittown school district.

Does fate have anything to do with it? If you believe in fate, you are close to the mark, but you’ve missed the bullseye. For some reason the maker of this universe arranges things, in what we call providence, so that opposites come together, the better to understand the limits of human experience, human feelings. The veteran above had to round up rioting refugees with a fixed bayonet, and the second, as a school teacher, had to face a student who wanted to make racial mayhem out of his class. With different backgrounds they won, they showed an example of what God makes of mere humans.

And now they find common ground, as in their old age they bond with what is surely the reward of old age–brotherhood. You want to know what brotherhood is? Find these two men, both of them still in the octogenerian-nonogenarian category, and see how they get along.

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