Six degrees of separation

Six degrees of separation or poetry and dum-dum bullets part 2.

This is going to sound like a very unlikely story, but I just can’t resist telling it.

A fortnight ago I had an email from an old pupil saying thank you to me for giving her “a love of literature and language which has been a life long gift” I was thrilled to bits with it, wrote back to tell her and thank her and then wrote a blog about it.

Now this morning I’ve had another email from my pupil which has blown my mind. I should tell you at the start that her married name is Rickard, although she had signed herself originally with her maiden name by which I knew her at school. Now she has taken our story a surprising stage further, she sent me two photographs and both of them fairly jumped out of the email at me.

The first was a face I recognised at once, because it belonged to a very old and valued friend. His name was Derek Rickard and he was my right hand man when I was secretary of the Streatham CND Group back in the sixties. He’d been a conscientious objector during the war and had been sent to prison where he’d been treated rather badly, although he never said much about it.

When I knew him, he was a passionate member of CND helping to organise our
local group on its annual trip from Aldermaston to London, handing out leaflets of a Saturday morning, delivering newspapers, entirely and wonderfully dependable. He was one of the most principled men I’ve ever met and it turns out that the man Sally Cooper married was his nephew.

Hows that for the six degrees of separation? The sad part of the story is that he died some years ago, but the second surprise of the email was that Sally had found a picture of the two of us at his funeral. To say this has made my day is putting it ridiculously mildly.

3 thoughts on “Six degrees of separation

  1. How lovely to see Derek’s picture, and hear about him from someone else ‘s perspective. My husband was particularly touched.
    Thank you, Beryl


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