Monday 16 May 2011: 4 years 8 months on …
Dear Rob and Class of 1986
My first email to you “disappeared” into cyber space last night, so let me try again!
Firstly, Rob, let me congratulate you on the magnificent reunion weekend that you organized. Everything flowed so smoothly and seamlessly, but I know that a lot of hard work and effort went into making it happen. I am sure that everyone enjoyed the various functions that they attended.
Secondly, I would like to thank the class for inviting me to share in your reunion with you. It is very rewarding for a teacher to observe the results of his handiwork and to know that, in part, he has been responsible in shaping their future. You can be justly proud of the contribution, small or large, that you individually have made to your families, your communities, your school, your country and your world. The Class of 1986 has certainly raised the bar to new heights!
Also, a very special word of thanks is extended to you for the shirt that you presented to me at the golf club function on Friday night.
I shall wear that shirt with fond memories of the very special years, 1984 – 1986, that I had the privilege of teaching and getting to know many of you at The Grey.
In 1859, the very first year that classes were taught at the brand new Grey Institute on The Hill, the Governor of the Cape Colony, Sir George Grey, was recalled to London. The Staff and boys of the school wrote to him expressing their regret at his departure and “gratitude for the benefits he had conferred upon them”.
He replied to them as follows:
Gentlemen and Students
Your letter at expressing your regret at my departure is one of the most gratifying which I have received. Every man desires to aid in blessing others, and in doing good; but it is not given to many men to see such early fruits springing from those labours in which they themselves and others have engaged. God has, in the case of the Institution from which you write, given me this pleasure, and has allowed me to hear that, from the Grey Institute, and from amongst yourselves, good and able men have come forth.
If any of you who have done credit to the Institution, require a friend in Europe, remember that you are, in some sort, children of mine, and have a claim upon my sympathy and aid which I shall not overlook.
From your affectionate friend
I am pleased that from the Class of 1986 “good and able men have come forth”. G. Grey, your affectionate friend, whose mortal remains lie in St Paul’s Cathedral in London, must also take great pleasure to see the fruits springing from his labours.
I watched a movie, Dear John, on TV last night. There were many lessons, but one which I recall is the fact that “time comes to an end”.
Our time at The Grey, about which we reminisced so much this weekend, came to an end in 1986, our weekend together came to an end all too quickly, and, indeed, our time on this earth will come to an end.
During that time, life will hand us many different “Dear Johns”. Many of you are aware of my illness. I will most probably not see some of you again.
As a young teacher, just a few years older than yourselves, I taught you mathematics and computer studies, but I don’t think we ever spoke about life.
In some sort, you are also “children of mine”. If I may then, let me give you one last lesson: Let me encourage you to make the most of each and every day. Live for the moment. Live each day as if it were your last, because some day it will be!
Until we meet again … thank you for the memories.