In March 2002 I spent two of the happiest weeks of my life in Dallas (Texas), spending one day in each of four wonderful schools, The Hockaday School, St Mark's School of Texas, The Episcopal School of Dallas, and the Cistercian School. I also spent one afternoon at the Southern Methodist University, where I gave a talk (essentially my ideas in connection with Fermat numbers; see Fermat 6).
I was invited to Dallas by Drs Jim Huth and Susan Tucker (two eminent surgeons), after they had read my Talented Youth paper. Jim and Susan gave Mary and I the 'time of our lives', and, while we were there, we had a two day visit from our friends Pat and Paul Goodey, who came down from Norman, Oklahoma, to be with us.
It would not be possible to record what I did in each of the four schools, and I will only say that I found the level of response from all the students (and their teachers!) to be exhilirating (it took me many, many weeks to come back to earth after I had left).
I spent Wed 13th March in the Hockaday School. Near the end of the day, Julie - Jim and Susan's daughter - told me that Liza Lee, the school's headmistress, would like to meet me when I was finished teaching; I expected a brief meeting, and no more. How wrong I was...
When we met we had a very long conversation, and at one point she asked me if I knew of a mathematician called 'Ian MacDonald'. Well, yes I did: Ian used to be my (wonderful) head of department when I held a two year appointment (1972-74) at Manchester University. And how did she know of Ian MacDonald? She and her husband had met him at dinner in London, one year when they had spent a year there (if I remember correctly).
At one point I mentioned that in Jim and Susan's home (where Mary and I were staying) I had seen a book marking the 50th anniversary (in 1963) of the founding of the Hockaday School, and I wondered if perhaps there had been a similar publication marking the 75th anniversary, and, if so, would it be possible for me to obtain a copy? Ms Lee told me there had been such a publication (OF HEARTS AND MINDS, The Hockaday Experience (1913-1988)), but that copies were no longer be available...
Ms Lee left me for a moment, went into her office, and brought out a copy for me to see. It was a rather special copy, being autographed over six pages by some of the school's (small number of) boarders. Handing the book back to her, Ms Lee said a most generous thing; she said it was for me, to keep, as a present...
I protested that I couldn't possibly accept such a gift, which was so clearly a part of the school's history. But Ms Lee insisted it was a gift to me, and it would have been bad manners of me not to have accepted. And accept it I did.
One day I shall have that copy returned to the Hockaday School, but in the meantime here are some twenty-one pages - in sequence - which I have scanned from it, including the six autographed pages. I hope I will be forgiven for cropping many of the generous margins (in the hope of improving the quality of the scans).
Scan 00 (the
front cover), Scan 01
(the inner front page, autographed; no autographs under the flap), Scan
02 (the opposite page, autographed), Scan
03 (the following page, autographed), Scan
04 (the opposite page, autographed), Scan
05 (a title page, with a hand-written note of mine), Scan
06 (another title page, with a note by Julie. 'Joplin' was their beautiful
dog who used to bound into our bedroom every morning), Scan
07 (CONTENTS), Scan 08
(the school motto), Scan 09
(PREFACE), Scan 10 (PREFACE
continued), Scan 11
(DEDICATION), Scan 12 (A
photo of Miss Ela Hockaday, the school's remarkable first headmistress), Scan
13 (FOREWORD), Scan 14
(An early photograph of the school), Scan
15 (INTRODUCTION), Scan 16
(INTRODUCTION continued), Scan
17 (INTRODUCTION complete), Scan
18 (the fifth page of autographs), Scan
19 (the inner back page, autographed; no autographs under the flap), Scan
20 (the back cover).