John Gardner at Home

Memories from Rick Bigwood

Dear Jenny,

We haven’t met, but I’m just dropping you a line because Rob Mullins gave me an update this morning about John’s health. Needless to say, this is devastating news and I send my heartfelt best wishes to you and your family at this time. I also write because of my deep respect and affection for John. I first met him about 10 years ago when he was visiting Auckland. We had him to dinner at our home, and it was an evening that we still fondly recall. I remember my wife made me send him the DVD of Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures after that. My kids were very young then and were charmed by him. Last year, I got to see John again when he visited Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Happily he was able to call around briefly to see us again. My kids were much larger this time, and my now 17-year-old daughter was mightily impressed by his “Katy Perry” photos.

It was weird, because I was thinking about John as I was driving into work today (it takes an hour and 40 minutes from my home), and then Rob gave me your news after I had arrived at the office. Everyone will be telling you what a great and respected scholar he is — which is, of course, true — but for me I was most impressed by his fine sense of humour and great conversation at the dinner table. He didn’t seem to care about dress fashion either, and here was I thinking I was the only one!

Strength to you all at this time.

Kind regards,