John Gardner at Home

Memories from Hanna Pickard

Dear John

Niki has passed on your most recent news about the spread of the cancer. I wanted to write you right away. I am so sorry John. It is hard to know what to say. Niki says you are doing well considering but I know sometimes everyone says that even though it is not true on the inside. I hope you are not in pain and are finding ways to enjoy life and manage to do whatever it is that would be most meaningful to you with the time you have. And I hope if you are not doing well on the inside you are finding a place to thrash that out.

You have been on my mind very much these last months not only because I have been getting news of your health, but because I have been supervising a very smart Princeton student's junior thesis. She came to study with me after reading Niki and my most recent paper "A Dual Process Approach to Criminal Law” and writing an essay for Gideon Rosen's moral responsibility seminar about how the framework helped right whatever was wrong with strict liability for statutory rape. Since then we have been thinking together about what's wrong with rape and what's wrong with rape law, which of course required reading and discussing your radical and classic paper, among other things. It was such a pleasure to think about it again, much as I disagree with some of its conclusions! It has inspired me to start working on a number of new papers on rape, one of which I hope will go into Niki’s Festschrift.

Niki also forwarded me the paper you wrote about our joint work for her Festschrift. I am so honoured that you have written about it. I have literally just received your paper so have not yet read it, but I promise that when I do I will try to show more restraint than I did the last time I wrote to you, and not write substantially more than any sane person could possibly tolerate in any email! In the meantime: thank you.

I got the news about the spread of the cancer right before meeting Gideon for a coffee, so we were sharing our memories of you. I know if he knew I was writing he'd want me to send you his very best wishes. For my part, one of the stories I remembered was your kindness and support to me almost exactly 20 years ago after I made my very first speech in Governing Body at All Souls. I was so shaky and in need of reassurance that I had not disgraced myself that I even remember the colour of the shirt you were wearing -- a sort of maroon-purple! I'm sure you don't remember, but it has always stayed with me as a moment that really mattered: you helped me find my feet when I was young, female, and always on the verge of feeling like a charlatan who didn't belong among all the supremely confident College men.

OK, I will sign off now, with happy memories of that maroon-purple shirt. I am as always sending you a totally inappropriate given the objective facts of our relationship but completely subjectively authentic transatlantic hug. I will be thinking of you and your family.


Hanna x