December 13, 2016

Mr Claver – Trbute to a kind man

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:18 am by Aleksan

A little boy of 7 has been removed from his family and sent to a Boarding School, standing in its own magnificent grounds, last of the great English Stately Homes, and resplendent in chalk and white marble.  He missed his family back by the fireside on the farm, and was feeling very sad.  The first night at supper in the great oak panelled dining hall he cried quietly – “Don’t blubber boy, you will upset the others.”

On the first whole day he stood outside the school watching boys running by into the woods wearing football boots.  The little boy was wearing clean football boots with leather studs.  He was feeling lonely and homesick, and started to cry again.  Mr Claver appeared.  He had black curly hair, dark eyes and a large hooked nose.  He wore a light checked sports jacket and was smoking a pipe – my dad also smoked  pipe at home – all the Masters smoked pipes apart from one, who will receive no tribute from me.

“You are homesick”  he said ” it is very strange isn’t it? – it’s my first day here too”  He smiled.  And then he said “Cut along through the woods, boy, and you will find the playing fields”  We never talked gain except when he asked me difficult questions in Maths lessons, and I don’t think he taught at the school long.  But his kindness to me has never been forgotten, and even after 65 years I remember him with affection and great respect – often.  I never did very well at school, but eventually became a Child Psychiatrist, perhaps partly because of Mr Claver’s kindness, but also maybe because of the unkindness I received from a Latin Master who did not smoke a pipe.  The Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Stoic Philosopher suggests that if you want to praise someone, always mention their name, but if you wish to condemn, never mention their name.

Whatever else he has done in life, if there is a Heaven, Mr Claver has passed the entrance exam, and he will be up there with the best of them.

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