Friday, July 23, 2004

Six degrees

I've heard of this "six degrees of separation" business. Well, sometimes it seems to work. I have just worked out that there are about that many degrees between me and Herbert Dyce Murphy. HDM was an Australian who spied for British Intelligence early in the 20th century. I came across him while researching for a book proposal for Allen and Unwin (still waiting!). HDM had to dress as a woman for his job and was actually quite attractive. He claimed to have been painted by E. Phillips Fox, an Australian artist, in his famous painting "The Arbour", now in the National Gallery of Victoria. Fox was married to artist Ethel Carrick Fox, who once painted a still life, which was bought some time in the 1940s by Sunshine Technical School, now a part of Sunshine College, and I work on the campus that used to be Sunshine Tech. I was also the first person to be shown the painting when my friend Desi the art teacher unearthed it in an old store room.So I have a connection with a very strange part of Australian history!

Perhaps it's just another way of saying it's a small world. I have recently re-established contact with two old friends. In one case, she had gone to Russia just after the fall of the Soviet Union and that was the last I heard of her until a mutual friend (I didn't know she was a mutual friend) told me recently that she had regards for me from the other friend. In the other case, I had lost contact with a much-loved penpal. Recently, I got an e-mail from her eldest daughter, who, like me, is on the Harry Potter list Harry Potter For Grownups.Monita had wondered if I was her mother's old friend - well, Bursztynski isn't a common name. So I am back in touch with my friend Gail because I like Harry Potter. Another time, I went to a Council of Adult Education course I had chosen by sticking a pin in the catalogue and found myself sitting behind TWO old friends I hadn't seen in years!
Not quite the six degrees thing, but certainly small world.

I do have less than six degrees between me and my current close friend Bart. Bart went to uni with a lady called Sharon. Years ago, my then-library technician, Anne, went to work with Sharon at Sunshine West Secondary College. Later I met Bart and then a few years on, worked with Sharon. Another friend, James, worked as library technician at Flemington Secondary College before I did and before we knew each other.

Degrees of separation between me and famous restaurateur Stephanie Alexander? Stephanie A was originally a teacher-librarian. She worked at Princes Hill Secondary College. I eventually spent some time in the same library.

This is fun!

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