The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel…William Shakespeare, Hamlet
In the account of my work after leaving South Africa, I have said very little about my private life. It is difficult to do so when immediate family and personal friends are alive. It is easy enough to praise and say good things about those we know, but not so easy to be objective. Nor is it easy to be dispassionate about the decisions I have made, good and bad, in my own life.
On coming to Ireland, Maria and I, Gordon and Elizabeth spent a year in a rented house and then, in 1970, bought a house in Donnybrook, very close to St Vincent's Hospital and University College, Dublin. It was within walking distance of Baggot Street and my office. The house cost £9,700, which I obtained by selling some of my South African shares. Gordon and Elizabeth first went to a local convent school and then, when Gordon was about seven, he went to a boys’ school, St Michael's, and Elizabeth to Mount Anville Convent.
Maria is Serbian. She is a loving and good wife. Settling in Ireland, where she at first did not know anyone, must have been difficult for her because I was away a great deal attending conferences, undertaking research, and representing Ireland on the EEC committee on epidemiology. Fortunately, she has an outgoing personality and soon made many friends.
In London we often met Maria's friends from her schooldays in Belgrade. I was told how, during the German occupation, she would steal candles from the Catholic church and sell them; then with some of the money, she and her friends would buy loaves of bread and throw them over the barbed wire to the Yugoslav Jews and gypsies who were kept in an enclosure, open to the sky, in the town square, before being sent to camps where most of them died. From all I heard, Maria was the most popular girl in her class at school.