Younger Than Springtime by Eric Magee
How I wrote Eric's memoir
I first met Eric about a week before the first national lockdown in 2020. We had a chat and a coffee in his living room. Little did we know, that was the last time we’d be able to meet inside his house for over year. After 23 March, we conducted all our interviews by Zoom. I could record our conversations and send the file to be transcribed. It took a little getting used to, but it worked fine.
In that first visit, Eric showed me all his old photos. I was shocked to see that they were strewn over the windowsill in the spare bedroom. Eric’s wife had dementia and, before she went to live in a care home, she had ripped many of them from their albums. I was very happy to be able to restore some order to the collection.
When the first wave of the pandemic was at its peak, the worst happened. Covid-19 got into Eric’s wife’s care home and she sadly died a week later. Only her daughters were allowed in to say goodbye. Understandably, Eric’s involvement with his book was on pause for a month.
But Eric, and all of us, bounced back. And the book was finished somewhere in the middle of the second lockdown. I was able to scan additional photos inside the porch of his house, both of us wearing masks, mine steaming up my glasses the whole time!
‘Younger Than Springtime’ was printed in time to make Christmas presents for the whole family
An excerpt from Eric's memoir
My father was the main quartermaster where we were in Bad Oeynhausen. As quartermaster, my father had few dealings with the Germans, except for the German clerks who came in to work in his office in the Kurpark. They had to be able to speak English, and have their clearance papers to show they hadn’t ever been in the Nazi party. German women used to come inside our enclosure to cook and clean for the occupying forces, which they were really glad to do as there wasn’t any work for them otherwise. So we had a maid, although not a cook because my mother liked to do her own cooking. Sometimes these women brought their children with them.
There were two cinemas in the centre of Bad Oeynhausen, plus all the shops and the railway station, as it was the best part of the town. It had parks and bathhouses as it was a spa town (all the spas begin with the word Bad, meaning bath). But all this was blockaded off with barbed wire from the Germans. If they needed to come into that area to work, they had to show their papers at the sentry posts where the roads entered.
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