About 4 years ago, young Jacob was sent home with a worksheet from which he was to select a homework project to do over the holidays. Now generally I'm inclined to think these projects are a complete nightmare and should be retitled "Parent's Homework" - or even better "Parent's Headache" because it's usually mum or dad who ends up building some hideous monstrosity out of paper mache and tinfoil.
However, on this particular occasion, one of the challenges was to interview an elderly person about their childhood during World War II. Now a project that required no glue or paint was quite revolutionary and rather appealing to a weary mum like myself so as my mother was coming to stay for a few days I decided to ask her to tell a few stories about her youth into an old cassette recorder. (I should point out that I don't think mum was that keen on being described as "elderly" but nevertheless after a glass of wine she didn't put up too much resistance.)
Well as it happens Master Jacob couldn't speak loud enough so I took over (see I told you it was my homework!) and eventually after lots of umming and ahhing and a lot of giggles my mum and I succeeded in producing a recording of truly amateurish proportions. Yep, I mean really, really bad. I think it would be safe to say I haven't got a future as a radio presenter. Oh well! However, as it turned out, the tape was the only one sent into school (the other mums sticking to the tried and tested formulas) and proved a big hit with the school children who loved some of my mum's descriptions, particularly about food.
Well after much fiddling about (and I mean so much so that I've had to resort to alcohol to calm my nerves) I've eventually managed to transfer the tape, edit some of the long pauses and produce something I hope will be of interest to social historians. I've also uploaded it to an archive site where I hope it will stay as a little permanent record of life during The War. I'm afraid, at best, it's still a pretty amateurish recording - but hey, I gave it my best shot!
So here it is. A little piece of history. I hope you can play it, although if you can't it's possible you maybe able to do so by uploading Quick Time media player.
Finally, as I'm sure some of you will remember, my mother died unexpectedly last year so I guess this little keepsake has become something really rather special - and I have to admit that, just for once, I'm glad I did my homework.
NB; The recording is approximately 13 minutes long.