By Eric H. McCormick
Eric McCormick was once, from approximately 1940 till his demise in 1995, one in all New Zealand's such a lot extraordinary writers and students. He pioneered the appreciation and research of the painter Francis Hodgkins, and he wrote a number of biographies. The autobiographical fragments accrued right here were edited to make a coherent quantity, tracing his origins in Taihape, to college and collage in Wellington, to schoolteaching in Nelson, to Cambridge and during his wartime studies and position as editor of Centennial courses. It comprises his smart observations of social behaviour, recorded with a dry wit.
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His name was Mr Walker. Another, firmly embedded in family tradition, was a message boy named Phil Cryer who left to join the Post Office and rose to become Director-General. My father continued his less spectacular ascent in the little community he had helped to found. He served a term on the borough council and belonged to the Chamber of Commerce, he was secretary of the Domain Board, he was a director of the local newspaper. Sometimes he took me to meetings held in our dining-room and, perched on his knee, I met other grown-ups — Mr Dave Neagle, the saddler, Father Lacroix, the Catholic priest, Mr Weller, the editor.
Since he seldom remembered from Friday to Friday exactly what we had been doing, much of this had to be repetitious. Eventually, on red-letter days, I would have the draft of a chapter or part of a chapter to read to him, through the medium of his cumbersome ‘hearing enhancer’; then I would leave the copy with him for further consideration. In this way, by the end of the year, he had read or heard and approved of all but the last three chapters of this book. He could seldom resist disparaging remarks about his own writing (‘Too wordy’ was his most frequent complaint), and often corrected my facts or assumptions.
William McCormick, though a Unitarian, helped clear the ground for the Anglican church. Here he wields the axe; the Vicar stands against a dead trunk. ERIC MCCORMICK COLLECTION, ATL, F-95065½. II This was my birthplace and here I lived until, at the age of thirteen, I went away to school in Wellington. I don’t think it any great exaggeration to say that I came to know every square inch of the building and the plot of land behind it. Once I even scrambled through a man-hole to crawl under the floor and find stumps of the trees that once grew on the site.
An Absurd Ambition by Eric H. McCormick