Hilary's time trip
Broadcaster Hilary Barry can still smell her great-grandmother's cooking in the house built 100 years ago.
She would have been no older than 7 the last time she visited the Prospect Tce home but the memories have come flooding back.
It's all thanks to an unexpected discovery by the new owner John McCarthy.
Mrs Barry and members of her extended family contacted the North Shore Times after reading our story last week about the mystery time capsule Mr McCarthy found tucked into the fireplace surround while doing some DIY.
Excitement spread when they realised the letter found in the house, dated 1925, was addressed to their family matriarch Dorothy Hall whose nickname was Cytos.
Cytos and her husband Jack built the house overlooking Milford soon after they were married at the Holy Trinity Church in Devonport in 1919.
Mrs Barry visited Mr McCarthy to collect the little treasure trove of family history. And, with the help of her 91-year-old Nan, the family reminisced about Jack and Cytos who were "quite characters".
The story of how her great-grandmother Dorothy got the nickname Cytos was retold and is as funny as ever, she says.
"Her father Charlie Wheeler was an Irishman and the local doctor down in Devonport.
"When she was born he decided she looked like a perfect loaf of bread and the Irish brand of bread was Cytos."
The name stuck and Mrs Barry has many wonderful memories of her great-grandmother and the house she and Jack lived in for more than 50 years.
"There was so much love in this house for so many years.
"It's really magic to be back here."
Mrs Barry's uncle Rod Hall vividly remembers how the house used to look - the swing beds on the deck overlooking the grassy backyard with Cytos' prized chickens in the corner.
The story goes that she sold her eggs and veges around the neighbourhood, saving up enough money to buy a piece of land down by Milford beach.
A bach was later built there and in summer the family would box up the chickens and all head off to the beach, Mr Hall says.
That very same holiday spot is now where Mrs Barry and her family call home.
The letter and trinkets have also found a new home, in an antique collar box inscribed with Jack's initials, to be kept for generations to come.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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