Topic: Hazel Emily McCauley's letter about a trip to the Waikato and Bay of Plenty in 1967
Hazel Emily McCauley: Excerpt from letter to Bob Anderson, 22 November 1967, on a trip to Waikato and Bay of Plenty.
Looking strange? see an archived version here
This letter was reproduced with the permission of Hazel's son, Bob Anderson.
Further information can be accessed via his website here.
‘I felt the trip was well worthwhile. Auntie Nellie (Eleanor Mary Martinsen, nee McCauley) and Uncle Jack (Jakob Raymond Martinsen) gave me a welcome indeed—one of the highlights for them and I guess, for me, was when I took them to Katikati—100 mile journey that day, through the Waikino Gorge and the Waihi Gorge. Auntie Nellie with the true Irish sentimental streak and love for funerals and tragedy showed me the exact spot (and I repeat this as she declared “Hazel, this is the exact spot”) where her father (my grandfather) had driven his horse driven buggy over the bank into the gorge and been drowned. There was a freak flood and the ground had given way. Our day in Katikati was a rare one—we drove around old stamping grounds—actually, it is a dear little place now. We had to go to the home of their birth so we set off. The folk who live on the 120 acres farm originally owned by the McCauleys, and who have built a pallatial home higher up from the old homestead, were delighted—he was a charming middle-aged gentleman—dignified, as was his wife. They seemed well educated and had children working on Ph.Ds—their hospitality was a joy, and they were obviously quite intrigued with the old dears and interested in every detail of early Katikati. Auntie, still with an Irish brogue and Uncle Jack with his Scandinavian background and a memory and knowledge which is hard to match had much information to offer. After afternoon tea, they drove us in their car through the fields down to the old homestead—Auntie Nellie was beside herself with emotion and reminiscing, as she stood there enveloped in cobwebs, trying to clarify the position of each room in which they had lived, getting excited when she showed us the room where they had their wedding breakfast (apparently, I was there too, at the age of two—I had been taken to the wedding). I couldn’t help but admire the sheer pluck of folks who brought up families under such primitive conditions. There is no doubt that the present day generation has been handled with kid gloves. We admired the pear tree which had been climbed and plucked by all the McCauleys, still standing there in its grotesque surroundings—the broken down old verandah where I guess they played as kids—the odd trees and flowers which have flourished there for eighty years or more—gave me a strange feeling—Oliver Goldsmith’s “Deserted Village” came to mind, it was certainly comparable. I eventually got them away from the old homestead filled with an adventure about which they had long dreamed and which they thought would not come to pass. Apart from revelling in every moment myself, I felt that perhaps at least I had contributed one day’s happiness to someone. We arrived back at 7 pm and believe it or not we were in Audrey’s car at 7.40 pm on our way to Hamilton to see Ray. Such was the tenacity of the Irish—age brought no barriers’.
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