Reta & Clare were fondly referred to as the Duchesses in Seatoun. They drove a 1929 Chevrolet car which was always immaculate. They had a schoolboy clean it every weekend. Reta was the driver always. They never really looked oldfashioned to me but they dressed Queen Mary style, cloche hats & coats with fur-trimmed sleeves (cuffs) always very elegant. Having afternoon tea with them was always an occasion, the silver tea-service & dainty afternoon tea cups. The butter was always in 'curls' never a block. The sugar in lumps. It was like stepping in to another era in their house. The kitchen had the bells which rang for the servants in days gone by & they always referred to a little room upstairs as the "maid's room". This room had a lovely big window looking up Wellington Harbour. It had lots of pot plants & ferns & they used it as a little sitting room.
They loved Wellington, they knew so much of it's history. Although their lounge was full of photographs, mainly of the children who had grown up in the area such as the Taylors plus some World War I photos of Mr Ward, Clare once said that they didn't like looking at photograph albums as they had lost so many friends in the war & the flu epidemic, it made them sad. I never ever got a photograph of them which I regret now. Clare's death resulted from a fall on their front step. She slipped & broke her hip - spent quite some time in hospital & then they had a live-in nurse, but she never recovered
Kindly sent to me by Ann Loffhagen, from a letter to her from Nola Stevens.
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