Part 1: In Hokitika & Oamaru

In 1935 Myra Josephine was born in a little town on the west coast of the South Island called Hokitika. Two years later John Macdonald was born. Macdonald is the Scottish clan which we are descended from. Mummy is half Scottish and so is Daddy. Daddy was working for the Bank of New Zealand and when, in 1939, the family moved to Oamaru, Daddy was the Bank's manager.

The Bank house in Oamaru was made of one-foot thick Oamaru stone. It was large and roomy and had a big garden. We had some hens and a huge swing with a trapeze on the back porch. The old Bank house in Tyne Street was a wonderful place to live in. Although in the winter you could not go outside, because Oamaru is a very wet place, the house in itself was always warm and there were lots of rooms that weren't used including a strong room. This was during the second world war and outside our house troops were training. Before John went to school, if he was wanted anywhere he would be found watching the troops. The soldiers got quite pally with John and Myra and sometimes let them hold their guns, which even Myra, who was six couldn't lift.  

Myra went to a school on the other side of town called Oamaru South. On the way home from school they passed a flour mill and the baker with whom they were friendly let them come inside and watch the loaves getting baked. The bakery was unusual because it made cottage loaves.