Nova Scotia

How a thrift store find reunited this Halifax woman with her grandmother's warmth

Beth Amiro made a remarkable discovery the other day. She found her grandmother's initials stitched into the lining of a vintage fur coat that was found at a thrift store.

'I legitimately knew in my heart and in my soul that it was my grandmother's coat'

Halifax vintage collector discovers grandmother's initials stitched inside fur coat

6 months ago
Duration 3:23
Filmmaker Beth Amiro's grandmother passed away in 2005, but she got an unexpected reminder of her recently in the form of a vintage coat.

The moment Beth Amiro slipped on the thrift store fur coat, she was reminded of her late grandmother.

"I'm not a super spiritual person, but I legitimately knew in my heart and in my soul that it was my grandmother's coat," the Halifax filmmaker told CBC's Information Morning Nova Scotia.

Amiro collects vintage clothes, and received the coat from a friend who recalls it coming from either Value Village or Frenchy's. She wore it for the first time to a recent Christmas party. 

Her first clue about the family connection was found in the lining of the coat. Inside the breast pocket she saw three carefully hand-stitched letters — E.E.H. 

Amiro says they stand for Elizabeth Eleanor Hood, her grandmother's maiden name.

"[She] had a really warm disposition and a warm heart and many warm coats throughout her life," Amiro said.

Her grandmother was born in Yarmouth, N.S., and became Elizabeth Eleanor Wainwright when she married Amiro's grandfather in 1941. She died in 2005.

Beth Amiro, left, and her grandmother Elizabeth Eleanor Wainwright wearing a different fur coat. (Submitted by Beth Amiro)

At first, Amiro admits that she didn't think much of the coat.

"I put it in the pile thinking, you know, I'll get that out again in the winter and take a look at it."

But as soon as Amiro pulled it over her shoulders she knew it was something special. She quickly took a picture and sent it to her mother.

"She just recognized it immediately, so there was no humming and hawing. It was like utmost certainty right away," Amiro said, adding that her mother remembers playing dress up in the coat when she was a little girl.

She believes her grandmother likely owned the coat in the 1930s. It was made by Mitchell Furs, which had locations in Halifax and Moncton, N.B.

The coat is a perfect fit, she said. 

"I have a long torso and long arms and it just fits like a glove."

The first night she wore it out she said many people commented on how beautiful it looked. Then she told them the story and "everyone was kind of flabbergasted."

"I really do think in this case it was an opportunity to just remember her warmth and experience her warmth and share it with everyone who I came into contact with," Amiro said. 

Filmmaker Beth Amiro's grandmother passed away in 2005. But Amiro got an unexpected reminder of her recently, in the form of a vintage coat that she wore out to a Christmas party. The CBC's Carsten Knox asked Beth Amiro to share her story.

With files from Carsten Knox and CBC Radio's Information Morning Nova Scotia

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