Family films mistakenly sold at B.C. garage sale find way back home 10 years later

Wendy Robinson and Chris Wallinger look on as the tapes are returned to Marion Baker. (Greg Sakaki/News Staff)
Marion Baker (right) says she couldn’t believe the kindness of Chris Wallinger and Wendy Robinson (left). (Greg Sakaki/News Staff)

The world feels a little bit smaller for one Vancouver Island resident after 13 family films were returned to their rightful owner a decade after they were accidentally sold during a yard sale in Kelowna.

Chris Wallinger was at his parents’ house for Mother’s Day and learned of a box of old Super 8 reels. The recordings, with the name Thompson and a Victoria address written on them, were included in a projector box that Wallinger’s grandmother bought “10 or 11 years ago” at a garage sale in Kelowna. And, while the Wallinger family had always wanted to return the films, they never had the chance.

“Because of quarantine life right now and having some extra time, [my mom] started going through boxes and that jogged her memory,” Chris Wallinger says.

READ ALSO: So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Wallinger snapped a couple of photos and posted his story on Reddit, where a someone quickly suggest he post it in a Facebook group called Old Victoria.

These Super8 Tapes have been in the hands of the Wallinger family for the past decade after they were purchased with a projector at a yard sale in Kelowna. (Courtesy of Chris Wallinger)

“I put it on Facebook at 1:30 p.m. on Monday and it just kind of blew up from there,” he says. “By 7 p.m. I was talking to two of the [daughters] of the parents who owned these tapes originally.”

Taryn Jones, an archivist involved in genealogy research for almost 20 years, saw the post and thought, “I’ll just take a look and see if I can find anything.”

Within half an hour, Jones found the death registration of Mr. and Mrs. Thompson. Through Ancestry.com, Jones tracked down a relative who put Wallinger in contact with the family members on the Island.

READ ALSO: So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

“I just think about if someone had film from my family and they were trying to track me down, how I would feel if they contacted me,” Jones says. “So it was really exciting to confirm it was the right people and they were interested and that the films could go back.”

Marion Baker was one of those family members. Her parent’s names were on the tapes and she says she was amazed to get the call from Wallinger.

“I just couldn’t believe that somebody would go to that much trouble to get them back to us and I’m so thankful,” says Baker.

On Wednesday evening, outside of Wallinger’s parents’ home in north Nanaimo, both families met to hand back the films.

Baker’s parents were living in Enderby when her mother died in 1990. In the years following, her father moved back to Victoria but sold several items at a garage sale before his move. The recordings, which have videos of family vacations, Christmases and weddings from 1967 to 1981, are even more special to Baker as a lot of her family photos were lost to a fire at her sister’s house.

“I’m excited because I know one of my sister’s wedding is on there and I missed it because we weren’t in the country at the time and one of my sister’s graduation and all these family trips that we heard about but had never seen any of the pictures,” says Baker.

READ ALSO: Dog reunited with Tofino owner, months after being taken from beach

What makes this story even more unbelievable, is the cousin who Jones found on Ancestry.com, lives in Winnipeg and was doing his own research.

“[Our] cousin — we just discovered, or he discovered us — about 10 years ago,” says Baker. “He had all this [family information] on Ancestry or we would have never have been found because none of us has the Thompson name anymore, we’re all girls.”

Baker says her son is working on tracking down a Super 8 projector so the family can view the films before meeting with her other sister who lives on the Island as well. She says she can’t wait to share the films were her three other sisters, who live in Vernon.

“We’re sort of cursing this virus that’s going around right now or I’d probably be on my way to Vernon,” she says. “It’s a very small world when it comes down to it.”



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Families

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey to pay TransLink $30M in land, $9M in cash for work on cancelled LRT

Council considered staff report on city’s 2019 annual financial statements during Monday’s “virtual” council meeting

Surrey RCMP promise enforcement at unofficial show ‘n’ shines

Cars have been impounded at the site in the last two years

‘There’s no playbook for this’: South Surrey sports organizations await approval to return to play

Local associations planning for modified summer seasons as COVID-19 restrictions ease

Local Chinese Canadians aim to counter COVID-19 backlash

Few racist incidents on Peninsula, says Community Engagement Society

Surrey now has second urgent and primary care centre, in Newton, premier says

Premier John Horgan noted that some 90,000 people in Surrey don’t have a family doctor

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Death toll rises in COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge

Number has risen to 22, making it the worst to date in B.C.

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Help the ‘Cloverdale Reporter’ continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

United Way allocating $6.6M in federal funding to help with food security, youth mental health

Applications from Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland charities being accepted for the emergency funding

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

Most Read