Man reunites films with former Victoria family 10 years after mistakenly sold at garage sale

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

VIDEO: Langford man battling cancer honored with hot rod, motorcycle procession

Friends and family support Patrick O’Hara on his 73rd birthday

Langford Fire calm mother and daughter after being trapped in elevator

Three-year-old girl given stuffed animal to calm nerves

Langford businesses can expand onto sidewalks, public spaces

Council passes new bylaw supporting business expansion

Capital Regional District prepares to reopen regional campgrounds

Camping will look different at Island View, Sooke Potholes, Jordan River sites

‘Seven baths in two days’: Homeless adjusting to life in hotels

Victoria passes motion to allow camping 24-7 in parks until June 25

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

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

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

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

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

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

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read