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Christmas parcels stir memories of lost trunk

Relative contacts family after finding letterhead inside

OLDS — The Christmas holidays brought back some memories of an incredible coincidence for a former Didsbury-area resident as he packaged some photographs and memorabilia for his extended family. 

As a Christmas present to several family members, Arnold Honey, 84, packaged some old photographs and notes to add to their family history. 

Among those items was the story of an old steamer trunk. 

In about 1941, Arnold’s grandparents, Ralf Wade and Pearle Honey moved to B.C. from Olds, bringing along an old steamer trunk filled with many of their possessions. 

Arnold’s parents, Lyle Keith Honey and Helen Honey, followed them a couple of years later after the crop on their quarter section of land near Didsbury was hailed out. Arnold was in Grade 1 at the time. 

Over time however, the trunk disappeared. 

It reappeared in 1987 when a relative of Arnold’s wife found it in a small B.C. town and bought it as a toy box for her children. 

When she looked inside, she found letterhead addressed to Mrs. R.W. Honey of Olds. She phoned up Arnold’s wife, Laurene (who passed away about a year ago) and determined it did indeed belong to Arnold’s grandparents. 

Arnold remembered the story as he was assembling Christmas gifts this year.  

He noticed that lately, when renovating homes, people have been including old artifacts and family heirlooms, so he thought the packages would be timely. 

His daughter-in-law is among those doing those kinds of renovations. 

“The style now in houses is you make your house really, really nice, but you add some real old furniture or pictures on the wall or something and I thought of that trunk,” he said during an interview. 

“Well we’ve got a little story to tell. We could put these pictures on a frame on a wall and we’d have a little story of our own.” 

That old steamer trunk brings back lots of memories for Arnold. 

“When we moved out to B.C., we also had one of those old trunks. My younger brothers and sisters used to have to sit on it because we didn’t have enough chairs for all the kids,” he said. 

“It was rounded on the top and so they didn’t like sitting on it because they’d fall off.” 

Arnold, a retired paper maker, now lives in Vernon.  

He thinks now is a good time to tell the story. 

“To me it’s just kind of unique. Even the guy who sold the trunk to my wife’s cousin, he said that is really remarkable – a needle out of a haystack,” he said. 

“In this pandemic world it’s kind of nice to have your mind on another subject for a minute.”