KAMLOOPS - The search for the owners of a family portrait from the 1960s has a happy ending after the daughter in the photo identified herself and got in touch with the Lillooet woman who found it in a Kamloops thrift store.
Dallas Kempfle purchased a picture frame at Value Village two years ago and found the treasure hidden in the back of it. Knowing someone would probably be missing it, Kempfle held onto the photo and wrote about her find on Facebook.
Since sharing her story with infoNEWS.ca, Kempfle received emails from a classmate of the little girl in the photo — and from the girl herself.
Maritta Wood, who now lives in St. Albert, Alta., identified herself as the girl in the photo and asked if Kempfle could send it to her.
“That is a photo of Rolf and Renate Gunold and my brother Gord (and I). We lived in South Burnaby. My mom passed away three years ago and my dad this June. I moved him from his large house to my daughter’s basement suite and always wondered what happened to the photo,” Wood said to Kempfle in an email. “I’m so excited. This is really going to make my Christmas happier."
Rolf and Renate immigrated to Canada from Germany each with one suitcase in the 1950s. Wood told Kempfle her parents spoke little English when they came to Canada, but worked hard, ’scrimped and saved’ and made a life for themselves. The photo was taken sometime in the 60s, when the family relocated from Vancouver to Burnaby.
Wood says she doesn’t know when the photo went missing, but suspects her father donated the frame and its contents to the Salvation Army in Aldergrove.
She notes her mother made the jumper she's wearing in the photo and remembers getting primped for the shoot that day. Wood says a relative of hers who saw the photo thought she looked similar to the girl and sent her an email out of curiousity.
"I'm overwhelmed. The whole time growing up in Burnaby this photo was beside my dad's chair," she says. Once it's returned to her, she plans to frame it, place it next to her chair and never let it leave her sight.
Kempfle, who is an amateur photographer herself, is in the process of sending the portrait back to its rightful owners. She says she’s happy to see how the powers of social media helped her find Wood.
“I knew it wasn’t just a stock photo in there. I didn’t have the heart to throw it away. If we first found each other when I found the picture, her dad could have seen it before he died,” she says. “Nothing really happened until (infoNEWS.ca) put the story out there for me. I’m really happy it’s going to get back to the little girl in the photo."
As an added bonus, Wood sent pictures of her family members to Kempfle to show her what they looked like in recent years.
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— This story was updated at 12:43 p.m., Friday, Dec. 11 to include information from an interview with Maritta Wood.