Friday, 17 July 2015 05:03

Mystery garage sale items returned to former Swift Current resident

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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Swift Current resident Leon Eckert has been able to solve the mystery of garage sale items that has been in his possession for several years.


He acquired the items about seven years ago at a garage sale and it has been sitting in his garage attic since then.
His research indicated the items previously belonged to the family of Bryon Topping, a Canadian figure skater who grew up in Swift Current.
Eckert had been trying to find Topping and he contacted the Prairie Post, which resulted in the publication of a story in the paper’s June 19 edition about his efforts.
According to Eckert there has been an overwhelming response to the newspaper article and he has been able to return the items to Topping.
“I’m elated,” Eckert said. “I’m so thankful to the Post and to all the people that gave me hints.”
He was away from home on a camping trip to the Cypress Hills during the week after the publication of the article.
“When we got home we had about 15 people who have contacted on our phone,” he recalled. “They’ve left a message and gave us little tips and things like that. So that was interesting and low and behold the best one was to hear Bryon’s voice.”
He had a telephone conversation with Topping on June 26, who now resides in a community near Ottawa.
“He was a very easy gentleman to talk to and as soon as I phoned him, he said ‘Well, hello Swift Current, Saskatchewan,’” Eckert mentioned. “He was just so elated and happy.”
He found the items belonging to Topping in a box with other stuff he bought at a garage sale in Swift Current.
There are some old photographs of a young Topping with different dancing partners on the ice as well as a photograph taken years later of an older Topping with two children.
There is a box of vinyl records with music used by Topping and his dancing partners for their on-ice performances. His name is written on the record covers with instructions about the side that should be played.
Topping and his partner Lynn Matthews competed for Canada in ice dancing at the 1965 World Figure Skating Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where they finished in 11th place.
According to Canadian Figure Skating Championship records, Topping and Matthews placed second in ice dancing in the national results for juniors in 1963 and 1964. They competed in the senior ice dancing championship in 1965 and finished in second place.
Topping graduated from Swift Current Collegiate Institute in 1960. He competed in the national championships as a member of a Central Ontario skating club.
The Prairie Post was able to communicate with Topping through e-mail about the items he has received from Eckert.
“When the article appeared on Facebook, my computer lit up like a Christmas tree,” he wrote. “My daughter saw it, my son saw it, and about 15 to 20 contacts on Facebook contact me with Mr. Eckert’s name and phone number.”
Eckert mailed the items shortly after their telephone conversation and Topping received it July 4.
“As soon as I got it home, I quickly opened it to see what was enclosed,” Topping wrote. “It was not the box that I packed 25 years ago, however I was pleased to obtain the missing material.”
The items were lost after his mother passed away. He returned to Swift Current to make arrangements for her funeral.
“After the funeral I packed up a couple of boxes of items that I wanted to have sent me,” he recalled. “One large box was received. However, the smaller box with the trophy flag medals, pictures and other memorabilia was never received.”
The items that have been returned to him include a three-picture frame of Topping with his skating partner Lynn Matthews that was taken shortly before they left for the world championship in Colorado Springs.
“It is the only pictures left of that pose as the others were either lost or borrowed and never returned,” he noted.
Other returned items include singing and piano certificates from his school years in Swift Current, his mother’s nursing graduation picture and diploma, and the communion certificates of his father’s sisters.
“While there is still so much missing, I am very appreciative to Leon Eckert for all the effort he went to find me and then to see that I received the missing memorabilia,” Topping mentioned.

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