This newspaper was placed in the wall of a Castlegar home as the house siding was completed — and as NASA landed a probe on Mars during the US bicentennial year.                                Photo: Fanny Rodgers

This newspaper was placed in the wall of a Castlegar home as the house siding was completed — and as NASA landed a probe on Mars during the US bicentennial year. Photo: Fanny Rodgers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

The summer of 1976 was special for Luba Kalmakov.

She and her husband and two kids were just completing a house they’d built for themselves on 9th Avenue in Castlegar, after 10 years of scraping and saving.

The final cedar siding was going up, finishing the job.

Kalmakov decided to leave a little gift, hidden in the wall. Something that might one day be discovered by future owners of the house.

Something that would let them know just what life was like that July, during the U.S. bicentennial year …

The discovery

Four and a half decades later, Fanny Rodgers and her husband were doing some much-needed repairs on their new house.

They bought the house in 2016, after saving up for years. They married a year later.

While they loved the place, the old deck was in rough shape, and they had to take down the siding and make some repairs.

That’s when Fanny’s husband came across a hidden surprise.

“He was pulling down cedar in the carport, and that’s when the letter and newspaper came down,” she says.

The newspaper — dated July 20, 1976 — flashes a headline about the first soft landing on Mars by the Viking probe. And there was a delicate, weather-damaged, hand-written letter with the paper.

“This house was built by the happy Kalmakov family of John and Luba,” the letter reads. “Today John is putting up the cedar in the carport and Luba is helping.”

The note goes on to let the future know who owned the home — John, the schoolteacher, and Luba, the “happy homemaker,” along with their children, six-year-old Maya and three-year-old Matthew. Not to forget their dog, nine year old Tiko.

But what struck Rodgers was the letter’s wonderful tone.

In it, Luba says several times how she and her family were happy that summer.

“This is a blessed house, and good fortune and love come to all who dwell here,” the note concludes.

“It really touched me,” says Rodgers. “That’s why I wanted to get in touch with the family, say, ‘hey, we’re really happy here too, it’s actually our first house. It’s a household of joy and happiness.’”

Social

media success

Kalmakov could never have known in 1976 that in some far distant future, the owners of her house would be able to easily find and contact her.

But that’s what happened. About an hour after posting pictures of her find on a Facebook community page, Rodgers tracked down the daughter, the now-full-grown Maya.

“I said ‘hey, we found the letter,’ and she confirmed her mom wrote it,” says Rodgers. “I said, if you want the letter, let me know, I’d love to get in touch.”

And a day later, she was having coffee with the note’s authors, and the Kalmakovs toured their old home, nearly a half-century after it was built.

“Luba was in awe, she was sharing all these memories, how the house was built, what has changed. She had some pictures — there was wallpaper all around the house,” Rodgers says.

“It was amazing, the story they told us. They didn’t have a lot of money, so lots of the wood came from Grand Forks. My husband is very handy so it was good for him to find out how the house was built, confirm his suspicions on how things were done. It was just amazing. She didn’t want to leave, she had so many stories.”

(The Castlegar News reached out to the Kalmakovs, but were unable to contact them before press time).

Rodgers plans to pass the good vibes forward. She’s going to take the original note, write one of her own, and add a copy of this paper to the stash. Maybe another 50 years from now, some other renovating homeowner will find these notes, and learn a little bit of the history of their home.

And the circle will be unbroken.



reporter@rosslandnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

history

 

Luba Kalmakov’s letter lets future owners of her house know how happy her family was moving in in 1976. Photo: Fanny Rodgers

Luba Kalmakov’s letter lets future owners of her house know how happy her family was moving in in 1976. Photo: Fanny Rodgers

Fanny Rodgers shows the 45-year-old newspaper and letter left in the walls of her Castlegar home. Photo: John Boivin

Fanny Rodgers shows the 45-year-old newspaper and letter left in the walls of her Castlegar home. Photo: John Boivin

Just Posted

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

CVRD Area E director Alison Nicholson, right, hiked two hours to Waterfall Camp at the Fairy Creek watershed along with Comox town councillor Nicole Minion and Comox Valley Regional District director Daniel Arbour to meet with old-growth logging activists on Monday, June 7. (Submitted)
Cowichan Valley regional director visits Fairy Creek protest camps

‘They clearly communicated that they are committed to what they are doing’

Tim Wilkinson, who will attempt a double anvil triathlon on Vancouver Island on July 3, poses with his training partner, Shadow, who has been dragged up and down the Nanaimo Parkway many times. (Submitted)
Vancouver Island triathlete takes on ‘double anvil’ for charity

7.6km swim, 360km bike ride, and 84.4km run, all within 36 hours

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read