On the rainy morning of Wednesday, Aug. 21, Charles Waldman, a descendant of the Anderson family of Malahat Farm, brought a special donation to the museum all the way from sunny California.
The donation was a toy baby carriage (also known as a buggy or pram), containing the original baby blanket used inside.
The buggy belonged to Marion Azuba Waldman (née Anderson). It was gifted to her by her aunt Marion Thomas on Christmas Eve in 1930 in Sooke. That makes this artifact almost 100 years old.
The buggy made its way to the Bay Area of California, where Marion had moved for schooling, and later to the foothills, where her son Charles (the donor) lived.
The carriage was made in Toronto by Sidway-Topliff Company Ltd., a manufacturer of children’s vehicles. The body and the hood of the buggy are made of a sandy brown wicker with a metal frame, adjustable headrest and wood handle.
The wicker and lining are fully intact, and there’s a slight rust on the frame and the pins which hold the lining to the wicker. The rubber on the wheels is worn and cracking slightly (this may have been due to the changes in climate between Sooke and California), but the wheels are fully functional.
The artifact measures approximately 73.5 centimetres from the floor to the top of the carriage, 33 at its widest points, and 76 from its handle to the edge of the carriage.
The cream coloured, cotton fleece blanket inside the buggy has a pink satin trim and features an applique of three pink rabbits with pom-pom tails.
An image of the sisters and their buggies was published in Seniority Magazine in December 2006 with a quote from Marion’s sister Audrey Humphries (née Anderson): “On Christmas Eve 1930, my aunt – my mother’s sister – from California had these baby buggies for me and my sister Marion and wanted to surprise us. She got on a bus and rode all the way with them to our home on Vancouver Island, British Columbia and boy was it a surprise! She also got us the dolls in the buggies and made the clothes for them, as well.”
Montana Stanley is the collections and exhibits manager of the Sooke Region Museum and Visitor Centre.