While a contractor was changing some office cabinets in Jana O’Connor’s 1929 Saanich home, he found a small, fragile paper book behind a wall.
“He brought it down and gave it to my husband and, he kind of wasn’t that interested in it,” O’Connor said. “I had a look at it and I read the whole thing and this is like, written by a child, it was really sweet, talking about her dog and the puppies that were born and going to a dog show and I said, “that’s so interesting” that it had her full name on it..”
The book was written by Alison Snape, and called “The Story of Lassie — an Irish Setter.”
It seemed to be written in the 1940s, but the date is obscured by a tear in the cover. She wondered if the young girl used to live in her house, so she went upstairs to the office and some wood behind the wall was marked “For Snape,” seemingly part of an old wooden crate from Stocker’s Moving and Storage.
O’Connor thought about it for a few days, sharing the story with friends who thought she should post it on a Facebook group, Old Victoria B.C., where she would meet some history buffs. Commenters began to dig through old newspaper archives and wedding announcements, finding additional details on dog shows where Alison could have gotten Lassie from, a public speaking prize she may have won at St. Margaret’s School, and much more.
“I couldn’t believe how quickly everyone put that up,” O’Connor said.
She also posted it to the Victoria B.C. subreddit, and 13 minutes later, there was a breakthrough.
“She points it out to her co-worker who says ‘Oh, my gosh, my nana is Alison Snape!’”
After making contact, Alison, her daughter, and her granddaughter will meet with O’Connor on Monday to chat about the property.
“I put it out on the internet as a long shot, thinking somebody might enjoy looking into this puzzle, but I had no idea that we would connect with her family so quickly,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said she hasn’t yet spoken to Alison herself, but O’Connor has been told that Alison is still “very fit and healthy,” so she looks forward to learning about the Snapes and their old home.