WALL TOWNSHIP — Wall residents Stan and Victoria Komski were pursuing an estate sale at an old house in Sea Girt, when they found antiques tucked away in the basement. They eventually were able to return one antique toy to the family of the original owner.
“We’re forging around. There’s really not much there. There’s a lot of old stuff. But, I’m going down in the basement along the shelf that people put junk on, and then in the corner there is this knocked over little wooden wagon that just catches our eye,” said Mr. Komski.
Upon further investigation of the wooden toy wagon, they were able to make out the name Gertrude printed on its side. They also noticed the hand-made craftsmanship, which indicated they had found something really old.
“At first, I thought maybe it’s very old advertising for Gertrude Hawk, so I offer them five bucks for this little wooden wagon,” said Mr. Komski, adding “You could tell this thing was old, it had handmade washers. It had square stock, a nut and bolt on it. It was over a hundred years old.”
Upon returning home, they clean the wagon and observe further details about it, including the surname Droop following Gertrude. After some investigative work by Ms. Komski, they stumbled upon the obituary for a Gertrude Droop.
According to her obituary, she was born in Lingen, Germany, where she lived until she was 17. Upon coming to the United States, she settled in Madison, New Jersey. She later lived in Chatham, Colonia, Westfield and Bedminster prior to moving to Basking Ridge.
The Komskis also see that one of her grandchildren, Bret Schundler, was alive and well, living in Jersey City. Mr. Schundler was the former mayor of Jersey City and campaigned for governorship at one time.
Mr. Schundler was thrilled to be reunited with a childhood toy that he now plans on giving to his niece Trudy, who is named in honor of Gertrude.
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