Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lost and Found


Poor Mary.  Joseph is missing.  One minute he was there- on the windowsill- next to the radiator, with the rest of my miniature Nativity set.  And the next, he was gone-leaving behind a scene of scattered sheep, a fallen shepherd, and a lonely wife.  The main suspect?  I think the dog did it.  What puzzles me though, is that Kona is a herding dog.  I’d have thought she would have gone for the sheep…

Yesterday, I started to put the house back in order.  Our visiting family members had all gone back home, and the tree was starting to lose needles at an alarming rate.  I got out my canister vacuum to see if Joseph was hiding under the radiator.  My canister vacuum is old and doesn’t have the greatest suction-and Joseph is also bigger than the end of the attachment I planned to use-so I figured if Joseph was under the radiator I could rescue him.  Out came several wads of dust, two marbles, and a small soccer ball-but no Joseph.  And then out came an envelope-the kind you find in the middle of a catalog along with the order form-from the Montgomery Ward company, with an address simply reading:

Montgomery Ward
Portland 10, Ore.

envelope front            envelope back

The post office implemented postal zones-like the “10” on the envelope- for larger cities in 1943, but didn’t  devise the zip code as we know it until 1963.   This envelope was very old and had probably been under the radiator  for a  long time.

It is little discoveries like this that make living in an old house so exciting. (On previous occasions, we’ve found a gold wedding ring and a coin from 1869.)  Though the envelope is not a valuable or earth shattering discovery, it is still a connection to the people who lived in this house long before we ever did.  I can picture a teen-aged girl, not unlike my own Amy, flipping through the newly arrived Montgomery Ward catalog, pouring over the latest styles, and having the  envelope fall out  and slip under the radiator…

Maybe, in 50 years or so, someone  will come along with a more powerful vacuum.  They might  also be searching for a missing object under the radiator-and perhaps they will find Joseph. They too-in their future time, will marvel over this connection to us, now in the past.

In the meantime though, it looks like Mary is on her own.


  1. Poor Poor Mary. I hope Kona wasn't mad about not getting her fair share of Christmas Cookies and decide to EAT Joseph! If that is the case, you will find him in a few days and he will require a good scrubbing!

    Hope he returns safely!!

    Happy New Year!!

  2. Oh dear. Poor Joseph! I hope he turns up. You don't think the dog drug him off to some desolate corner of the house, do you? :-)

    I would love to find treasures like that! I'm afraid the closest I ever came was when I found the previous owner's track photos from their high school days - looked like the 1960s.

    Happy New Year!

  3. Too funny Lisa! Not a job I would relish doing. Luckily the snow is pretty deep outside and I wouldn't find Joseph until spring when it had all melted...and hopefully he would be nice and spiffy again!

    Melissa-I should have added that when we found the gold ring it was outside in the yard and there were lots of bones with it. this what really happened to Joseph? (Did Mary finally have her fill of staying in a stable, and not someplace like a Holiday Inn, I wonder???)

  4. I love that thought. I love an old house - they usually have character. We live in a cookie cutter townhouse type of deal. My dream is to move into a large old - but renovated home. Hope you find Joseph in time for next year!

  5. Thanks Kim-I love our house now, but I can't wait for it to be fixed up the way we want it to be someday. It was built in 1900 and the thought of all that has happened in it is so intriguing. If we eventually do find Joseph, that will be a bonus!