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:
Portland 10, Ore.
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.