We found ourselves driving to the land flowing of milk and honey [ahem, Target] this morning, Michael Krasny’s chipper talk radio voice in the background. I’ll usually listen to a minute or two of NPR before deciding whether the program captures my attention, or if it’s time to call Sister for the 3rd time that day.
But I did not call Sister this morning.
Krasny interviewed Davy Rothbart, creator of Found Magazine, a print and online magazine dedicated to – you guessed it – found objects. As stated on their website, they collect it all: “…love letters, birthday cards, kids’ homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, receipts, doodles– anything that gives a glimpse into someone else’s life. Anything goes…” While the magazine has certainly attracted the attention of critics and fans alike, I found the whole idea absolutely fascinating – the puzzle, the intrigue, the surprise. It’s the lost pearl earring you borrowed from your friend Gigi for your wedding, found, two months later under the storage unit in the garage. It’s the note from a stranger tucked in between pages 233 and 234 in the used book you just ordered from Amazon, found, now revealed to your reading eyes. The lost is found, the old is new, the mystery is unveiled.
We had our own found given to us lately: Auntie recently brought over a stack of letters written by (the aforementioned) Sister and me when we were little. “Cara’s first letter, 1981,” envelope and notebook paper covered in pencil scribbles. In the pile were thank you cards and notes of general interest, perfect third grade cursive meticulously practiced for an admiring Grandpa and Grandpa Mac.
And then there was this, from Sister…
Here’s the text in case you can’t read it:
“Happy late Anniversary!
Dear Grandma and Grandpa,
I am fine and how are you? We go to a swimming pool. Cara, Brandon and I go to swimteam there. Cara and Brandon go at 8:00 am and I go at 11. For Christmas I got a guinea pig. It was a male. His name was Fred. We made a little pig pen for him and we got to put him in it every day. one day Dad sprayed the lawn he didn’t tell us. Brandon took Fred outside Fred ate the grass. He wouldn’t eat for a week. Then he died one night. We found an ad in a newspaper for a free guinea pig. I cleaned Freds cage for an hour. We got the new guinea pig. His name was Max but I call him Henry. And thats the whole story about my guinea pigs.
i luv u!
Now hear me out: I’m not a fan of animals and family pets in particular dying, like ever. But this found is funny.
Maybe it’s the resurrected story of childhood that brings back memories, picturing Sister sitting there at the whirring tan typewriter in the front room, meticulously punching perfection at the keys. Maybe it’s the fact that Fred and Henry and all those damn, smelly guinea pigs she loved so very well, made and shaped Sister’s heart into what it is today, her heart for animals and her spit-fire truth-telling in story form. Because that, most of all, is what these found objects are: stories. And when the lost is found, another story is told, another voice is heard, another person is honored quite simply for their humanity.
Or maybe it’s just the plain and simple truth that kids, that these miniature human beings we once were, that surround us today, are heel-arious, end of story.
I’m so glad that this lost was found.
What about you? What FOUND objects have made their way into your life, making you stop and pause, laugh and cry, think and cherish? And tell me the truth: is this story funny, or should I never, ever, ever post about dead guinea pigs again?