The radio station had a lost and found drawer in the office. It was literally an entire file cabinet drawer full of stuff people brought in. The usual scenario was: someone finds a keychain full of keys on a sidewalk; they drive to the radio station; explain where the keys were found; expect us to announce about the lost keys on the air. We followed through and dutifully announced the lost keys. Usually, we had no response. If the found item was a wallet, we notified the police instead of announcing it on the air.
There was a flip side to us being a community lost and found office. Some people who lost things stopped by the station to ask whether or not anybody had found lost keys or whatever. Rarely did anyone claim items from the lost and found drawer.
Occasionally, I’d rummage through the lost and found drawer to see what people lost. The most common items were women’s keychains–the type that are attached to long decorative chains or colorful ribbons. Some of them had fake birthstones or some type of costume jewelry attached to the ends of the chains.
Digging deep into the box that contained keychains, it was fun to discover keys that had been lost many years ago. Some went to cars built in the 1960s or earlier, when there were separate keys dedicated to the ignition switch and the trunk. Many of those keychains contained old fashioned keys and skeleton keys. The owners must have lived in old houses with antique door locks.
The second most common lost items were small pocket-size cameras. There were dozens of them in the drawer. I don’t remember anyone coming off the street to claim a camera. Once, I was curious about a particular camera that was still loaded with film. I shot the remaining frames, then brought the film to Walgreen’s for processing. The photos depicted a family reunion picnic at one of the local city parks. Judging by the clothing fashions and the cars in the background, the original pictures were taken in the 1980s. The photos I shot came out crisp and clear.
I remembered the old lost and found drawer this week while I was searching for a missing specialized wrench I needed to complete the repair of my desk chair. As I looked high and low, I jokingly thought I should call the radio station to find out whether or not anyone has seen my wrench. The special wrench had to be in my possession anyway. I eventually found it in the toolbox dedicated to car maintenance. I wonder why I placed it there.
Perhaps I should dedicate a drawer at home to lost and found items. Every time I find an odd item, I could place it in the drawer. The drawer would then become the first place I look whenever something has been lost. Who knows what I might find?
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 19th/20th century British writer, Gilbert K. Chesterton. “The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.”