Most of us have our own such tales, and I love those stories of things lost and then found. There is something magical, completing, and just right about lost love and lost family members found again, lost jewelry or diamonds found, and lost wallets found. Is there any one of us who hasn’t felt whole again after finding something lost, even our car keys?
Certainly lost loves, lost parents or siblings, or lost friends found again are the most meaningful. I’ve written in the past at my joy at “finding” lost relatives in Germany I had vague knowledge existed but had never met until we made the effort to find and visit them in the “old country.” But lost things found can be momentous too.
Several years ago needing two hands, I set my wallet on the rear bumper of my pickup truck. Forgetting I had done so, I drove to Havelock from Swansboro along N.C. 24 and Nine Mile Road. Miraculously, it wasn’t’ until the last curve just before that long, straight stretch of Nine Mile Road that my wallet fell off the bumper and landed in the median, opening up and spilling most of the contents of credit cards, money, and family photos along the road.
A Good Samaritan driving not too far behind me saw the wallet, stopped and gathered everything up she could find and, after a bit of research, found our home phone number and called. I was back home frantically searching for my wallet by then, and you can imagine my sense of relief at finding my wallet and my respect for the kind lady who returned it to me.
In the news recently was a high school class ring lost in a lake and found washed up on the beach by a beachcomber 25 years later. Through the engraving on the inside of the ring, the ring’s finder found the original owner on Facebook and returned the ring to him.
My sister in-law found her diamond an hour after losing it. It had fallen from her engagement ring’s setting onto the floor of her supervisor’s office. Such relief!
Likewise a neighbor’s daughter was devastated losing her diamond while working outside, searched high and low for it and, not finding it, resigned herself that diamonds might not actually be “forever” as the diamond industry advertisement would have you believe. Years later, though, she was overjoyed to notice a glint inside that same shed that led her to find that diamond stone in a corner of the shed in which she had been working the day she lost it.
At a local antique auction several years ago I purchased an old watch or clock maker’s desk. It sat in our garage until I could find the time to clean it and set it up for use in my workshop. While emptying the drawers of old broken pencils, bits of paper, and tiny watch screws, a long lost sterling silver bracelet presented itself from behind one of the drawers. It had been jammed back there for years, I suppose, because it had a military service number engraved on the face of the bracelet. Military service numbers have not been used to identify soldiers and sailors since the late 1960s (early ’70s in the case of the Marine Corps).
In addition to the service number 897-36-45 engraved on the face of this man’s bracelet, his name “L.N. CADY” is engraved. On the reverse of the bracelet is engraved “Love, Shorty.” I imagine L.N. Cady wearing the bracelet during his World War II service, not only to provide a means to identify him should he have come to some harm during combat, but more importantly, to keep his girlfriend or wife “Shorty” thousands of miles away in the States close to him during his time overseas so far from home.
I hope to find relatives of L.N. Cady and return the bracelet to its rightful place with the Cady family — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also to “pay forward” the kindness shown to me by the lady from Nine Foot Road who found my wallet on Nine Mile Road. Not being a Facebook user, I’ve not resorted to Facebook — yet — to locate his family, but if my other means of trying to locate his relatives are unsuccessful, Facebook may be required.
When I’m successful, and I’m confident I will be, I hope the Cady family finds it just as mystifying and satisfying as we all do when our “long lost” has been found again.
Barry Fetzer is a columnist for the Havelock News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.