Thursday, 5 June 2014

Lost and Found

I mentioned earlier we are in the process of renovating our Georgian home. The house was left to get into a shocking state of disrepair before we bought it, but given that there are so many original features, I don't mind. For the most part we have to clear out and clean up before we can repair things like the plumbing. There is literally a century of dirt under the floor boards. As we fix and repair we do occasionally find bits and pieces. Usually just rusty nails and cobwebs but there have been a few Eureka moments, though I have to admit, the things I find intriguing would probably be discarded by other renovators.
As a letter writer, all written things interest me so when we find bits of old newspaper, I carefully unfold them and try to read the news of the day. We've found scraps of papers from the 50s, 70s and 80s which are interesting in their own right, but the bits of the paper from 1901 we found were incredible. As a society we don't realize just how the way we speak and write is ever changing and newspapers document that change. Even more exciting than finding the papers was the lady's calling card we found safely hidden beneath the floorboards in bedroom 2 for nearly 100 years; sadly abbreviated by mice, but still a treasure. This morning I was caught off guard when I found a single postage stamp behind the skirting board in that very same room. It's easy to figure out how that could have gotten lost behind there, as thin and fluttery as it is, but I still like to wonder who it belonged to. Perhaps, Cynthia, the lady who left her card?   After a bit of research I found it was a King George VI stamp from 1937.

I wonder if that is where Cynthia's desk was, against that wall where I found the stamp. I've wondered about Cynthia as well. She and her family did live in the house in the 1930's and did a little renovating in their own style which was Art Deco. Bakelite doorknobs and geometric mirrors still exists upstairs and there was a bit of wallpaper in the hall that could only have been from that era.

Other, earlier residents have left little bits of themselves behind as well. Including someone who left a secret stash of bottles and cigarettes in a cubby hole under the stairs. I have done some research to acquaint myself with the former residents. Old census forms and because our house was once the rectory for the local church, a long list of vicars and their families. I'm curious about them all. I'd love to know who Colleen was. I found her name written boldly on my bedroom wall when I took some of the wall paper down. And in another room, the scent of perfume came wafting by when wallpaper was removed. Little glimpses of previous tenants light up my imagination.

I think I will write a letter and tuck it somewhere out of the way for someone to discover in another time. I like the idea of leaving a little bit of myself to meet the future. I wonder what the person who finds it will think when they find my missive? Have you ever done anything like that? Left a note, carved your name on a tree, made a time capsule for the future to tell of your existence?


  1. What a lovely post. I read it twice. I want to know more! You are a gifted storyteller, a gracious hostess who invites us into your life and puts us at ease the moment we cross your imaginary threshold. I imagine Cynthia giving you a nod of approval. Surely she'd be touched by your introduction and interest. Everyone wants to be remembered. Well, almost everyone.

    I hope you are able flesh out both women some day. And tell us all about your home, the renovations, your finds, and your musings! I have never seriously considered leaving evidence of my existence, until now. Hmm.

    Another interesting post. :) Great job!

  2. Thank you for all the lovely things you write. Cynthia has been on my mind since we found her card. Her family lives in Ireland now and although we have written asking about the family, they haven't replied, sadly. I'm going to try again though, the first attempt was an email, but we know letters move mountains!

  3. Good for you! I'm crossing my fingers. This is actually exciting. LOL!

  4. I'll let you know how it turns out.