With a little effort and luck, things that are lost can be transformed into things that are found

John Kelly
Columnist February 5

I manage to lose my sunglasses every few months. Usually they’re right where I left them. Actually, they’re always right where I left them. The problem is that until I find them, I don’t remember that’s where I left them.

It’s time for Part 2 of my miraculous Lost and Found stories.

John Kelly writes "John Kelly's Washington," a daily look at Washington's less-famous side. Born in Washington, John started at The Post in 1989 as deputy editor in the Weekend section. View Archive

Jack and Carolyn Farmerie have lived in Burke Centre since 1978. After mowing the lawn one day around 1981 Jack noticed that his wedding ring had fallen off of his finger and was missing. The ring was just a bit too large.

“I searched the back, front and side yards with a metal detector to no avail,” Jack wrote. “So shortly thereafter I bought a new ring. I always suspected that the ring was sucked up into the mower bag with the refuse.”

In 2012 the Farmeries’ next-door neighbor was digging bushes out from the front of his house and he offered them to Carolyn.

“She took one of them and asked me to plant it in the side yard behind our fence,” Jack wrote. “After I dug down about one foot I noticed something silver in the dirt. I picked it up and discovered it was my ring that I lost over 30 years ago. What were the odds?”

Not all valuables are valuable, if you know what I mean. In 2012, Potomac’s Mazel Pernell lost a battered notebook while touring Kyoto, Japan. She was on a month-long tour of Asia and had already filled it with her impressions of China.

Mazel’s Japanese guide recommended that she have staff at her hotel call the lost and found department of the company whose bus they’d been riding earlier in the day. “I thanked her but thought that calling about a dog-eared notebook full of English scribbles was a waste of time,” Mazel said.

But she did and then, with a fresh notebook in hand, she embarked on her last day of sightseeing.

“At the end of the day, I stopped by the front desk to follow up on my request. Before I could finish stating my question to the front desk clerk, she said ‘They found it.’”

The next morning, armed with a note the hotel staff had written in Japanese, Mazel stopped at the bus company on her way to the airport.

“I went to the lost and found and handed over the note,” Mazel wrote. “After a quick check on a computer screen, the clerk asked to see my passport, looked at me to ensure that I was the person pictured, then led me down a long hallway and into a small room with a wall of cubbyholes. He retrieved my notebook, handed it to me and bowed.”

It isn’t just Japanese employees who go the extra mile. In December Glenna Ohlms sat down to wrap Christmas presents when she realized she couldn’t find the bicycle helmet she’d bought for her son two days earlier. She had the receipt from the Bristow, Va., Target, just no helmet.

Glenna thought she’d have to write if off — the victim of a “senior moment” — but she decided to call the store. She explained her predicament and eventually spoke with a security guard named Robert Dennis. He explained that he had pored over security video and was able to spot Glenna grab two of her three shopping bags, leaving one behind.

“So, yes, I had bought the helmet, and no, I had not taken it out of the store,” Glenna wrote. “He told me that he’d go and find it, and would call me back again. Fifteen minutes later Robert called to say that he had the helmet in his hands.”

You may recall that the inspiration for all these warm stories was the tale of a glove that was lost on Metro and reunited with its owner. Not everyone is so lucky. After losing a glove on an Amtrak train several years ago, John Greenya went to the Union Station lost and found.

“There was a very large man seated against the wall, and when he heard me say it was a glove I was looking for, he didn’t even bother getting up and coming to the counter,” John wrote. “In his great deep voice he said, ‘A glove? A glove? Your chances of finding a lost glove are between slim and none — and slim just left town!’”

I think it’s almost worth losing a glove just to hear that wonderful expression.

Bands on the run

For reasons that will be clear next week, I’m trying to find members of certain D.C.-area bands that played in 1964. If you played in the Aristocrats, the Ascots, the Avantes, the Contrasts, the Checkmates, the Excels, the Infernos, the Jaguars, the Playgirls, the Paramounts, the 4 Speeds or the Starliners please drop me a line ASAP.

For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/johnkelly.

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Local