Joan always hoped she would inherit the sculpture, but it ended up with her sister, and then was lost when the box of possessions it was in disappeared during a move.
“I was very upset by the loss of the head, so I kept looking for a replacement,” wrote Joan, who lives in Hyattsville, Md.
She searched antique stores before snapping one up on eBay. “I was thrilled to get an exact duplicate,” she wrote.
When the artifact arrived, Joan realized it wasn’t a duplicate. It was the head itself. When she was a child, Joan had knocked over the carving, breaking its elaborate headdress. Her mother had managed to repair it, but a telltale glue line snaked down the back.
Wrote Joan: “I was stunned. How this woman in Vermont had ended up with our head I will never know.”
Pat Riedinger was always fond of her camera, a Kodak Retina she bought in 1963 before embarking with her husband, Jim, on a seven-week road trip across the United States. She was upset when, a few years later, the camera was nowhere to be found after the couple moved to Fairfax, Va.
A few months after the move, Jim was walking in downtown Washington when he spotted a Kodak Retina in the window of Weschler’s auction house on E Street NW. He went in, thinking he’d buy it for Pat as a replacement.
It dawned on Jim that the camera looked awfully familiar, so he called Pat and asked her to read him the serial number, which she had saved.
“It turned out that it was my camera, which had probably been picked up by one of the movers,” wrote Pat, who now lives in Clifton, Va.
Weschler’s gave the camera back, and Pat used it for many more years.
Dan Wallace was delighted when he unwrapped a new wallet at the party for his 14th birthday in 1963. Then he unwrapped another wallet and another and another: seven in all, gifts from the boys and girls who attended his basement bash in Allentown, Pa.
After the party, Dan chose one billfold and jotted his name, address and phone number on the paper slip in the photo slot, storing the rest of the wallets in his dresser’s junk drawer.
“Later that year, I went downtown with a friend to see a movie at the Colonial Theater and to hang out,” wrote Dan, who now lives in Silver Spring, Md. “When I arrived back home, the wallet was gone.”
Fast forward 10 years. Dan had graduated from college and was back home the summer before going off to graduate school. The phone rang. It was the Colonial Theater saying they had his wallet.
“I was amazed that they’d kept the wallet in a box somewhere in the theater for a decade,” Dan wrote. “But, I shrugged, happy to have it back, since by then I’d worn out the other six wallets.”
Before people realized turtles could transmit salmonella, pet stores sold thousands of the little reptiles. The family of Bonnie Boyle Côté had a few over the years in the 1950s, each turtle residing in a plastic faux island with a plastic palm tree.
“Eventually, one of the turtles escaped,” wrote Bonnie, who lives in the District. “After a thorough search, turning over and looking under whatever, any hope of finding the lost critter was abandoned.”
Almost 20 years later, Bonnie was back at her parent’s home, her newborn in tow, to help with a deep cleaning before the house was put on the market.
Wrote Bonnie: “I was on my knees wiping down woodwork in a small area outside the powder room when I noticed something in the door jamb. That something was a small turtle shell, perfectly preserved. Mystery solved.”
For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/john-kelly.