Lost and Found

Having a nearly 8-year-old son means I have the karmic retribution my parents longed for when I was 8. Actually, more like when I was 9 and 10. I was 9 when I got glasses.

I left them everywhere.

Even at 9, I didn’t like the stigma that glasses came with (when you’re older they denote maturity and intelligence, when you’re younger they simply — or it seemed to me — equated to “outcast”). I can remember my dad getting nearly home and having to turn around the car and drive back to the school where I had to hunt for my glasses — and I remember to this day where they were: there was a low, curved, brick wall that encircled the larger recess area and I had left them there, on the top of the wall, in the sun. The “reactive tint” technology had just come out and, having baked in the sun for what must have been 2 or 3 hours, they looked like any normal pair of sunglasses. My parents had opted for this technology on glasses for a 9 year old not really because I was outside all that much — although I was, and it was California, after all — but because this “sunglass effect” was supposed to lighten the stigmatic load. I waited ten long years for contacts and was ever so happy when I got them.

I therefore “get it” that it is now my station as mom to contend with an endless stream of semi-lost and permanently lost items. In kindergarten, it was the good heavy winter coat (a Carhart one), in first grade more than one hoodie and two pairs of gloves were never to be found again. This year’s permanent lost item would appear to be the Harry Potter scarf I knitted for him, the loss of which he feels more than I do (which is saying something). I do not hesitate to point out there is a perfectly functional lost and found at his school; I also do not hesitate to point out that it is used by some children (and likely some morally flexible parents) as a trading game.

At the end of every month, the lost and found is weeded: any items not clearly marked with first and last name are taken to a charity in Guatemala. I don’t know what the winters are like in Guatemala but as the things typically lost are scarves, gloves, hats, and jackets, those kids should be set for inclement weather. My son had chosen that day to lose his grey “Hurley” hoodie — Hurley hoodies being what Costco sells and are quite ubiquitous in the local school system here. A quick inspection at home proved it wasn’t here, so I got in touch with the gal who does Lost and Found Donations and was granted an audience in her garage…

…where the BoyChild and I went through three 60 gallon bags of items collected from the Lost and Found at his school. This provided me two benefits: one, I realized mine wasn’t the only child who misplaced things, and two, I realized there were other parents who are apparently so wealthy they do not notice the absence of jackets, sweaters, lunch boxes, etc. Or not much.

The Hurley wasn’t there. Its distant cousin — same grey color, slightly different lining — was there, however, and we had picked it out by accident. Upon inspection though we determined it wasn’t the BoyChild’s, and then he announced that the zipper was broken. The Lost and Found lady was disappointed, and went to trash an otherwise perfectly good hoodie.

To which I interjected: I would take the hoodie, and repair the zipper, and the BoyChild would pay for the zipper as amends for losing *his* hoodie. Then we’d put the hoodie back into the Lost and Found, giving the original owner the opportunity to collect a now repaired hoodie (and hopefully pay it forward) or at least ensuring a functional piece of clothing in donation.

(At this point I should note that I had never replaced a zipper on a garment. I had never put a zipper into any new garment. I had managed to lead a life of garment creation based on buttons or elastic, which means no, I don’t do much in the way of making non-costume clothing).

Tonight the zipper was installed in said hoodie, and it looks I think quite well done. It goes back into the Lost and Found tomorrow, the BoyChild is out $3.67 (after tax), I have one less thing on my to-do plate, and now I can figure out if I want a zipper in my Chiffon Hoodie.

Yes: I was serious about that.

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One comment

  1. Growing up, we didn’t have much, so we tended to keep an eye on things. Today, there is so much going on in kid’s lives that they tend to have things like coats and such drop off their awareness radar.

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