MARY READY: Regarding the island of lost objects

Mary Ready, Ready or Not

Recently a friend challenged me to find the owner of a ring she’d found. It’s a 1981 Fort Walton Beach High School class ring bearing the name “Roger” and the word “chorus” The initials on the inside are “RAC.” If it’s yours or you know to whom it belongs, give me a call.

Roger’s lost ring got me thinking about all the lost objects that bring mystery, annoyance and insanity into our lives.

Googling the words “island of lost,” I got “Island of Lost Souls,” a 1932 and 2007 movie as well as a 1981 song by Blondie. I also got “Island of Lost Girls,” a novel about kidnapped children.

The most intriguing reference was “Island of Lost Memories.” Inhabitants of this mysterious island suffer complete memory loss with no way to remember previous experiences or learn from new ones. So, a child forgetting his way home would remain lost, and two lovers who have forgotten each other would never be together.

I can relate. Now, what was the reason I came upstairs?

Last week, I lost something important along with much of my sanity after Frank’s appointment at White Wilson in Fort Walton.

Settling him into the car, I reached into my purse for the keys. No keys. I go back into the building to the waiting room, the examining room, the bathroom, and re-walked the hallways. I checked in the lab. I checked at the front desk. I looked under the car and checked the sidewalk leading into the building. No luck. I went back to the car and checked my purse again, this time turning it upside down and shaking all the contents onto the seat. Nope.

Finally, I became resolved that somebody had picked up my keys and either turned them in to a staff member who forgot to mention it before quitting for the day, or kept them for meanness.

As time dragged on and darkness fell over the empty parking lot, I called a friend to take us home for the other set of keys and bring us back for the car.

Once settled in our rescuer’s vehicle and some distance down the road, I reached into my purse for my cell phone and drew out my car keys. The same keys that were NOT there when I searched my purse twice before.

My conclusion: Those keys went to the island of lost objects for several hours, and for some arcane reason, the wizard who governs the island, sent them back.

There’s a book of poetry by Janet McAdams on the subject of lost things. Titled “The Island of Lost Luggage,” its preface reads “At the Island of Lost Luggage, they line up: the disappeared, the lost children, the abused, the oppressed, the Earharts of modern life …"

Although McAdams’ book has nothing to do with actual luggage, there’s a place called Unclaimed Baggage in Scottsboro, Ala. I’ve been there. It’s a place full of “Wonder Why’s.”

Once the airlines have made exhaustive attempts to reunite lost luggage with their owners, they call the Unclaimed Baggage Center to purchase luggage that can’t be traced. Truckloads of lost bags are transported to Scottsboro, where I saw evening gowns, wedding dresses, fine jewelry, mink coats, designer luggage, and items that you’d think would’ve been greatly missed by someone.

I mean, isn’t someone out there going crazy wondering where great-grandmother’s heirloom cameo is? I went berserk after losing a tennis bracelet Frank gave me for an anniversary, and think of it often, wondering where it is … Did someone find it? Is there another woman out there enjoying my bracelet?

Some unclaimed items not fit for the retail floor at the Scottsboro facility are “voted off the island.” Apparently, some people pack some pretty weird stuff.  Once a live rattlesnake was lurking in an unclaimed bag. WHY would you pack a snake in the first place, and WHY wouldn’t you wonder what became of him/her?

The Island of Lost Objects is floating out there surrounded in ethereal mist, calling to us in a siren’s voice, making us insane with the mystery of what became of important (and unimportant) possessions in our lives.

I’m not Catholic, but I’m fond of St. Anthony, the go-to Saint when you’ve lost something:

“Anthony, perfect imitator of Jesus, who received from God the special power of restoring lost things, grant that I may find (name the lost item) which has been lost. At least restore to me peace of mind, the loss of which has afflicted me even more than my material loss. To this favor, I ask another of you: that I may always remain in possession of the true good that is God. Let me rather lose all things than lose God, my supreme good. Let me never suffer the loss of my greatest treasure, eternal life with God.” Amen.

Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident. Her columns are published on Saturdays.