Monday, August 13, 2012

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Here we have the front and back of a postcard that was mailed from West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, in the summer of 1945. The message reads as follows:

“Dog, Edward, Alison, Ma and Pa and retinue arrived on schedule. All happy but a little weary. Pleased with house and anticipating grand vacation. Florence and Clarence.”

A Washington attorney named Tom McGovern found this postcard wedged inside an old book that he'd picked up for a dollar or two at an auction house that holds weekly estate sales. A postcard from a family vacationing in Maine appealed to him, because his own family spends two weeks at a summer house in Maine each year (being an attorney clearly has its privileges), so he decided to see what he could find out about Florence and Clarence, who had sent the card.

Within a few hours, Tom had learned quite a bit about Florence and Clarence. More incredibly, he had discovered that one of the people referred to in the postcard's message is someone he knows! I won't give away the details -- instead, just read Tom's sensational article and slideshow about all this, which appeared in Sunday's Washington Post.

Tom's story is pure Permanent Record, so I looked up his contact info and shot him a quick note to say, "Great article -- and you might like this project that I'm working on." He quickly wrote back to say he'd be checking out the PermaRec links I'd provided. I'll let you know if I end up hearing back from him.

Sunday was a good day for newspaper articles about found objects. In addition to Tom's story, the New York Times had a piece about a salvage man named Darryl Kelly, who was hired to clean out the apartment of a deceased photographer/hoarder. He tossed most of the photographer's belongings in a Dumpster and then, on a whim, decided to take some of the items with him. Naturally, those items ended up being valuable works of art, including a Warhol litho, some Christo pieces, and more. He's going to put them all up for auction in the fall. You can read the full story here.

Do you have any found objects whose stories you'd like to share? If so, let me know. Thanks.

(Special thanks to Terry Haines for letting me know about Tom McGovern's article.)

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