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Sunday, September 29, 2013

I swear this is a great find!

There are items at every sale that are worth giving a closer look than with just your eyes. Banks, pen/pencil jars boxes, sewing drawers and baskets are great catch-alls for little items of value, not necessarily items of little value.
 I recently picked up this “Cuss” box at a sale for a quarter. It was really for the novelty aspect, and an inside joke between my daughter and I. Only a day before, I had failed at censoring myself when another driver decided to surprise me with their lack of perspective. The “close call” had resulted in a stream of vocabulary going through my mind would have filled a cuss jar and a half, and maybe one or 2 escaped the steel trap. “Daddy! You said a bad word.” and so began-eth the lesson on the cuss-jar. (sigh) 

The whole box is no more than a 3.5in cube, and by the condition and style, I felt it was 60-70 years old. On the front is a rhyme, which curiously has no end: 

“I am Just a little cuss box 
but I can serve you well… 
As long as you have lot’s o’dough 
You can ???????” 

I can’t make out those last words in red! Well, of all the (Bleep! Bleep! Bleep!)  The reverse has a great price list for the level of swearing

 I handed it to my daughter and she exclaimed, “There’s something inside.” When we opened it, there before us were four coins and a washer. Inside were two Mercury dimes (’41,’43) and one Roosevelt dime (1950) and one wheat penny, which hadn’t seen the light of day in a long time. 

The washer leads me to believe that someone tried to fool mom into think he’d paid his dues for the offense. Mercury dime values can be researched here. You can still find them hiding at sales, although they are not priceless, these are worth about $2.50 each in their current condition. The Roosevelt dime, which began circulation in 1946 was 90% silver until 1965 when it became the copper sandwich we use now.

 Keep looking; there’s still treasure to be found out there.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Things Found in Books (really)

I felt the need to review some of things I have found in books over the years for a couple of reasons: 1) They're cool. 2) They are still unsolved mysteries.

"An Important Meeting" When I found this in a fairly recent book several years ago, I was hopeful it could be identified. There is some intense body language here, and the faces look venerable and prominent. Unfortunately, I have no leads on this. I sure would like to know.... and

 "An important journey" These pages, scanned from a collection of newsbreaks from The New Yorker, document a journey taken by some successful New York reporters in the 1930s. Do you think I can find information on any of them? Nope. Help me with my research skills and I will be eternally grateful.

Author’s Note: I wrote 2 weeks ago of a discovery surrounding 2 brothers and their WWII memorabilia that I not only wrote about, but restored and planned to return. I promised an update and if you click here, you will see it.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Free Coal!? Get the Frack outta here! (1940)

From "American Home" magazine. There are ads in here that I have tagged as a reminder to post. They're just that good. This one just caught my eye for the image of what is supposed to represent cold. To my eye she looks as though she's caught in frack fissure. Say that ten times fast!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Mystery of the Glass Negative Continues

It might be hard to believe that something that looks like this:
can be hiding something with incredible detail.

Of all the items I have found over the years this print from the glass negative I found is definitely in my top 10. While speaking to a group at the Norwalk Senior Center a few weeks ago, I displayed this image and shared my passion for this couple because they looked so real.

 This is the mystery: Who were they? Where was this taken? Is this New England, or possibly the “old country”? The image itself provides the only clues to its origin. Knowing now that I can develop these glass negatives has led me to offer outright to any local historical society – if you have some glass negatives that you would like to see developed; I will volunteer my new skill for free. I may ask only to keep a copy of the developed image. 

The Monroe Historical Society accepted my offer – take a look at the video of more amazing negative to positive reveals.

For another interesting photo click here to look at this class picture from the 1940's  Didn't you ever wonder what those young faces were thinking back then?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Remember when the walk to school was up hill...both ways?

I don't consider myself old...and neither should you. But I do remember having the opportunity- Wait. Strike that. I had no choice...we walked to school. My elementary school had no bus service, everyone walked or was driven. 
Click on the image below to read the captions. I found this in a pile of papers. It looks like the 1940s and the expressions on some of the kids are priceless


It will be hard impressing my daughter that when I was her age I walked to school. And, despite the heat or the cold or how tiring it was, we did it. Looking back now, I don't feel like it was some kind of hardship, I really liked it.

I have promised my daughter that one of these days we will walk the same path, from my old neighborhood, to my old school. She will see that it really was, at times - up hill both ways.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Honoring and Remembering September 11th, 2001

I will, every year on this date, reflect on the tragedy of that day. I wrote my account in 2009 along with something I found from the Twin Towers. You can read it here.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

How to: Restore the past and return it. (Updated)

I promised to update this story once I returned the items. To read that section skip to the bottom of this post. To read the story from the beginning, start with the link to the Patch article below. 

This is a continuation of a story that started on Patch. Read from the beginning here.

Every now and then, when I feel the need to question why I chose Urban Archeology as a hobby, my own searches present me with the answer.

The sad news of John Krizan's death.

The discovery of clippings and photos from 2 Connecticut brothers who served in WWII, and their story, made me ask the question: What do I do with this?

Martin Krizan

Feeling it was maybe too personal to post, I held on to these items and shared it with some people I know from the area.

Enter my friend Leo McIlrath, Ecumenical Chaplin with a long history in senior and social service in and around the Danbury area. When I shared my find with him he immediately offered to see if he could locate a member of the family. I didn’t think it possible, but just this week I received a phone message that he had found a member of the Krizan family and they were very much interested in what I had found.

Original Photo
In the group shot in which Martin Krizan appears you will notice is in very poor condition. Knowing something about photo restoration I was able to repair much of the damage.
I HAVE connected with Leo  (READ BELOW) yet to return these items to the Krizan family, but it gave me an opportunity to begin writing the story and if you check back I will share its closure. When we do meet, whether in person or by exchange through Leo McIlrath they will have at least one item in better condition than when I found it. 
Original photo's reverse
I was thrilled to get the call a few days after originally posting this story from my friend Leo (mentioned above). He had reached out to one of the surviving brothers of  Martin and John Krizan and told him about my discovery. Last week, I visited Mr and Mrs George Krizan in their kitchen with Leo to share memories of their family and...
 ...return the items that belonged to the brothers. I gave a black 3-ring binder with the items inside page protectors to George and in return got some great stories above their memories of growing up in Danbury and what the city used to look like when hat factories and stores were everywhere. George shared one story of his days in the hat factory that produced a hat made for President Dwight D. Eisenhower. "Everyone in the shop took turns putting on Eisenhower's hat." What a picture that would be to have. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dream Find #2 "Heinlein Slept Here"

This is only the second in a series of items that I have come across and would buy if only I could. Of the many authors I have read, none have affected me so positively as Robert Heinlein. Known as the dean of SF writers, after reading my first Heinlein, found at a tag sale, there was no stopping me. Eventually, I read almost everything he has written. I found on Ebay today that one of his beds is up for bidding.

Currently at $1600, it is for sale by the Heinlein Society who could not find room for it in their museum and are selling it as a fundraiser. Designed and built by the master himself this would be a truly unique item to own, for me, anyway. You can visit the auction sight here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Clothes washed in ONE Minute? (1861)

The golden impossible promise of this ad is what prompted me to scan it. The fact that a child can operate it truly a joy to the world.