I received this account today:
Hello - I just read your article about the 'Wandering Object' and wanted to mention my odd experience.
In 1988, I discovered that a vintage blue rhinestone brooch was missing from my jewelry box. It was given to me by my grandmother not long before she passed away, so it was very dear to me. I rarely wore the piece and I remembered seeing it in the box many times. I looked all over for the brooch, every room in the house. I called my sister and asked if she had borrow it, but she knew nothing about it. We checked all the antique and pawn shops in the small Virginia town where I live, but nothing turned up. I was devastated because this was the only heirloom from my grandmother.
Several years later, my grandson was about to graduate from college. My daughter and her family lived in San Diego, CA. where he had attended San Diego State University. My husband and I traveled to southern California for the graduation and planned to stay for a few weeks. This was my first trip to San Diego, so I took advantage of the opportunity to sight-see.
One afternoon, my daughter and I were at a shopping mall browsing the stores and whatnot. While we were leaving the mall, I noticed a small strip of stores located at the far side of the parking lot. For some unknown reason, I was attracted to the stores. I asked my daughter about the stores and she mentioned that there was a very nice second-hand shop near the back. So we decided to take a look.
We walked into the shop, which was quaint and somewhat bizarre. There was a young woman behind the counter who offered assistance, but we said that we were just browsing. There were so many unusual items for sale, especially vintage jewelry. I was struck by the number of items in the showcases. I wondered if there were any brooches for sale that matched my grandmother's.
I described the brooch to the young woman at the counter. She was very pleasant and had a beautiful smile, though her eyes were very wide and engaging - almost like she could burn a hole through you with her eyes. She was also wearing an eccentric outfit. It reminded me of a stereotypical eastern European gypsy, with a head scarf, a shawl and lots of beads & jewelry. She thought for a moment, then started to walk towards a cabinet behind the far counter. She pulled out a brooch and handed it to me. I was amazed - this was identical to my mother's brooch. I looked at the back of the piece and gasped - there it was, a 'FWT' scratched into the metal. My grandmother's initials. This was the lost brooch. But how did it get to this small shop almost 3000 miles away from my home?
The young woman told me that it was recently sold to her, along with other items, by a dealer from Los Angeles. I really don't think she believed that this was the same brooch - in fact, my daughter didn't believe it either. I asked about the price. She smiled, placed it in a small box with cotton and told me to enjoy it because it was mine anyway. I bought a few other items, thanked her and left the shop. To this day, I am convinced that this was my grandmother's brooch.
I said 'was' because, once again, the brooch is lost. Almost exactly the same scenario as before. It simply vanished from my jewelry box and I have been searching for it for 5 years.
I wonder if I should call the young woman at the shop? What do you think? Caroline S.
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