My specialty is things lost and not found

April 7, 2024

Now that April Fools’ Day has come and gone, I know when I feel the most foolish is when I've misplaced something, and it usually ends up being lost. I spend many hours traipsing through the length of my house (and it's a long one), looking for the object, and sometimes it's more than one thing that has gone AWOL.

Right now, there are three or four items, some from more than a year ago, that have cut loose and are maybe orbiting in outer space. Some are even alien earrings – they must have returned to their mother planet.

Many thanks to my dear readers who read about that event in a previous article and replenished my supply of alien jewelry. One gave me a whole bagful, even alien socks, and another sent me a beautiful pair of alien earrings that arrived on an Amazon Prime truck, to my delight!

I lost one alien earring in a doctor's office during an X-ray event when I had to pull off my turtleneck sweater in a hurry. After returning home, I realized that it had flown off into the world of radiology. I returned to the office and asked the receptionist if it might be in her lost-and-found stash. Even as her heavily tattooed hand sporting long, manicured, ceramic fingernails featuring stars and moons rested on the beautiful lapis lazuli-colored granite counter, she looked at me as though I were from another planet. When I asked if I could prowl through the examining rooms after hours before the cleaning crew got there, the answer was a firm no. No sympathy there, even though she had many piercings herself.

X-rays are hard enough to endure, and the technician was off-putting, answering in monosyllables as she slid her device over the cold jelly she had applied on me like some sort of alien ointment. No repartee, even though I had complimented her on her leopard-pattern Dansko professional clogs!

I know that my mother takes some of my things, like she sometimes did in real life. I can even smell her perfume as she struts by wearing Elixir Clinique. I had given her that particular fragrance because she only knew Avon. My treasures were never safe from her. Once, as a child, I buried a small silver jewelry chest full of my prized preteen possessions in the backyard of our Dewey Beach cottage to keep them safe from her. It was even lined in red velvet. I enclosed a note: "If you find this treasure, you'll know that Pam Bounds was here!"

I would have been better off to put the treasures and the note in a bottle and thrown it off the marina at the end of Rodney Street, because my parents sold the house, or should I say traded it, to a contractor who I'm sure dug up the whole backyard when he tore the cottage down to build another beige cookie-cutter three-story.

I'm still looking for an ornate chandelier earring I lost a year ago. I know it never left this house, since I never got to wear it. It was from the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti collection. Recently, I was reaching into the valley between the sofa cushions and found, not my earring, but a totally banal clip-on pearl earring like my mother would have wanted me to wear instead. This is a true story! I know she did it!

Then there was the huge fish pendant made of mother-of-pearl (no pun intended), my souvenir from Taxco, Mexico. It was as large as a real koi fish on a chain. It disappeared too, although I could have simply left it in the Thai restaurant after I took it off because it kept falling in my hot and sour soup when I leaned over to fetch a shrimp from its spicy broth.

I called that business too, and they hadn't found my necklace. Of course, there was the language barrier thing, but it might have swum back to Thailand with the fish sauce. Today, I lost a mini perfume vial from my handbag. It was a flacon of my favorite Chloe Nomade scent. I know it must have jumped into the saddlebag of a tribe of Bedouins on camelback. Maybe it accompanied my Egyptian earring.

I was lucky this time, though, because I backtracked to the floor of my car, and there my fingers found it. My father taught me deductive reasoning, like the detective shows I watch. It had slid out of my handbag. I felt like the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann when he found Helen of Troy's golden necklace on a dig in Turkey – but that was later lost to the Russians in World War II.

It's funny how when you lose an object, it seems to grow bigger and more beautiful in your mind (not getting any larger and more easy to find, unfortunately). It becomes more exotic and treasured. Once, I lost an orange silk scarf in a movie theater, a really ripe place to lose things. Of course, I returned to the box office, to no avail. The scarf probably blew off my neck in the March wind, right in time for April Fools’ Day!

  • Pam Bounds is a well-known artist living in Milton who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine art. She will be sharing humorous and thoughtful observations about life in Sussex County and beyond.

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