A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Lost and Found–What Have You Lost and Where Was It Found, Or Was It?

Posted by lindamartinandersen on October 8, 2014

“Lost and Found–What Have You Lost and Where Was It Found, Or Was It?” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074

“A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart. 

Lost and Found

At Schools:  Have you ever checked for a missing item in the Lost and Found collection?  Be prepared to find a closet stuffed with anything from bats (baseball) to hats, shirts to coats,  a single earring to sunglasses.   Some schools donate remaining items to local charities at the end of each year.  Usually before doing so, items are placed on display.  Most of the time, names haven’t been written on inside tags and few pieces are ever claimed.  Are kids too embarrassed to pick from the collection or don’t they recognize their own things?  Wonder how a kid would respond to that?  To me? To another friend?  Different responses, I’d say.

At Motels and Cottages:  Have you ever stayed in a motel or cottage during a vacation and left something behind?  What was it?  Did you get it back?  Did the shipping cost you more than it was worth?

At a gymnasium:  My husband recently had a double lung transplant (for real) and he attended pulmonary rehabilitation while in Durham, NC.  I chuckled at the basket of lost things displayed on a counter there.  Items not claimed were donated at the end of each month.  This was a gym for adults.  Probably some of the adults with lost items at the gym were guilty of having scolded a child long ago for the same offense. This shows we all lose things.  And as you will see in the next  two sections, I’m guilty too.

At a Furnished Apartment:  My husband and I stayed at a furnished apartment for seven months while he was in the Lung Transplant Program at Duke Hospital.   The household furnishings were somewhat limited; so, I supplemented with favorite housewares from home.  Someone asked me shortly after we moved in, “How will you remember what’s yours?”  Surely, I’d remember, I thought.  But after a while, my memory did get somewhat dull.  Many of the housewares seemed like mine.  Mine for there or mine for home?  Mine for temporary or mine for permanent?

Long Story Short: When it was time to pack up to move back home from our temporary apartment stay, I was missing three items:  a fork, a pillowcase, and a dish towel.  Was I sure the inventory was complete when I moved in?  Not really.  When people help you move, you don’t call out, “Stop!  Let me check the inventory before you start putting our things away.”  Now it’s possible that I accidentally put the fork in the trash, but how do you misplace a pillowcase and a dish towel?  Hmmm…What did I do?  I replaced them.  I had brought extra silverware from home since the apartment only furnished a place setting for four. Thank goodness I didn’t mind leaving one of my forks behind.  I bought a matching dish towel to replace the one I couldn’t find.  I also left behind one of my own white pillowcases as a substitute.

Story Starter Idea:  A missing fork, a pillowcase, and a dish towel.  Could you write a detective story with this story starter? An adventure story?  A fantasy?  Could you write a story about a lost item at school or of finding an item?  What about a story of a recent find?  For example, I found a sock that had been missing for a while, one I had probably blamed the dryer for eating.  The sock was in the lining of my lightweight jacket, stuffed near the cuff.  I laughed at the silliness of it all.  Have you ever forgotten to take an item out of a pocket and washed it by mistake?  I set a rule in our house when our sons were small: any money left in pockets was mine if I found it in the laundry.  I never found much!

I hope you’ll share a lost and found story that comes to mind for you.

If you’d like some activity ideas for celebrating October, check these posts from earlier years:



Please share  ways you will celebrate October.  To learn about other special days this month, visit http://www.brownielocks.com/october.html

Thanks for visiting.  Come back soon and bring a friend. 

Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment. Read more about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA) See: http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

21 Responses to “Lost and Found–What Have You Lost and Where Was It Found, Or Was It?”

  1. Susan Hornbach said

    i did leave an electric razor in a Holiday Inn once Linda. It was in a pouch and in the pouch were two car keys. When I realized I had left it there, I called and they still had it saved for me. I was so grateful. Kind of a boring story, but having to replace electronic keys for the car would have been a pain.

  2. Joan Y. Edwards said

    Dear Linda,
    Thanks for posting about lost and found items. It’s interesting to see the items in the lost and found area at church: Sunglasses, keys, pens, notebooks, prayer books, etc. I left two pillows at a motel once. When I called, they couldn’t find them. Unfortunately, they were gone forever.
    Another time when I visited my girlfriend, Joan Hyatt, in Asheville, I left my hanging bag in my room. I discovered the error when I got back home. I called Joan, she retrieved my clothes for me and met me halfway. We ate lunch together and made it a fun gathering.
    Good luck with all your writing endeavors.
    Love, Joan

    • Hi Joan,
      Sorry to hear that the pillows you left behind were gone forever . Thank goodness a good friend came to your rescue when the left items were your clothes. Meeting halfway and turning it into an outing was a fun way to handle it. Thanks for sharing both of these. Good luck with all your writing too. Thanks for always being there for me and for my writing. I’m a lucky lady.

  3. Kathleen said

    Well my lost story involves a beagle, named Fred we had when first married. My mom was baby sitting and she hadn’t seen him in a while. She knew sometimes he had a habit of breaking free and began to panic that maybe she left him outside and he skedaddled. She started to call his name outside and inside the house. Nothing. She sat down on the couch and noticed that the blanked next to her moved! Fred was under there the whole time and never reacted to his name being called!

  4. Kathy, that’s what I call a “dog-gone good nap.” I couldn’t resist. I’m glad that Fred,the dog, wasn’t really lost. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. Always a delight to hear from you.

  5. ah, I’m forever losing things! But never thought of making a story out of it…Interesting idea though!

  6. Carol,
    You’re so totally honest. I like that about you and so many other things. Maybe one of your future characters can be someone who loses things a lot.

  7. Hi Linda,
    Your posts always stimulate great ideas. First, I am so happy that hubby is home. Second, I left my EXPENSIVE pillow behind in a hotel room and didn’t realize it until that night when it was time to sleep. I punched the pillow and it didn’t sink down the way it was supposed to. That’s when I realized I had the hotel’s CHEAP pillow. Now when I go to a hotel, I put my pillow in a colored pillowcase instead of a white one. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I hope you have a terrific Thanksgiving. I’m hosting a family party of 20. Yikes! Should be great though. 🙂

    • Tracy, what a nice compliment to say that my posts stimulate great ideas. I am glad you found a trick to keep from getting pillows mixed up ever again. I’ve done that too.

      Thanks for being happy for my husband and me about being back home. There’s certainly no place like home.

      How generous of you to offer to host 20 guests for Thanksgiving. I know you’ll enjoy getting to entertain in your new home.

      Thanks for commenting. Always a joy to hear from you.

  8. 40 years ago I lost my heart to one man and his four children. They still have it. Nice post Linda. Love, Sarah

  9. happyinhim said

    Well, many years ago I lost an inexpensive “birthstone” ring in a sand-dune at Warren Dunes State Park and spent hours combing the dune trying to find it. In 2006, I lost my diamond from my engagement ring at my son’s swim meet at the local high school. Looked everywhere but it did not turn up. I only got a tiny replacement one, but am glad to still be married (30 years) this past August.
    Nice post Linda.
    Megan V.

    • Megan,
      Sorry to hear of your losses of special rings and precious stones while out having fun. You have a good attitude about it all. I’m very glad you and your husband are still happily married after all these years. Congratulations on reaching the Big 30. My husband and I celebrate 40 this year. We both have much to celebrate. I hope you’ll check out Sarah’s comment too. I think you’ll enjoy it too.

  10. Other than “losing my temper” on occasion (I always find that one!)…and “losing my way” at all the wrong junctures (thank God for GPS!)…and the fearful moment of “losing my mind” (after all – I am a senior citizen now!)…

    I have lost kittens
    and my favorite mittens.
    And sometimes my keys
    but never my knees.
    I always lose time,
    But never lose rhyme!

    (Did you guess that poetry is NOT my thing!)

    Great post, Linda! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Ann,
      My husband and I were in the mountains for a few days with no internet connection; so I was lost too. We get so dependent on technology. I enjoyed your rhyming fun. Much more fun than unpacking too. I’m glad you enjoyed making your list of lost items rhyme. I certainly enjoyed reading it. When a knee goes out on you, is that considered losing your use of your knee? 😉 I’ve had that happen and believe me I wasn’t winking or smiling. Come again soon. I love your sense of humor.

  11. This post reminds me of the lone shoes I photograph. Luckily, I’ve never lost a sole, but there have been lots of others items of mine that have disappeared. I left a pair of headphones at the hotel during the SCBWI conference in New York last year. The cleaning staff found them. The hotel mailed them back to me, on my nickel, of course. I am grateful because I’m a nervous flyer and need them to drown out all the strange noises on planes. 🙂
    Great post! Lots of stories to be written from this prompt.

    • Jennifer,
      What a pleasure to have you visit and comment. I’ve looked at your photographs of lone shoes on your website. I look forward to your children’s book based on the topic. Thanks for sharing an experience you had that centered around a lost item. I’m glad you got the headphones back that you left at the SCBWI Conference in NY last year. Thank you for saying that this post provided a good writing prompt.

  12. Vonnie said

    I lost my 20th anniversary diamond cluster ring after only having it for a few weeks. Three weeks later, a co-worker found it in the parking lot near the playground and returned it to me!!!

    • Vonnie,
      What a story! What a terrific co-worker. And it happened near the playground. How about that? Perfect for here. Vonnie, I’m so glad you shared this. I hope you’ll come again soon! It was great to have you here.

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