There it was, on the front page. The big news of the day, "Lost Items Collected In Lost And Found." I actually had to read it several times to make sure, but there it was, "Lost Items Collected In Lost And Found." It was hard to believe.
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I was visiting my parents and happened to pick up the local newspaper off the kitchen table. Apparently, someone in Hatfield was collecting lost items and putting them in a lost and found. Hatfield is the small town where my parents live and as my father likes to say, "Everything's up to date in Hatfield!"
This had to be a joke. Like one of those articles found in The Onion, or National Lampoon. But no, upon further investigation, it was a real news story.
Michael Rocco, a staff writer for the North Penn Reporter, wrote in the article that A.M. Kulp Elementary School had not one, but two, lost and found locations. He went on to quote Gemma Geigert (I swear I'm not making this up), the principal of the school as saying, "For some reason, kids go home without their coats. These are expensive coats, but no one comes in and says, 'My child came home without a coat.'"
Apparently, there was also a large shoebox for smaller items, "like fake hair, pens, books and change purses. Announcements for a lost set of keys are made twice a day, but still five sets of keys sit in the shoebox."
Lost keys? How about the fake hair? How do you just gloss over fake hair? How can you just group it together with pens, change purses and keys like this is something you expect to find in a lost and found? Who is wearing and then misplacing fake hair in an elementary school? I don't know about you, but I believe this to be a disturbing trend, all on its own.
Ms. Geigert went on to say that the items collected did not include those things left on the school bus. "The bus driver, either on the afternoon trip or the trip the next morning, will display a lost item to the students." Of course, no mention of whether or not this is a successful tactic. Remember these are kids who went home without their coats.
But Michael Rocco didn't stop there. Lunch aide Maria Bujak was described in the article as "the Indiana Jones of the school, collecting lost items from the playground and cafeteria."
"They leave things outside and we'll bring them in and ask the kids," Ms. Bujak is quoted as saying. Bringing lost items in and asking the kids if they belong to them. Indeed. Obviously, she is a hell of an investigator.
"We have something every day, usually." she added.
Every day, usually?
Even more astounding, according to the article, was that AM Kulp Elementary School wasn't the only educational institution in the area dealing with this phenomenon. Mr. Rocco did a little further investigating and found that Bridle Path Elementary also had an active lost and found.
According to Rocco, "First-grader Hanna Rovito said she has yet to lose an item of clothing, but lost one of her earrings shaped like a bat. 'At the end of the day, I told my mom that I was playing a game and it just fell off,' Hannah said. 'I never found it.'"
Which is a lovely piece of information, really, but has little to do with the lost and found, or the collection of said items at either school. According to this account, little Hanna, had yet to lose an article of clothing, but had succeeded in not finding that which she had lost.
Hanna's mother, Sue, told Rocco that Bridle Path "is good because it keeps its lost and found by the front doors so if a parent notices their child is coming home with one shoe, they can look for it right there."
One shoe? Is this really a problem, kids coming home with one shoe? I remember leaving a lot of things at school when I was a kid, but I don't ever remember coming home missing a shoe.
To be fair, "Lost Items Collected In Lost And Found" was on the bottom half of the front page. It got beat out by the lead article, which read, "Free Parking Working For Local Businesses." I must admit, I didn't read the article to find out just how well the free parking was working, but then you can only handle so much news in a single day.