What did I have that I don’t have?

It’s not really lost till Mom can’t find it.

I don’t remember where I heard or read this, but I think it’s true.

green pin on brown hay

A few weeks ago, a windstorm upended our patio umbrella. Getting the base re-positioned required a special little tool that came with the umbrella when we bought it. Eleven years ago.

Did I find it? Yes, I did! (In a cardboard box I’d labeled “Umbrella Parts.”)

A couple of days later, I tested my finding skills again, this time to locate an old Madison (Wisconsin) Symphony Orchestra program that contained an anecdote I wanted to share.

Did I find it? Yes, I did! (The program was from the 2003-2004 season.)

But there are so many things I’ve looked for and haven’t found. Here’s one: I’ve carried on a decades-long search for a library picture book my daughter and I enjoyed reading together in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. I want to buy a copy, but neither of us can remember the author or title, only that the main character was a demanding little girl who wanted her parents to cut her toast in the shape of a hat.

“I want mine in the shape of a hat” has remained in our family lexicon to acknowledge a ridiculously fussy request. It’s our version of Mae West’s “Peel me a grape.” I’d love to find that book again.

People expect me to be able to find things, probably because I’m a librarian and a fairly organized person. I expect to be able to find things, too. That’s why I’ve indexed all my sheet music—a closet full—by title. As said, I’m a librarian.

Despite my best organizational efforts, I, like everyone else, spend way too much time looking for things like my cell phone and my car keys. I have solved the misplaced reading glasses problem though: I wear a contact lens in one eye for close vision. I put it in in the morning and I’m set for the day.

Sometimes my search for a lost item turns up a consolation prize: something good that I’d forgotten I even owned. I’m a minimalist, but I still seem to have a lot of stuff.

Oh, and that anecdote I wanted to share?

It’s from violinist Karen Bottge. When asked for her funniest concert experience, she reported this:

I was conducting South Pacific and told the pit musicians that they could bring snacks as long as they didn’t make any crackling or crunching noise. During an extended on-stage dialogue, I turned to the violin section only to find them warming marshmallows under their stand lights and eating s’mores.

It was worth the search.

Paulette Bochnig Sharkey


This entry was posted in Reminiscences, Volunteering. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What did I have that I don’t have?

  1. Jessa says:

    Lol, that’s funny! Wish we could find that book!!

Anything you'd like to add?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.