Tales from the Lost and Found

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/14505053/14505041" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

From the lost piece of luggage to the long-missing set of keys, what's the most bizarre thing you've lost and then found?

Dan Brucker, spokesman for the Metro-North Railroad, reveals what gets left behind on New York City's trains. Also, Davy Rothbart, creator of FOUND magazine, shares stories of stray belongings.

Davy Rothbart, creator and editor of FOUND Magazine

Dan Brucker, spokesman for the Metro-North Railroad, which operates New York City's Grand Central Terminal

'FOUND' Takes Interest in the Ordinary

Magazine Celebrates Discarded Ephemera of Life

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/1311376/1313280" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

Cover of the first edition of FOUND magazine Courtesy Davy Rothbart and Jason Bitner/FOUND magazine hide caption

FOUNDmagazine.com
itoggle caption Courtesy Davy Rothbart and Jason Bitner/FOUND magazine
Hi Pig, Love Brandon

Found by All Things Considered staffers. Written on the inside, in a child's hand: "Hi Pig. Today is Monday. It's rainy day. Love Brandon." hide caption

itoggle caption

Davy Rothbart is the creator of FOUND magazine, an occasionally-published journal filled with found notes, photos and audio sent in from all over the nation. The magazine prints these found submissions using grainy, black-and-white photocopies seemingly taped together on the page.

The found objects could be love letters, reminders, journal entries, even scrawled threats like this one: "Paul and Olivia, Our doorbell is NOT a toy, stop ringing it or I'll have to call your parents."

Rothbart says that catching these drifting pieces of ephemera isn't about hunting for them. "It's just having an awareness of bits of paper floating around," he tells NPR's Melissa Block. "One in five is usually pretty wonderful.

"The key, I think, is to not tune out things you normally would," he says. "Don't pick up any trash, but things that look promising. Stop for a second, and give a look."

Rothbart is aided by an enthusiastic band of "finders" who share his passion. They scour and scavenge and send him their best finds. Block joined two FOUND "finders" recently — Eldad Malamuth and A.J. Wilhelm — in search of FOUND-worthy ephemera in the Washington, D.C. area.

There's a lot of dirty disappointment in the hunt — chicken bones, a gas receipt, used Kleenex. But occasionally finders are rewarded with something with meaning or mystery. On this day, it's a card cut in the shape of Babe the pig, with a nametag that says "Brandon." Inside is a special note, scrawled in a child's hand: "Hi Pig. Today is Monday. It's rainy day. Love Brandon."

Rothbart figures he gets about 10 FOUND submissions in his mailbox every day — 10 chances for something that might make it into the latest issue of FOUND magazine, which comes out this fall.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.