Office Demo and a Cache of Lost Items from Behind the Fireplace Mantel

Liz and I both got out of work early today, as it was the day before Thanksgiving. Around 3PM, I had changed into my comfy clothes and was about to head downstairs to get a glass of wine and do a little coding. On looking up, I saw Liz had suited up, and had a dusk mask dangling from her fingers.

With our recently updated schedule, we had demo work slated for the day. But the last time I had heard anything was yesterday, when Liz said (jokingly) that she didn’t feel like doing house work. I took this to mean we had the day off, and wasn’t really in the mindset to work.

It took me a while to get my head around house work. I had shifted into the holiday weekend, and the distance from where I was to doing actual (dirty, dusty) demo work was a significant distance. Liz was really adamant about me not working (since I was obviously not ready to), but I couldn’t not work while she was working. So I suited up.

Liz focused on doing demo in the office closet.

I tackled the office wall (on the north side), continuing the work we did in the guest room.

I left the lath alone, and tackled just the plaster. There’s more messiness with clearing the lath (as in the upper part, it’s the only thing holding back the dirty insulation from the attic). So the lath removal always feels to me like a second step, after all the plaster’s gone.

The fireplace in the office had a really loose mantel. As Liz was working outside the closet, she thought it would be good to just move this out of the way (since it was a few inches off the wall, anyhow).

The fireplace, exposed.

A lot of dirt and debris, which had collected over the years. Along with a few items that had fallen back here.

Amazingly, there was a ton of stuff that had slid down, along the side as well.

In particular – this amazing wedding photo! Which we think is a photo of the prior owners of our home.

On finding all this stuff, Liz and I moved everything over to the table.

We found a lot!

Found items.

A few index cards and letters.

More found items, ranging from the last few decades.

A lot of coins and pencils.

Super 8 Agfachrome. Film price includes factory processing.

I was disappointed to see that it was unused/unopened.

Found photo.

Stony. 1974. Age 5.

Lino-Cuts: Hand cut original block prints by Lois.

Physics POWER. Anyone know what this formula is?

An old Sears tag.

An old Marshall Field receipt.

The other side of the Marshall Field receipt – look at those phone numbers!

Two matches. On seeing these, I immediately thought of Billy Collins’ poem “The Country”.

Liz opened up the picture frame of the couple, to see if there was more information on the back.

Wedding Day, Cleveland, September 10, 1950.

Looks like Liz and I got married exactly two days and 59 years after this photograph was taken.

In addition to the photo, this placeholder image was also kept in the frame (behind the actual photograph). Looks to be Clark Gable and Lana Turner from Somewhere I’ll Find You.

And the actual photo of the happy couple.

Stub for a ticket – circa 1999.

The seal of Illinois. To try to date this, I had to look up when Paul Powell was in office. Looks to be from 1965 – 1970. And boy, did he sure have an interesting hotel room.

An all-purpose absence slip. The top says “Not excused for softball game before hand.” View a high-res version of this image.

An old envelope, from 1975.

Some days and notes, the context of which is lost to time.

Handwritten notes, in impossibly small script – looks to be the names of book titles? View a high-res version of this image.

Opaque materials. View a high-res version of this image.

An old toy.

It’s nice to see that we are continuing the tradition of this house having someone who sews.

Lighter fuel, and misc items.

Old school spam. As effective today, as it was back then. View a high-res version of this image.

A 1953 spanish peseta, discovered among the coins.

Peseta back.

This looks to be an audio reel. Unsure if there’s anything on it, or how one might even try to listen to it.

This was truly an unexpected discovery, at the end of our demo work day. What a fun time, collecting all these fragments and trying to hear what they had to tell us.

The Ghosts of Things
Ron Slattery’s Amazing Collection of Found Photographs
Found Note in the Chimney
Removing the Basement Headers
Premier of LaPorte, Indiana Documentary in… LaPorte, Indiana

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. I had no idea so many interesting things can fall behind a mantel!
    The wedding photo of the couple is quite lovely. :-)
    Concerning the physics formula: it basically says, that power is work per time. F*s is the work (in the physics meaning, see here, where F is the force and s is the distance. Since it is a dot product of two vectors (see here, you can rewrite it using the cos(theta), where theta is the angle between the force vector and the direction of the movement. Divide it by the time t and you’ll get work per time.

    M. Reply

    • Thanks for the translation, M!

      avoision Reply

    • I just looked it up to! Totally going to keep this pin. :D

      Liz Reply

      • :-) I would have kept it too. Very motivating and fun little pin in a nerdy way. ;-)

        M. Reply

  2. It’s like this house was made for you, Felix!

    Juliet Reply

    • It was a pretty awesome collection of “found” items. To add to the fun, our neighbor Betsy saw our photos on Instagram, and ended up coming over to see a lot of the finds in person.

      We’ve found a lot of older items, one at a time, in different places around the house. But this was definitely a big collection of stuff, all at once!

      avoision Reply

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