With a stressful day ahead including trips to the doctor and dentist, I don a jaunty blue and green necklace to lift my spirits. It’s a gift from my friend Elizabeth, whom I’ve known since we started secondary school 52 years ago this month. Its bright colours match most of my clothes, and it rests comfortably on my collarbone – my favourite length for a necklace.
Arriving home after completing all my errands, I’m pleased with myself, until I put my hand to my throat. My necklace has vanished.
I tell myself to keep calm. I have form on losing necklaces only to find them again.
Once at a student disco, the DJ stopped the music, turned up the house lights, and directed everyone to search the floor. Then I realised the necklace hadn’t gone missing. It had just come undone and slipped down inside my top. To my acute embarrassment the DJ announced, “Ok, you can stop looking now. She’s found her necklace. It was round her neck.”
It’s not as if this is my only necklace.
I have a drawerful, unlike my paternal grandmother who alternated between two, or my maternal grandmother who always wore a simple gold chain. But although most of my jewellery is cheap and cheerful, you can’t put a price on a necklace chosen for you by a loved one, and I feel bereaved.
With a deadline looming for a magazine article, there’s no time to retrace my steps. I’ll be burning the midnight oil in any case.
I turn on my computer, pausing only for a quick prayer to St Anthony, the patron saint of lost things.
I don’t usually converse with saints, but having mentioned him, tongue-in-cheek, in my latest novel, it would be churlish to overlook him.
Next day I make an unplanned return trip to my GP’s practice. While queuing at the pharmacy window, I ask my daughter to check lost property at reception. When she reappears, missing necklace in hand, I shriek with joy. From the waiting room, patients regard me with astonishment. Perhaps they think I’ve just been given a miracle cure. But I’m simply a shepherdess rejoicing at finding her lost lamb.
So, with the new school year starting, when your child or grandchild comes home without gym shoes/pencil case/blazer, you know what to do. Just tell St Anthony I sent you. I’d like to keep in with him if I can.
PS When looking up images to add to this post, I discovered The Noun Project (www.thenounproject.com), which is “building a global visual language that unites us” – and all their images are royalty free. I love their image for “lost and found”, pictured as the featured image at the top of this post. I may be a wordsmith, but I love the idea of a universal language of pictures!
Further Reading on the Theme of Lost and Found
The seventh Sophie Sayers mystery, Murder Lost and Found, kicks off with a startling find in a school lost property cupboard.
The fourth Gemma Lamb mystery, Artful Antics at St Bride’s, includes a scene in which the youngest class seek the help of St Anthony.
This post first appeared in the September edition of the Tetbury Advertiser