I am not sure why, but I am fascinated with the Lost and Found column in the newspaper. Although I have never placed an ad myself, or even brokered a “find”, I read it daily. Usually it contains the typical lost pet or keys, but this was last Sunday’s column:
> Lost garage door opener near tennis courts
> Lost $74 check for jewelry at farmer’s market
> Lost brown tabby tiger-striped cat named Baxter
> Lost Pet Chicken, brown and black with crest
> Found a land line cordless phone in Flora Park
Reading the lost and found is a fix for my imagination. I find myself making up stories — why did someone have a land line in the park or a garage door opener by the courts? Will the lady who purchased the jewelry at the market contact the vendor and write another check? Will the chicken come home to roost?
The classified ads in general are a great stimulus for your creative muscle. While you’re sipping your morning coffee, try to imagine the stories behind the ads. What does that house really look like and why are the owners moving? Why does someone have a bridal gown for sale? What use does someone have for the pallets he wants to buy? What stories could the 1973 MGB convertible tell if it could talk?
The classifieds used to be the only way to communicate wants and needs with others who could fill them. Long before Craig’s List, eBay or other swapping sites, this was the community marketplace. Now they can be a window into your neighbor’s trades and treasures — as well as a door to your imagination.