The other day, I was outside trying to clean up the yard a bit, when something caught my eye. There was a squared-off stone poking out of the lawn, near the foundation of the house - curiosity got the better of me, so I stepped away and came back with my trusty shovel (these words can never lead to anything good...curiosity killed the cat, and all...). I pried it up out of it's snug little hole for closer examination. "Neat", I thought to myself - must be a piece of the old foundation (as mentioned previously, the original house was destroyed by fire). I was about to put it back down, when I noticed something white glisten in it's newfound patch of sunlight. I picked it up - and this is where my treasure hunt began. In my hand was the tiny head of a ceramic/porcelain figurine. Now this really caught my attention - I had to see if the rest of him was still in there! On my hands and knees I started to sift through the soil. I didn't find the rest of this little man, but I did find more "goodies". The hole kept getting bigger...and bigger...and bigger still. I tried to contain my curiosity, I really did - but each time I pulled out something else, I was intrigued as to what was hidden under the next handful of dirt! I really didn't come up with anything much - and to most of you it might seem boring. But to *me* - lets just say I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to things of the past. Amidst charred bricks, I found this little collection.
* A piece of burned "something-or-other". Pretty sure it's not wood, it's too hard. I know that glass and other materials can turn molten and harden when burned - maybe this is what happened?
* An old nail. You can tell it's old by the shape or it - squared edges, like a giant horseshoe nail. It was badly covered in rust/corrosion, but after soaking it in vinegar I was able to crumble it away.
* The head of a little figurine - glossy white ceramic or porcelain, not quite sure. It has a bit of blue detailing/paint on what would be his shoulder.
* A shard of white ceramic, broken to resemble a little bird. I felt like I was "freeing" this little bird from the cold, dark ground - once again able to see the light of day after countless years of being buried.
* A piece of pink ceramic/pottery, with a floral pattern on it - looks like rose leaves, possibly. This piece is pretty interesting - the ceramic itself is pink, not just the glaze. I've never seen this before. I can't help but wonder what it used to be...was it a vase? A plate? A piece of someone's good china - a wedding gift maybe? Who used to own it - did they love pretty pink things as much as I do?
I've always been curious about who has been here before me - and my little excavation made me even moreso. It's obvious that the remains of what was once someone's home were pushed aside for a fresh start; I feel a bit of giddy satisfaction in knowing that these little trinkets - no matter how small or insignificant - will remind me of what/who was here. It makes me sad to know that this was once someone's home - they lived here, probably raised a family here similar to what I'm doing now - and no one knows/cares who they were. No one remembers them, they are merely a speck in time. What will happen when *I'm* gone? I don't want to be forgotten. For this reason, I feel like I owe the previous life of this house and its families the respect of my curiosity. I've returned the bricks and stones to their resting place, and replaced the sod - if my husband came home to see such a hole in the lawn, someone may be finding me buried in there with the bricks 50 years from now...But I'm planning a trip to my local Land Registry office. If nothing else, I at least want to know the names of the homeowners over the years, along with the age of the house and any other tidbits of information I can find! I'm also "Googling" the pink pottery and little figurine, to see if I can find out what they may have looked like. My search has just begun - are you curious, too?