In the weeks before demolition, former teachers and students stopped by the school to say their final goodbyes. Some took pictures. Others just looked and remembered. But one group did more. Our town's Historic Preservation Advisory Board not only remembered that the kindergarten class contained a grand and beautifully tiled fireplace, they took steps to preserve it. And, in the process of dismantling the fireplace tile by tile, they discovered some small tiles, long-forgotten and covered with thick paint.
Now free of paint, the re-discovered tiles each depict a different animal, colorfully rendered in thick hand-glazed strokes. Shortly after their discovery, I saw those tiles first-hand on display in a modest little case at our public library. And to my delight, in addition to celebrating the story of their preservation, the exhibit included reproduction tiles available for purchase! I purchased several which now hang in my kitchen.
And now, almost two years later, the entire hearth is now re-assembled and permanently on display in our town's community center.
Like that old school, our lives, too, are full of forgotten treasures. And from a writer's perspective, those tiles are a good reminder that the best ideas often require digging a little deeper into ourselves, scratching beneath the surface of first impressions to find memories worth exploring and sharing. May this week be full of forgotten treasures - found!