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1. Lost and Found > 1.4. Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost

Have you ever been to Lost and Found ? It’s a shadowy place we discover only through loss. It’s filled with hats, mittens, watches, toys, and rings of gold and silver. And it smells of hope and fear and musty books. A child’s first visit is a powerful experience. A valued possession has been lost. Perhaps in the classroom or on the playground. A frantic search leads to tearful resignation. Finders, keepers; losers, weepers.

But wait. A classmate steps forward. Have you tried the Lost and Found? Understanding is instant. A place for lost things. That makes sense. A short walk to an office with a cardboard box under a table. There it is. That’s mine. A happy ending.

Of course, sometimes finders are keepers. Sometimes things get lost between the cracks. It depends what you lose and where and when. The idea of Lost and Found is universal. It’s a social institution that transcends place and time. But the instantiation is another matter. A cardboard box in your local school. A steel cage in a foreign airport. The idea adapts to suit its environment. Each instance is defined by location.


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