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  • Writer's pictureHeather Tanguay

Aug 7 (2): Deja Vu (More Dropped Stuff)

Entering the Lincoln Home Historical Site (National Parks), I notice several 3 x 5 index cards on the sidewalk near a dark green National Parks trashcan. Something is familiar about them. I pick one up.

Crabbed cursive. In pencil. On the left, names: Stoneway Campground. Hi Vee Grocery. USPO stamps. On the right, amounts: $35.00. $26.31. $.93. In the 1970's, my grandfather wrote lists on index cards when we went to the shops near his home. I remember he placed the cards and the pencil carefully in the breast pocket of his short-sleeved button down shirt. For a moment, I am unhinged in time. Did these flutter out of his pocket into today?

No. Only in fiction...

Part of a historical reenactment, handed out to tourists, dropped by someone just short of the trash?

The writing is real pencil, not a photocopy. The words and amounts seem too modern for a reenactment.

I pick up the other cards. I will throw them away. Or I can leave them in a stack on the edge of the trashcan. Instead, I take them. I am not sure why. There are a lot of people milling about the three city blocks that make up the historic site. Most likely, someone threw them out but missed the can.

I read informational signs along the blocks, working my way toward Lincoln's house. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a man walking by me. He is older and wearing a short sleeved button down shirt. I hold out the cards. "Did you lose these?" I ask.

"I did," he says. "Where did you find them?"

"Over there," I gesture vaguely. "I thought you might want them."

"It was a long time ago," he says.

A shiver runs up my back.

"At least an hour," he says.

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