The month of October is moving along and I have another strange personal story to share with you.
In June, my husband and I decided we were going to relocate from Florida to Indiana. We had lived in our home for 18 years so we had a lot of stuff. Summer in Florida is not the time to have a garage sale. We decided we would just pack everything up and squeeze it into Pods. We called it playing Big Jenga.
I helped our oldest pack up their home as they had also sold and was going to relocate. I had gotten the inside of our homes boxed fairly quickly but I really dreaded the garage. In Florida, basements are rare because the water table is so close to the surface. Many subdivisions do not permit sheds so the garage becomes the catch all place for everything that has no other room to go.
Ours was packed as our youngest had moved home at the start of the pandemic so their household items were also out there.
If that wasn’t bad enough, we had been getting a lot of rain so the mosquitos were in full force. It was a hot, dirty, itchy job. And then there was the attic!
We had two small attic accesses that contained items that we couldn’t part with but didn’t know what to do with, like my grandmother’s old wooden ironing board, a folding student desk with an inkwell we once acquired at an auction, our kids’ old treasures, and something I had totally forgot we had – my dad’s wooden toolbox.
Actually, the toolbox was my grandfathers and my dad had it passed to him. He had given it to me years ago and asked me to pass it on to any son’s I might have. At the time, I didn’t have any. So, it had been forgotten in the attic.
My husband was in the attic and I was on the ladder, grabbing the items he was handing d0wn. I lost my grip on the toolbox and it fell to the floor. Thankfully, it didn’t shatter but it did come apart slightly where the old glue had given way. I opened the box to see if the contents were ruined. What I found made me gasp.
My husband, still in the attic, asked me what was wrong. I was speechless, which is rare for me. My husband asked me if I was alright. I said yes, with tears in my eyes. He came down the ladder to find out what was going on.
I was holding a brittle yellow newspaper that had been stuffed in the toolbox. I don’t recall ever seeing it before. The headline was meaningless to me and the paper was dated 1933. I knew where my father was living that year, in Lake County, Indiana, where he was attending high school. The newspaper, however, was from Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana. It was the area where we were relocating to.
Although it was insufferably hot in that garage I got the cold shivers on my neck. I knew my paternal grandfather relocated to Ft. Wayne in the mid-1960s but he certainly wasn’t there in 1933.
I have yet to learn who in the Leininger family was in Ft. Wayne at that time or why that particular page was placed in the toolbox.
What I do know is if I hadn’t been a klutz and dropped it, I might not have ever found that newspaper.
I have no idea what the universe was trying to tell me but I felt that my ancestors were sending me a message that our relocation was the right decision. Times were tough during the 1930s and our move was not a fun experience for any of us. What we were going through, however, paled in comparison to the experiences my ancestors lived through during the Great Depression.
And weirdly enough, the newspaper is now back in the area where it once originated.