Friday, October 28, 2011

Mystery of the Missing Silver Trays

When I was growing up, I sewed.  I made doll clothes, my clothes, my father’s shirts, and whatever anyone commissioned me to make.  About the time I turned 12, I started entering things I had made in the “homemaking” category at the county fair.
I made some money (not a whole lot at $3 for a first place) and collected a lot of ribbons.  Two years I managed to take the top honors, receiving a silver (plated) tray for each of those years.
When I was cleaning out the house after my father’s death, I found the old trays which were entirely blackened with tarnish.  They were so hopeless looking I decided to donate them to my parents’ church, which often catered wedding receptions.
I’ve thought about those trays every fall when it was time for the county fair and wondered whether they were an important part of my history that deserved to be passed down to future generations.
I finally contacted the church to see if they were still around.  They referred me to an old friend of my mother’s who managed to located both trays in some distant closet.  I offered to make a donation in exchange for their return.
About two weeks ago, my mother’s friend let me know they were ready to go in the mail.  I waited patiently, but no package came.  Finally yesterday I emaled her to request a tracking number.
She checked with UPS and found they had supposedly been delivered 8 days ago, but apparently not to my house.  Or perhaps someone could have taken them off our front stoop.
Upon further inquiry, it turns out she had sent the package to 5616 instead of 5816 Dawes Avenue.  But that was just the beginning of my problems.
My husband, upon learning about the address problem, called me at my piano teacher’s house to say he would go down the street and retrieve the package.  But it turned out there was no 5616 on our street.  So was it 5614 or 5616 Doris or 5616 Colfax?  Or had the UPS delivery person, who is at our house every week, figured out the problem and actually delivered it to our house from which it had been stolen?  Too many possibilities, but no trays to be found anywhere.
I looked on Google maps and found 5616 Dawes, right at about the place that was actually 5614.  I drove by there on my way home, to find a sign on the fence that said “Beware of dog”.  Upon not seeing any monster dog, I let myself in and rang the doorbell.  No one answered the door, but the barks behind it were indeed ferocious.  I still had a feeling that the package could have been delivered there because there was no street number displayed.
I called UPS to see if they could shed any light on the matter.  They were quick to tell me the sender could file a claim and not too sympathetic to the fact that the contents were not replaceable at any price.  They agreed to talk to the delivery person to see if she could remember delivering such a package 8 days ago.  
My next task was to discover the name of the family who lived at 5614.  After many, many calls to neighbors, I came up with a name and a number.
But when I called the number I reached a hotel, which claimed to have a different phone number.  I got the Cox operator involved, who said the lines were crossed and only the 2 parties could resolve that problem.
A few more calls informed me the family no longer had a land line and gave me the woman’s cell number.  When I reached her, she immediately sounded relieved to know to whom the package they had been carrying around in the backseat of their car belonged.
She just called me to say the package is on its way to West Virginia with her husband for the weekend, having remained in the back seat of the car.  By Sunday afternoon, it should be back in town.  She offered to drop it off on my doorstep.  I declined saying I didn’t want to chance another mishap, asking instead for a call so I can go pick it up.
Meanwhile UPS has failed to explain how they could deliver my package to a nonexistent address.
Stay tuned until Sunday, when I hope to give you a photo of my “prize” silver trays!


Anonymous lr said...

Barbara, this may be your most hilarious non-funny post. No matter what - your life is fascinating in a WIDE variety of ways. Thanks for sharing this frustrating story. I look forward to seeing the trays. Congratulations for jobs well done years ago and your track down of an errant package this week!

12:21 AM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Persistance pays off! UPS can sometimes get quite "creative" with their delivery methods. I'm glad you were able to track down that package.

1:26 AM  
Blogger Steve Reed said...

Good grief! What an odyssey! So many things about this story are amazing -- that the church still had the trays and that they could be found and sent to you; that the package was misdelivered; that the house that received it had a malfunctioning phone line; that the package is now on its way to West Virginia. I mean, really. Kudos to you for your persistence and I hope this story works out! (Definitely show us the trays when you get them!)

3:31 AM  
Blogger karen said...

what a story! I seem to remember Kristin having blogged about some crazy UPS situation a few years ago.. so glad this sort of thing happens in the First World, too!

Amazing that the trays were findable after all these years. Obviously you were meant to get them back! Quite the opposite of the anti clutter movement, but I"m glad you found them. really looking forward to that photo!

3:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barbara! Un-friggin'-believable. You had it figured out and followed through no matter what. What a bizarre series of hoops to jump through!! Way to go. I nominate you for a Dogged Determination Award -- want a silver platter? Wait -- you'll have one soon, thanks to you!


1:02 PM  
Blogger e said...

Dear Barbara I think you may have missed your calling...You'd have made a brilliant detective!

1:50 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

What a story! I cannot wait to read that you've got them back in your hands after so much work.

2:33 PM  

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