Thursday, January 12, 2006

get lost and found

I recently undertook what I’m sure will prove to be a long and difficult project, but will ultimately make servicing our 98-year-old home a less challenging task. When we bought the house, a ton of construction debris was observed in the crawlspace including bricks, lumber, shingles, various types of pipe and lord only knows what else. It was recommended that someone should remove this stuff from under the house. As it turns out, I’ve already managed to put off this task for over a year.

So far I have removed ten 5-gallon buckets of sediment and three 5-gallon buckets of bricks and lumber fragments. Boy, is it ever a dirty job! Unlike an archaeological excavation conducted outdoors, it is proving nearly impossible to avoid getting dust everywhere in the house.

I have uncovered a couple of interesting artifacts already. The first is a plastic Hot Wheels “watch-style” game that features a picture of a school bus on the face. It has two BBs inside that you try to maneuver into two tiny holes. The game is mesmerizing. I briefly attempted to find out more information about the toy on the Internet, but my Google efforts came up empty.

Another interesting artifact is a weight/fortune ticket from one of those old penny scales at F.W. Woolworth that was in operation at 317-319 Central Avenue SW from 1915 to the 1980s (?). The ticket was produced by the International Ticket Scale Corporation in New York (Pat. No. 1610893). Unfortunately, there is no date on the ticket itself, but it is clear that it belonged to a small person as they weighed in at 112 pounds. I would hazard a guess that a penny for a fortune would be an expenditure too frivolous for Lettie Watson-Mize, so possibly the ticket represents the disposable income of her daughter, Henrietta.

I’m also left wondering how many Albuquerqueans weighed themselves following a meal at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, then tucked their fortune behind the infamous Hilda Schrader Whitcher sample Social Security card in their new E.H. Ferree wallet. (You can bet I will let you know if I locate one of those!)

Although the Internet has failed to yield much useful diagnostic information, my searches have unearthed a few clues. One interesting tidbit is an image of a 1927 model International Ticket Scale Corporation Scale Height and Weight Meter on exhibit at Dallas Museum of Art. Neat, huh?

I also discovered an interesting website for the International Arcade Museum. They don’t have much info on their International Ticket Scale page, so I think I will submit this image of my found ticket in hopes that it will result in future information sharing from some knowledgeable old-timer.

The fortune reads, “You are very shrewd in business and are thoroughly capable of managing any large enterprise.” Having pondered this discovery, I have decided to consider it an omen indicating that I will be successful in my quest to clean up the crawlspace, and excavate trenches that will allow better access to the plumbing and electrical elements. Best-case scenario, I discover an old tobacco tin containing a 1909 American Tobacco Company T-206 Honus Wagner baseball card.

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