Local Girl Missing for 100 Years

This morning I arrived at the studio determined to stay on task and finish several commissions I have been working on. Needless to say, I got sidetracked by a large pile of metal.

My landlord has been replacing the 100-year-old windows in our warehouse with brand new ones…a wonderful idea before winter. Since I love to collect piles of useless old rusty scrap metal (mostly for use in my artwork), I asked him to set aside the old window frames for me.

Well, this morning I was taking out some recycling and noticed one of the frames laying all by itself out on the loading dock, so I decided to take a closer look at it. It was what you might expect: a huge, heavy metal window frame, complete with heavy chicken-wired windows. However, there are several layers of peeling green and red paint, which I love, so I decided to drag this particular frame into my studio.

As I was trying to lift it, a huge chunk of concrete slid out of one of the corners of the frame and smashed the hell out of my foot. Apparently, 100 years ago, the installation of the window frames required that the installer fill the hollow metal frames with concrete. I was about to drop the frame and go back into my space for a large hammer to show the window who was boss, when I noticed a small chunk of trash stuffed into the hollow area behind the concrete.

As I dug it out I could see that it was actually a wad of newspaper that had been stuffed into the frame, presumably to fill the empty space before the remainder was filled with concrete. As I dug further, I was able to find several handfuls of these wadded up newspapers. It wasn’t until I took them into my space that I noticed how old they were.

So now that I was fully and completely off task, I thought it would be in my creative interest to open the papers and inspect them fully. Unfortunately, the first wad of paper crumbled to dust in my fingers. Now, I’ve heard people say this before and have always thought “is that really possible” and so I will tell you that it is definitely possible. With the help of some glue, however, I was able to piece together two scraps of paper, and was able to make out a small amount of the writing, as well as a great image. I’m going to keep searching the interior of these frames. If I find any bones, I’ll report back immediately.

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