In the lost and found of life, Holly Hubbard Preston learned that what you find isn’t necessarily what you were looking for.
I drove to Fourth Street in Berkeley more for peace of mind than any real sense I’d find the pair of necklaces gone missing two days before. I’d expected the visit to take 20 minutes—enough time to satisfy the nagging sense there was still one, maybe two stones, to be turned.
After scanning the parking lot, I walked from store to store, speaking with merchants. I’d describe the necklaces—one of which was an heirloom—that I’d tossed in a pocket during a medical exam and forgotten about. It had been a hectic day and I hadn’t been at my best.
I visited seven stores and two restaurants. From one to the other I went, expecting to encounter harried staff with no time for my lost necklaces or me. In every instance, a masked face with a pair of kindly eyes greeted me—not just with patience but concern, too. Condolences were offered. Safes were checked. Staff members were texted and emailed. Introductions to property managers were offered and made.
McKenzie, the assistant manager for Hay who walked me to the office of the property’s maintenance man, shared stories of her own lost jewelry along the way. “I get it,” she said. “Pieces like that—the ones you wear everyday—they’re a part of you.” McKenzie wasn’t the only one who opened up about things lost. Others did, too—Leila, Wendy and Vernon, to name a few.
I don’t know if it’s because of the pandemic—how we’ve all been cooped up alone for two years—but the connections I made on Fourth Street restored something for me.
With every new encounter, I felt my heart lift just a little. Though fairly certain the necklaces were gone for good, I’d found something unexpected on my return visit to Fourth Street.
Kindness. Link upon link of it, as precious as anything I have ever worn.
With a Perspective, I’m Holly Hubbard Preston.
Holly Hubbard Preston is a North Bay writer.