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Caleb Monteiro: The Case of the Missing Laundry Key

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Losing your laundry key may seem mundane, but it provided Caleb Monteiro a valuable lesson in responsibility.

My family is not a group of detectives, but we constantly find ourselves in the mystery of the lost laundry key.

It was late in the afternoon. I was running out of clean clothes to wear in my arsenal, so I was desperate. I gathered what seemed to be a mountain of laundry in my detergent. I went for the laundry key. It was gone.

I began to panic. I dropped my basket and started to look around the table, nowhere to be seen. So I started to look in past pockets. Gone. I started to flip cushions, take drawers apart, open cabinets. My house started to look like a crime scene. I looked and look, but the key was nowhere to be seen.

Really, how can a little brass key just disappear like this? It was like it teleported to another dimension. After tearing apart my house bit by bit, I gave up. I took laundry downstairs, praying to God someone was in the laundromat so that I can get in. As I stepped in the doorway, I saw someone’s head move as I knocked and they came to the door. I thanked the heavens for my miracle.


My family repeated this month after month. It seemed to be on constant loop for four straight years. One day I came up from the laundry and found a new key on a hook, above it saying “Remember to put back on.” From then on, laundry was simple. My life became stress-free.

What I learned for this is don’t live with discomfort and take agency over your choices. Instead, just a simple act of putting the key up on a hook helped my family never have to tear the house up again. Who would have thought that the mystery on the laundry key would teach me agency, independence, timelessness and responsibility.

With a Perspective, I’m Caleb Monteiro.

Caleb Monteiro is a senior at Leadership Public Schools Richmond High School. His piece was produced as part of KQED Youth Takeover.

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