Beverly Beckham

Things go missing, and show up in places you least expect

Today it’s eyeshadow I can’t find. Clarins. Four shades of gray in a small, gold compact, my go-to-for-the-moment favorite. This eye shadow lives in my makeup bag, with all the other paints and potions I keep falling for.

Except it’s not there now.

I looked for it. I dumped everything out of the bag onto the bathroom countertop, searched the shelf where the bag makes its home, searched the drawers next to the shelf. I even searched the trash. But the eye shadow is nowhere.


“It’ll turn up.” “It’s not lost; it’s just misplaced.” “Pray to St. Anthony and you’ll find it.” These are the things people say when you lose something.

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And sometimes these people are right.

I lost a bracelet a few years ago. It was new. Silver and sea glass. I loved it not just because it was beautiful but because it was a gift from my husband. I’d had it exactly a week when I put it on to go to a show. And I came home from the show without it. I searched my car, called the theater, called the restaurant next to the theater.

No luck.

And I was miserable.


Days went by. A week. Two weeks. And then I found it, inside a shoe on my closet floor. The bracelet had fallen off my wrist, not while I was out somewhere, but at home.

I was lucky that time. Most things that go missing — big, little, random things — simply vaporize. Now you see them. Now you don’t.

My favorite gardening tool, a two-pronged, fork-tipped, hand-held digger that makes weeding almost fun, just up and disappeared. I take care of this tool. If it’s not in my hand, it’s in a red bucket. A few days ago when I went to weed, it was not in the bucket. So where did it go?

Five little baby shoe charms, which I kept in a blue velvet pouch in a bureau drawer. Or maybe in a desk drawer. Or maybe in a jewelry box. Where are they? Where did I put them? I hadn’t thought about them in years until I was at the jeweler getting an earring fixed and saw a similar charm. Hey, where are mine, I wondered. I came home and went on a hunt. I looked through boxes, drawers, closets, shelves, coat pockets, old purses. I looked everywhere. And then I looked again. Why didn’t I keep them in one place? Why don’t I know where they are?

My beach chair. It hung from a hook in the garage all winter. I banged my head on it constantly. But last week when I needed it, when I was actually going to the beach? It was nowhere to be found.


How do you lose a beach chair?

“It’ll turn up.” “It’s not lost; it’s just misplaced.” “Pray to St. Anthony and you’ll find it.” These are the things people say when you lose something.

“Have you seen my glasses?” “I can’t find my keys.” “Do you know where my phone is?” All of us ask these questions. Misplacing things like keys and glasses and library books and coupons that you’ve taken the time to cut out? All this is normal. We lose things. We find them. And then we lose them again.

But how do you lose a First Holy Communion dress that’s been in a hope chest for almost 50 years? Where did it go? The veil’s still there. But the dress? My children never wore it. Or played with it. I didn’t lend it to anyone.

It did a Houdini.

My grandson Adam tells me a story. When he was 7, he lost $48, his entire life savings. He searched everywhere for his money. He searched for months. But it was gone.

“Five years later, in the back of my closet, I found a bag, reached inside, and what do you think I found?”

“My beach chair?”

“No, Mimi,” he says, laughing. “But I found my $48. Most things aren’t lost. They’re just in places you least expect them to be. You just need to be patient.”

And I think, maybe, to be on the safe side, I should pray to St. Anthony, too.

Beverly Beckham’s column appears every two weeks. She can be reached at