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Unknown Fossil


Fossil of?

Here is a fossil, I'm thinking. It was found in a box at an estate sale in Central Florida (USA)--recently. The owners were well traveled, based on scrapbooks and postcards I perused.

The shoe box is old. It's full if shells, sand dollars and sharks' teeth. I'm thinking the fossil is from Florida. Judging by the petrified sharks teeth, the fossil could be just as old. In the range of 400 million years. A blink of a cosmic eye. Could be older.

The previous owners of this oddity visited many of the beaches in Florida and beyond. Some of the postcards I've viewed date back to 1909. It gives me a starting point. Photos, that I may share in the future, are just as old. So this is just a taste of a few lives I am attempting to unravel. A puzzle piece, if you will, to get things started. Still I hesitate to put anyone's relatives on display. Privacy matters for the living.


I've had no success with fossil search sites.

The surface in scarred and pitted. Texture, rough.

The shape? Reminds me of a three-dimensional arrowhead.

The photo below will give you idea of size.

I'm a big guy. I can't wrap my fingers around it.



As you can see, on the bottom, there's a chalky patch. If you rub it, the patch thins.


What is it?

So here's the thing. The fossil--if that's what it is--reminds me of something. I can't place it. Can you?


Now here's the shameful part. I've seen scrapbooks before. Been to estate sales, garage sales, yard sales, flea markets, over-priced antique malls, and museums. But scrap books? I figured they were private. Why on Earth would anyone want to look at other people's memories? Am I a voyeur? Probably.

So I was there. I was in a back closet in an old home on a lake with a nice view. The day was hot but the air conditioner was working. There was a pool, overgrown with vines, out back. There was a boat dock, an old shed. The shed looked empty now. There was a canoe and a trailer with no boat. Two guys were rolling the rusty trailer away when we came up. They looked at it and scratched their heads. Should we, they seemed to think.

There were 1960's cars out front. A Toyota Pickup and a giant beast of a car--a Chevy? There were new and old books, records--albums with rotting cardboard. In the past, I'd collected those. There were wine glasses and wall shelves and old clocks with their guts spilled in there.

The estate people wore T-shirts with their business logo like they do and they bargained. Make an offer, they said. Half-off? Sure. One lady sat at a register, bored.

My wife bought a wall shelf for one-third the price. We are going to use it (upside down I think) to cover cedar wall paneling--where a bad carpenter (me) made a mistake. The shelf is solid wood. A rarity. And upside down, it covers the mistake.

The home of the estate sale was unkempt. The walls needed paint. Ceilings had leaks. Carpet was past old. The furniture? 1960's, I'm guessing. Most of the stuff was gone. The sale started on a Thursday. We were there on a Saturday--the last day. The home was 1960's too. The architecture was low and flat and unassuming. It was just there. Eased onto the five acre plot on the hot lake. Maybe it was neat half a century ago. Now?

So, I was in that closet. Old coats and shirts. Shelves of life's stuff that closets hide. I flipped open a scrapbook...and I shouldn't have. Curiosity is a killer for me. I opened more of them. There were a dozen or so. A good part of someone's life. So, why did they leave the scrapbooks? It galls me to think about it. So I asked about the price.

"How much for one of those scrapbooks?"

The estate lady says, "Five dollars, and they're all yours."

All? I think. "I'll take 'em," I said.

"I have a box," the estate lady says. She looks rushed. Like she's done with this. "But it won't fit them all."

"It's okay," I say. "We'll manage."

My son looks at me. "I dunno," I say. "I just want them."

My wife said that the estate people said, that the family took what they wanted. But why not the scrapbooks? What kind of family would do this? Or were the estate people full of it? I can't be sure. Now, they--their memories--were mine. I felt...weird. Like I had violated something.

More on this later...

As I left the home, I picked up some old postcards. They seemed to match the albums of scrapbooks.

More on this later...but perhaps under a different topic.

For now, the curiosity.

What is the photo of?

© 2020 Jack Shorebird

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