Share the Greatest Discovery You've Made After Moving

show-and-tell

#1

Moving is one of the most potentially stressful things a person can do in their life, but it’s also a great opportunity for discovery. Moving not only forces you to become intimately familiar with a new place, but it can also help you uncover things you’ve forgotten in and about the place you’re leaving.

Whether it’s something as personal as finding a wedding ring that you thought you’d lost forever while packing up your stuff, or as incredible as finding a hidden door or a false wall in your new house, we want to hear about the greatest discovery you’ve ever made while moving.

Tell us about the greatest discovery you’ve made during a move in the comments below, and even better, share a picture of your find! We’ll collect some of our favorite responses into an article on Atlas Obscura. Let’s take the dread out of moving and replace it with a little curiosity.


(Image: mermyhh/Public Domain)


#2

I lived in Austin, Texas for a little while. The house right next to mine wasn’t lived in, but while walking through the neighborhood, I realized that the property had some sort of shrine on it. It ended up being this crucifix in a mosaic grotto. It was so unexpected and so beautiful. I’m not religious, but I loved having it right next door.


#3

Whoa! Yeah, that’s a cool find!


#4

When I moved into my first home its yard had been neglected for a number of years and the English Ivy had taken over. The first project I decided to tackle was uncovering the brick walk in the backyard that led to the bird bath, and as I was peeling back the ivy the “walk” got bigger and bigger until I uncovered a whole brick patio. Been my favorite place to hang out since, still needs a little work but it was definitely a pleasant find.


#5

Early '1980’s my sister and her hubby bought their first house in Raleigh NC. The house was more than 100 years old.
Being good new homeowners, and as instructed by all the first time buyer’s classes, they required the seller to prove the fireplace worked or provide a credit to make it working. Usually this is great advice to any home-buyer, make the seller fix it first. Sigh.
At closing, the seller demonstrated a great (pun intended) working fireplace, and, the seller said, “Thank you. You were right, the fireplace wouldn’t work because the flue was clogged. Clogged with a huge amount of Confederate Money.” The seller was smiling the smile of someone who had just found and converted a treasure trove to substantial cash.


#6

In 1990 I bought a crumbling old building in Helena, Montana to use as my art studio. It had been built 100 years previously by the Catholic order, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, as a “Home for Wayward Women”. After the nuns sold it in 1905 to move to bigger digs, the building served as a furniture warehouse and neighborhood eyesore until I bought it.

During renovations I was dismantling a wall when I ran my crowbar through a cardboard patch and realized there was something intriguing hidden behind it. What I then carefully extracted from the mess was this gorgeous portrait of what I’m sure was one of the early residents of the home. Were it not for the rip of my crowbar, the photo would be pristine. What’s so remarkable is her shining smile, a real rarity for the time! “ Wayward ”? Perhaps, but not unhappy!

Ever since, “our foundress” has presided over my gorgeous historic gallery at Tim Holmes Studio.


#7

Helping my parents move from my childhood home (This was over 15 years ago and it is still a fresh memory, childhood home, you get it.), we discovered an old steamer trunk in the attic that no one remembered owning. We opened it up and inside there was a large plastic bag with a note taped to it that read “For Alice io and Molly Callisto, from your Great Aunt.” (My and my sister’s names)

We opened the bag and inside were two huge, beautiful, hand made quilts! One was a tumbling block pattern and the other the log cabin design, which is the one I chose.

My parents had no recollection of receiving the quilts, or even an idea of which Great Aunt might have written that note. I thought how cool it was to own a bit of family history and craftmanship even if details were missing.

Last March I took the quilt to an event for National Quilting Day hosted by the Southern Highland Craft Guild where member Connie Brown was providing appraisals and tips on repair and preservation for family heirloom quilts. I placed the quilt on her table and told her I thought my Great Aunt had made it. She responded, “Not unless you are over an 100 years old.”

Turns out my quilt was made in 1870-1880! My Great Aunt was passing along a true family heirloom. I wish I knew more about who made it and where, but at least now know what a true treasure I have and how to make the repairs necessary to ensure it is around to hand off to my niece.

Photo attached shows Connie Brown looking at my quilt.


#8

The kitchen in our first home had a drop ceiling with a large fluorescent light fixture. On closing day, I left the lawyer’s office and went straight to the house, took down the light, and tore out the drop ceiling to reveal the wooden beams that ran throughout the rest of the house. “What this kitchen needs,” I thought to myself, “are a couple of retro pendant lights. I’ll go to [big box home improvement store] and see if I can find a couple later.”

After cleaning up my demo mess, I went out to the storage room off the carport to leave my tools, and there, on the work bench in the back, were two pendant lights matching exactly what was in my head. All they needed was a good cleaning and a fresh coat of spray enamel to brighten them up.


#9

When my wife and I were married, we moved into a de-sanctified Native American church rented from the Skagit Tribe, whose Chief I knew from the local pool league.
There was a commercial kitchen in the basement. We slept in the former choir loft, in front of a large window(stained glass removed).
On the first full moon with the moonlight shining over the bed,I heard a strange high pitched moaning outside. My wife, more familiar with the local fauna, said it sounded like a weasel out in the grass.
Next full moon, a loud wail,like a women crying,off in the distance. A cougar said my wife.
3rd full moon, I heard what I thought was the weasel downstairs, but I could not locate it.
4th Full moon while my wife slept, I heard a moaning in the loft.
I opened my eyes and saw a girl standing at the foot of the bed. I turned on the light and she disappeared.
We soon found better place to live, and while exploring the backyard for the first time, I discovered an overgrown graveyard. Most headstones were for 70,80,90 year olds, except for one of a 12 YO girl!


#11

Not a personal story I’m afraid but nonetheless one that some of you might find interesting.

I went to this exhibition in the Ashmolean exhibition in Oxford last year to see an exhibition on the history and folklore of Witchcraft in England and there was an artifact that had been found in a chimney or wallspace which was fascinating but also pretty disturbing , a “poppet doll”.

It was found in Edwardian times and if I remember correctly the hypothesis is that a servant lady working and living in an upper class family made this effigy to practice a form of witchcraft, its meant to portray the lady of the house , made from materials belonging to intended victim and has a pin stuck through its head.

She must have really hated her…


#12

When I was in 6th grade at a catholic school for girls, I got into a serious fight with another kid in my class. Each student in my class had a little shelf to store their books and writing materials when they weren’t needed. My shelf was - a habit that unfortunately hasn’t changed until today - terribly untidy, it was full of unneccessary stuff and crumpled paper, and nothing was properly stacked, I usually just threw stuff on top of the messy pile and hoped it wouldn’t collapse.

The head girl of my class, in my objective opinion back then a niggling neurotic named Cosima, took offense at this sight. She kept nagging that I should tidy it up and keep the sloppy mass of school materials in order. I refused. The conflict got more and more tense, until she finally threatened to auction off my stuff. Cosima only got halfway through shouting “Who wants a horse-shaped eraser” towards a group of our classmates when she was interrupted by the splashing sound of ten year old me hitting her in the face as hard as I could.

Since we were attending, as I mentioned, a catholic school for girls, this was (while extremely satisfying for me) quite the scandal. The teacher called my parents, there were several serious conversations about non-violent communication, and as I normally was a happy and friendly kid that didn’t solve conflicts with physical force I soon felt sorry for hurting Cosima (even though it did have the pleasant effect that this persnickety nitwid never bothered me again). I was too proud to apologize, but during lunchtime I did my best to make a nice stack of the wrinkly math and latin excercise sheets on my shelf and put a piece of paper on Cosima’s desk. I had painted the word “Peace?” on it, in big and colourful letters.

A little later everyone got cardboard boxes for their things, so any mess became invisible. Cosima and I never spoke again and pretty much avoided each other for the rest of the year, so I never knew how if she had found the paper and how she reacted.

The following summer my family moved to a different town and I had to change to a new school. I didn’t want to leave my friends and teachers and classmates behind, so I waited with emptying my shelf until the very last moment. When I couldn’t possibly push it any further away and had to take my things from the cardboard box, on it’s very bottom I found the peace offering I had put on Cosima’s desk months ago. She had scribbled a single word into the corner: “Yes.”


#13

Beautifully written Lemony ! I enjoyed reading it

Have you ever tried to look up Cosima online or to contact her since ?


#14

Thanks Monsieur MictIan :slight_smile:
I see her on facebook occasionally through mutual friends from back then. But I never tried contacting her… maybe I should some day to see if she remembers haha


#15

No problem :slight_smile: think it would be a pretty cool idea to contact her and see if she remembers that incident and reminisce about those times ( minus the left hook in the face part haha )


#16

M. Mictlan,
You would have to ask my wife.
It might be a localism.
E.G. Cougar is the US Western name for Mountain Lion.


#17

Asking your wife may be a bit challenging , but you could ask on my behalf , it would be quite interesting to know , in fact I am really curious.

This is going of on a bit of a tangent , but whatever , fun factoid for the obscurians, in order to draw the attention of most members of the weasel / mustelid family around the world simply purse lips and suck in air till making a sort of high pitched screetching sound.

It usually makes them curious as they think its the sound of a distressed rabbit and therefore lunch and come and investigate its worked for me with a lot of different species grisons , weasel , stoat , tayra , badgers.


#18

My husband and I bought our first home in 2009 in Round Rock, TX. About 2 months after we moved in, I went out to get the mail and as I headed back to the front door, I noticed that 2 of the front windows of the house had white curtains. I thought, that’s weird, I didn’t think we had any white curtains in the house. Well, after some investigation, I realized the two windows, complete with glass, screens and curtains, were backed by drywall! One is in front of a bedroom closet, and the other is in front of a bathroom! They can’t be accessed from the inside of the house. I just wish I knew what on earth happened there! So weird.


#19

When I was looking for a new home, I found a house built in 1935, where the original owners had tried to insulate the foundation sill by using folded newspapers. One of my first jobs after moving in was to remove all those newspapers, and the first one I pulled out … was from my birthday!


#20

In 1976, I joined the Army and was stationed at Ft. Dix, New Jersey. Dad – an old Navy man – had always taught us that wherever you go, there’s going to be something interesting, and I tried to keep this in mind as I grit my teeth and moved my snooty California self to (OMG! gag!) New Jersey. Once there, I found a tiny bookstore in Mount Holly that focused on local history and information. I bought a fascinating book that was a compilation of newspaper columns from the 1930s written by a man who had made it his business to seek out lost and forgotten places in his state, and I decided to see how many of them I could find. I ended up finding quite a few of them, as well as other interesting spots that weren’t in the book, and writing a weekly column for the Ft. Dix “newspaper” called “New Jersey Weekend.” I knew there were plenty of soldiers stationed there who, just like me, had been plopped down in New Jersey with no concept of how amazing it was – if you knew where to look. Brigantine Castle is no more, and I think I read that my beloved White Russian enclave Rova Farms is gone, but I think you can still visit the Smithville of the Bicycle Railway and the Colonial-style Smithville as well, and I read something recently about one of my favorite places, Batsto, the home of bog iron. I was very happy to hear that it’s still in operation.


#21

M. Mictlan,
A Pedant is a man who, when told that his wife has been eaten by an alligator, replies,“There are no alligators here. It must have been a crocodile.”