The most common item in Penn's Lost and Founds is the scarf. Between the Houston Hall and Bookstore lost–and–founds, there are dozens of them. They look sad and raggedy. Thick wool scarves twist with threadbare mildewy scarves: If there are too many scarves in a pile, they tangle together like a lonely, wool tumbleweed and have to be pulled apart. They've been logged in computerized catalogues and then locked away for safekeeping. There they'll sit, a scruffy mound in a black cabinet. In addition to scarves, there are a lot of single gloves. And hats. At the end of the month, they will all be donated to a local Salvation Army.
Penn’s main Lost and Found is in Houston Hall. You have to ask for it at the front desk, and they open it with a key. This protectiveness gives the Lost and Found an air of importance. Even though the items in the Lost and Found were once forgotten and left behind by their owners, they are now guarded like something precious. The Penn Bookstore's Lost and Found has much less fanfare: It's in a plastic milk crate behind the counter.
A plastic bag full of unopened saltine boxes is in the Houston Lost and Found: There are probably six boxes in total. This raises questions about at least one student’s diet/life choices/if Fro Gro is having some sort of bulk sale on saltines. (Ed. note: turns out they are.) Or it could be proof that the saltine challenge is making a comeback ,sans Vine.
There’s evidence—a Louis Vuitton wallet with a Bucknell keychain, a rubber–faced doll, a small plastic headband that would only fit a child’s head—that people other than Penn students share this space. There are also unmistakably Penn items: a PennCard, keys to the Quad on a lanyard, a leather pencil case.
There are glasses and a glasses case, unrelated to each other but both lost. It's possible two people on campus can't see: one because they don't have their glasses, and the other because their lenses got scratched up.
We are Penn students; of course, we don’t like to lose. It isn’t much—everything fits in a narrow shelf, and none of it is very valuable. But inside this locker is evidence of what we let go, what we've forgotten.