Seniors agog at unearthed mystery object

Few things can set more tongues wagging and warm more ears than a mystery object come to light after a long, secret snooze under your floor.

Auburn’s Senior Activity Center has been lately abuzz with just such a mystery.

The story begins one recent afternoon with director Radine Lozier’s walking over a section of recently installed carpet just outside of her office, and feeling something give underfoot.

Odd, thought Lozier, there was no indentation at that spot under the old carpet.

“It’s just a flush drain or something to flush out the grease trap,” a worker assured her.

“So why is it covered,” Lozier asked?

“Well,” said the man, “the other people covered it up.”

Lozier was not satisfied with that answer and a city worker came out and cut the carpet. When

he pulled up the “cover,” what he and Lozier saw was an eyeball bugger outter — an old cylinder safe dial, embedded in the floor, still attached to a safe.

Seems the more ample backing of that old carpeting had protected a secret for many years.

Well then, what was a safe doing under the floor?

Who put it there?

Nobody knew.

But the big question on everybody’s lips — what’s in it?

“There was a lot of buzz, and the seniors were super excited. The son of Ida Mae Struve who’s 94, sent me an e-mail, and said all she’d been talking about was this hidden safe and suggesting various courses of action,” Lozier said.

Some of the speculation about the possible content: loot; gold bars; an old treasure map; maybe Jimmie Hoffa.

“Personally, I was hoping it was a time capsule with some sort of hidden treasures inside,” Lozier said.

Lozier called a locksmith from Auburn Safe and Lock to come out and have a look. The safe, he told her, vintage 1962, was so corroded that even if anybody knew the combination, he or she wouldn’t be able to open it. Somebody would have to jackhammer it out first.

With a thousand pins sticking her all over, Lozier started her research by looking into the building’s history.

As older Auburnites know, the Senior Activity Center started out life in the mid 1960s as the Auburn Library and remained the library until the late 90s.

So Lozier shot an e-mail to former librarian Mary Stanton, now living in Canada.

Out came a truth much, much less exciting than even the tamest speculation.

“She said she used to keep petty cash in there, and the safe was under her desk. Can you imagine having to get on the floor to get to the safe,” Lozier said.

Lozier then had the depressing task of cooling everybody else’s overheated imaginations.

“I actually haven’t told many people ‘cause I don’t want them to be sad,” Lozier said. “Recently, a council member came and looked at it. Mayor Lewis says he wants to be here when it’s opened. A few people have come in because friends had told them about it. I haven’t shared with them what Mary Stanton told me because it’s so fun to watch them be excited! I was hoping she’d say it was a time capsule, ‘cause if it was, we could get it out of there and make it a time capsule and put something in it,” Lozier said.

“There could be something in there,” a still hopeful Lozier said, “because Mary Stanton was not the last librarian of the old library.”


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