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COLUMN: Look to the heavens: You never know when or where you’ll find the missing piece

Valley Journal-Advertiser and Annapolis Valley Register reporter Kirk Starratt.
Valley Journal-Advertiser and Annapolis Valley Register reporter Kirk Starratt. - Ashley Thompson

Childhood birthday wish fulfilled after 36 years

I don’t often share experiences of such a personal nature, but I thought this was rather amazing.

I thought that, like me, others might find this somewhat inspirational…especially those who would remember my family members who have passed away, my dad (Art), my mom (Mary), and my big brother (Mark).

When I was turning six years old back in 1983, all I wanted for my birthday was a telescope. My Dad and Mom bought one for me through Sears in Windsor. God bless them, they couldn’t figure out how to put it together or how to get it to work, most of the instructions came in foreign languages.

Thinking that it might need adjusting, they sent it back to Sears. Sears said they couldn’t make any adjustments to the merchandise without the paperwork documenting the sale – which I guess my parents didn’t have or couldn’t find. So, Sears sent it back to them.

My dad felt bad about it, so he gave me $100 to buy back the malfunctioning telescope. I took the money and bought a Walkman and a ‘Rock ‘83’ cassette instead. I didn’t think about the telescope again until 2017.

After my brother was killed in a house fire in 2015, I inherited the old family property. It had been abandoned for many years. After salvaging everything I could, I discovered the old telescope still in its box. The box was pretty much rotten after all the years and exposure to the moisture.

At first, remembering that it allegedly didn’t work, I wasn’t going to bother taking the old thing out of there. However, something told me to bring it home.

After almost 36 years, the telescope is set up for the first time.
After almost 36 years, the telescope is set up for the first time.

I took the telescope (which was still in pieces) and the box and left it in my garage until the rotten cardboard box had time to dry out. That was two years ago. I sort of forgot about it again after that.

Recently, not feeling well, I laid down for a nap. I awoke to a dream of my brother and I looking through the telescope. Not being able to shake the image, I went and dusted off the old box.

Using what was left of the bug-eaten scraps of paper that were once instructions written in French, I managed to piece the telescope together.

The only problem was that one integral wing nut was missing. A little disappointed, I packed it all back up and swept up the dust I had left behind on the floor.

Later, when I by chance looked down at the floor where earlier I had been working, there was a shiny, new wing nut just sitting there: the exact size I needed for the telescope - even though I know I swept that floor. Don’t ask me where it came from.

The other night, at 41 years of age, for the first time, I had the pleasure of looking through the telescope I wanted for my sixth birthday.

It would seem that we should never resign ourselves to defeat. You never know where or when the answer may turn up. If there’s something from the past nagging at you, don’t ever stop looking for that missing piece, that missing wing nut.

I’ve learned that, sometimes, it takes a while for birthday wishes to get granted: sometimes, it takes 36 years.

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