Life experiences on lost pages
April 5, 2005
John and Cynthia Marks are huge fans of the weekend garage sale scene taking place all over the Carson Valley in the summertime. Bargain hunting at garage sales became a real spare time pleasure of theirs.
As is the case with most garage sale buyers, purchases are made on the spur of the moment and often, the purchases brought home, give a pause to wonder just why they were bought in the first place.
Such was the case of a grab bag box of “stuff” the Marks’ had purchased shortly after their return to the Carson Valley in 2001, when they moved back to the Valley after several years in Florida. “It must have been something John bought,” Cynthia recalled “as I wouldn’t have done something like that. The grab bag box was brought home with some of the other purchases, placed in the garage where it was soon buried under other things and forgotten about.”
Recently, the Marks’ were cleaning out their garage and they unearthed the “grab bag” box in the process. Rummaging through the forgotten box and the mysterious contents, they found a binder. It was full of poems and writings, some so deep and personal they seemed to come from the very soul of the writer.
They brought the book in the house and started to read some of the pages in the binder.
“At first, I was just curious about what was in the binder,” she said. “But after reading a few pages, I realized I was stepping into someone’s life and I felt like an intruder. The feelings ran so deep, I cried as I was reading some of the pages and I didn’t feel like I should read any more of it.”
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The poems were all written between 1987 and 2001. They were signed by Shirley Holland Zarzoza and some were just signed Shirley Holland. She talked about her father with love but made no mention of a mother. At one point in her life she must have been homeless with a small son.
She wrote about the birth of her son, about considering herself overweight and not worth being loved, about an unfaithful husband and the pain of ending relationships. The pages were filled with dreams and dashed hopes. The eloquence and the feelings were very intense.
“It didn’t take me very many pages of reading to realize this was probably something that was never intended to be lost,” Cynthia said. “It was almost more personal than a diary somehow, and I decided I needed to find the owner and return the binder to her. I went in search of the owner. I looked in the phone book for her name or any variation of it. I came up with nothing. I didn’t know where else to turn so I thought maybe the newspaper could help.”
Marks added, “Maybe someone in the valley knew her or knows her son whom she speaks so lovingly about. This book and what she wrote should be back in their hands. All I want to do is see that it is returned to them.”
The “grab-bag” box was purchased at a garage sale sometime in 2001. It was bought somewhere in the Carson City/Carson Valley area but the Marks’ have no recollection as to where they could have bought it. Cynthia had one recollection of one time when they were at a sale and she overheard a conversation between a man and a perspective customer. She remembers hearing him say, “‘Oh, this is some of my ex-wife’s things. I told her to get all of it out of here and these are some things she left. I just want them gone.'”
This is just one little clue to the mystery but Cynthia could not recall if the box came from that location.
Information found in the binder leaves little evidence as to her whereabouts. One piece of paper was a sweepstakes solicitation declaring her a first round prize winner in the $5,000 “Instant Cash Sweepstakes” from the United Cancer Council and for a donation of just $5 she could qualify for the second round.
The address was listed: Shirley Holland, 2443 Merced Ave. El Monte, CA 91733. There was another address reference linked to Clovis, Calif., that appeared in several places in the binder.
There was a “Father of the Century Award” she was constructing and on the notes, she mentioned her father’s name was David Wayne Holland. It was dated May 10, 1987. At best guess, she was around 35 years old then.
If any of this information jogs a memory, please call the Record-Courier 782-5121 ext. 217 and ask for Jonni Hill. We would just like to see the book returned to its rightful owner.