Haysville Public Library volunteer helps reunite woman with long-lost photos

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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HAYSVILLE, Kan. -- As a mother of four children, Haysville's Holly Easterby is constantly taking pictures.

"It's to have the memories because they go by so quickly," Easterby said.

On her camera's little SD card, which is about the size of a quarter, Easterby had snapped 597 photos. She had captured special moments like her son's Frankenstein costume on Halloween, the family at Christmas in front of the tree, and her daughter's big smiles at her Chuck-E-Cheese birthday.

It's not hard to imagine the pain Easterby felt in January 2012 when she lost that card on the way to the drugstore to print out the pictures.

She says the card must have fallen out of the pocket where she had stuck it in her wallet.

"I was heartbroken. I thought I would never see those images again, that they were long gone," Easterby said. "They were just memories in the wind."

Years went by. The painful memory of losing the card flashed before her every time she snapped a picture with her camera.

"I thought about it every single time," Easterby said.

Little did show know that at some point during that two years somebody had found the card at the library.

The card wound up in a pile on the desk of the library's IT technician. A couple of months ago, he passed it along to library volunteer and board member, Marion Renner. He thought it might have belonged to her. Renner took it home to check it out.

"I put it in the card slot and pulled it up on the computer and thought, 'Oh my goodness! Those beautiful children and special holidays. It has to belong to somebody, somebody who'd like it back, I'm sure!'" Renner said.

Renner looked through the pictures, hoping to see a familiar face. But a familiar face never appeared.

Determined to find the owner, Renner got right to work creating a poster to put up at the library. She pulled five family photos from the card and created a collage. On top of the poster she wrote that the photos were on a camera card that had been found.

She placed the poster on the library's front desk.

"I said, 'Somebody has got to know who this is!'" Renner said.

Somebody did.

The poster sat on the front desk for about six weeks before one of Holly's family friends noticed the pictures of her and her kids. He sent a Facebook message to Holly.

"I kind of laughed and said, 'I wonder if it's that card from three years ago?' And he said, 'It could be!'" Easterby said.

She drove to the library to find out.

"I saw the pictures and I just gasped!" Easterby said. "I was so excited!"

Marion Renner was equally elated when the library's director told her the SD card owner had been found.

"I was just tickled to death!" Renner said.

All the memories Holly had tried so hard to hold onto by taking pictures with her camera were now more tangible than ever. The card was back in her hands.

"I'm extremely grateful. It's just really a blessing," Easterby said. "No one ever thinks that something thing that they lost, especially after three years is going to be returned to them and I'm extremely grateful for it."

She had a chance to express her gratitude face-to-face Thursday at the library when she met Marion for the first time.

"I just wanted to say how grateful I am and how thoughtful of a woman you are," Holly said to Marion.

"I'm just so happy to do that for you," Marion said to Holly, both women beaming. "I'm just so glad that the card is back with its owner. That's where it should be."

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