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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, April 20

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Emerson Dameron / November 26, 2006 8:58 PM

I don't accumulate much except memories. However, of the women I've dated, most have been of the sort that collects discarded furniture and "found art." So I've dragged a few loveseats out of a few alleys.

I once found two $20 bills on the sidewalk, both of which were quickly spent on alcohol.

dave / November 27, 2006 8:18 AM

I found an unusual knife on the side of the road when I was 13 or so. I still have it in a drawer at my parents' house, and every once in a while I wonder if it was used as a murder weapon.

sparky / November 27, 2006 9:26 AM

a small, narrow painting of what looks like a hong kong street scene. it was in the melting snow in front of the burger king that used to stand just north of thorek hospital at broadway and irving park. i still wonder how it got there.

Pete / November 27, 2006 9:28 AM

A guitar pick embossed with the name and logo of the Old Town School of Folk Music. I used to keep the pick on a little ledge in the front hallway of our old condo in Lincoln Park, as some sort of weird greeting to myself every time I came home, but it was lost when we moved. I wish I still had it.

Mindy / November 27, 2006 9:33 AM

i used to live on lasalle, just south of division, and one day my roommate came home with $340 cash that she had found right on the sidewalk in front of our building. what luck, hey?

adam / November 27, 2006 9:50 AM

A C-note, back in college. Nice and clean, too.

With inflation, that might come close Mindy's roommate's find (this was 1984).

Oh, and one of those gumball machines that they used for Tom Servo's head on MST3K, sitting on top of a dumpster. I did eventually get rid of it, but it was fun for a while.

Annie / November 27, 2006 10:10 AM

Mannequin parts. I had a leg & 2 torsos, with heads. No arms, no hair. I painted the nipples on with nail polish & had them in my window for a while. I called them the Dirty Dummies.

jaymce / November 27, 2006 10:40 AM

quarter bag

Josh / November 27, 2006 10:42 AM

When you're a teenage musician and you find a thrown-away guitar (on more than one occasion), you feel very blessed; but you wonder at the same time what's wrong with some other people.

leah / November 27, 2006 10:45 AM

an unbroken (probably pigeon) egg. I put it in an outdoor plant of my sister's. she totally noticed right away and was stoked.

also once in nyc I found forty bones in the middle of a crosswalk. That was sweet.

Alison / November 27, 2006 10:48 AM

When I was a kid, I found a rare old coin that actually turned out to be worth some money. I wonder where my dad put that...

mike / November 27, 2006 10:52 AM

I found a 1901 nickel on the ground near a construction site when I was a kid. Being a kid, I decided to carry it everywhere I went. I managed to lose it shortly thereafter.

printdude / November 27, 2006 10:58 AM

lots and lots of trouble.

And my (at the time, future) wife while I smoking in front of the ol' workplace. She told me I was turnin' into my old man and ran away before I could even put my ciggy out.
Found her again two years later, but held on that time, i did.

Elizabeth / November 27, 2006 11:32 AM

I found a ceramics kiln in the trash, once.

J / November 27, 2006 11:42 AM

I don't know if it qualifies as "found" as I did not touch it, but I "found" a used condom on the street once. Come to think of it, it was not so much interesting as it was memorable (I mean, GROSS). Of course, it begged the question of what scenario would lead to a used condom lying on the street.

Allan / November 27, 2006 12:29 PM

I am a notorious garbage picker so I am constantly finding things but two of the most interesting beyond the aesthetics of various objects would be a series of unopened letters from a soldier during WWII to his estranged girlfriend. Some of the letters even contained single dollar bills Silver certificate at that. As I found these when I was a kid I spent the money on slurpees. The other was found a few years ago here in the city. I found (and still posses) a series of photographs spanning several generations of a Jewish families history. Although I am fascinated by these. They also make me quite sad. As I have no idea who these people are and all these photographs just ended up in the trash. There are sepia tone photos of kids dressed as cowboys posed on real ponies, couples in front of old cars, and what appears to be the family patriarch in a U.S. Airforce uniform. The later ones show weddings, birthdays barmitzvahs etc.. You can see this couple age through the photos. Makes me wonder what happened to them and if anybody even cares.

jt / November 27, 2006 1:31 PM

J--just once? I must see a couple used condoms a week on the street, and I live in a "nice" neighborhood.

Last week while out running I found a full set of house keys with a Michigan State key ring on the ground. I wasn't sure what to do with them so I just put them on the nearest porch.

jgs / November 27, 2006 2:19 PM

Alleys count as streets right? So,
in the past 24 hours:
a lot of card games and a k'nex set that I can build nice robots out of.
in the past month:
a working nu-mark dual deck variable speed CD player with all the input output cables and necessary controllers.
in the past 2 months:
a live, but sick, pekin duck. took it home and restored it to health.
in the past 6 months:
tie: perfectly good SCM typerwriter (with fresh ribbon!) or a bright yellow "campangna" japanese built tiny little steel lugged roadbike

I could just keep going, so i;ll leave it there.

mike / November 27, 2006 2:22 PM

A spent shotgun shell, Magnolia and Elmdale.

spence / November 27, 2006 2:33 PM

I found a skinned pigeon that had it's "capi detated" lying on a sidewalk (not street) near my apartment. I'm not sure if it was the product of another animal or a sociopath.

p / November 27, 2006 2:48 PM

if anyone finds a phone please let me know. it is grey and has a chicago flag sticker on the back. if i don't hear anything from you all in, like, 45min. i'll stop off at verizon on my way to g 'n r this evening.

also: you were a barista with a great smile and a hello kitty backpack and power suit w/ shoulder pads and smoldering "have a great day". i was too shy to say hello. i was in the green Hummer in the tan suit. Happy Feet this week?

if this is the wrong forum for my purposes please disregard. if it's the right place i'm also looking for someone to come over dressed as a teacher and rub jello on me and make love with NSA then leave (No dic pics plz).

Serious about the phone.

taj / November 27, 2006 3:03 PM

well most of my living room friends are amazed at my luck
great rocking chair, cool antique-like side table, shelves, solid wood frame sofa (i repaired it)...
i don't look it just happens...
also misc. pieces of wood, labels. found art...and pennies..

Bill V / November 27, 2006 3:05 PM

A $100 bill all folded up as small as it would go. I wasn't sure that it was real at first, but it was.

C-Note / November 27, 2006 3:18 PM

Couple of rocks in a bag, found while riding on Western. Figured it was cracks, figured you only live once... got tore up. Roommate said I said some crazy shit.

fluffy / November 27, 2006 3:21 PM

a cool table, a lamp, stuff like that. I once found a couple of bills laying around and I quickly stepped on them, so they woulnd't fly away. I felt kind of weird picking up this money because it would have obviously just fallen out of someone's pocket. When I looked closely, it was fake! I felt like maybe someone was secretly taping me and laughing their ass off. I threw the "money" on the ground, hoping someone else was next in this humiliating scheme.

I found a really cool drawing made by a little girl. I still have it. I think it's one of the powerpuff girls.

I once found a wallet in the downtown warehouse district in Dallas. I took the $ and bought some snacks and filled my gas tank with the gas card. My friend felt so guilty, she called the person's house....turns out the wallet belonged to a mentally delayed (what is the P.C. way to say retarded?) person. Although we returned the wallet to its owner, to this day I feel so guilty.

sky / November 27, 2006 3:30 PM

This year I moved into an awesome apartment. After the stress of trying to get it and finally knowing I would live there, I took a victory lap from the leasing agency to the apartment to look at it with admiration. Directly outside the front porch was a gigantic veiny black dildo. Rather than take it as a bad sign, I giggle and saw it as good things to come....still waiting on that.

In college, my guy friends always played(?) "Poo Dollar". Basically they'd put some shit on some money or fake money and watch from a distance as people would pick it up. Hence, I'm always a bit skeptical to pick up random money. You never know when you'll encounter the poo dollar.

EEE / November 27, 2006 3:47 PM

This is sort of the opposite of found:

A couple months ago a "planted" a pink egg in my dad's front yard underneath his plasic flamingos.

He's accused half his friends of perpetrating this joke, with no idea that it was me!

kleinstadt / November 27, 2006 3:56 PM

Every winter I tend to find a lot of good patio/lawn furniture in the street, particularly when it snows.

Allan / November 27, 2006 4:07 PM

kleinstadt, you stupid s.o.b. people put that "patio/lawn" furniture in front of their houses in the winter to save the parking spaces they spent hours shoveling out and salting. What pumpkin truck did you just fall off of! Go back to Deerfeild or where ever you came from. I cant believe you thought people were throwing that stuff out. What a dummy.

AMG / November 27, 2006 4:32 PM

kleinstadt, I got the joke.

Allan / November 27, 2006 4:55 PM

AMG, It's not funny! People work really hard to clear out a space to park in the winter. It is especially hard on the elderly and handicapped. Access to close parking is super important. If people like kleinstadt go around taking this stuff thinking it is garbage it could have serious consequences for people!

paul / November 27, 2006 6:27 PM

So, does Chicago have a cute name for Coney Island Lungfish? That's what we called them on the east coast.

Once, in an alley, I found a parking meter that was made into a lamp. I still have it if anyone want to make me an offer.

Mikey / November 27, 2006 7:27 PM

Paul -

Is the lamp kitschy, or just crappy?

I had to think for some time to come up with something here--I guess I don't find much cool stuff...

The last set of shows the Grateful Dead ever played (right here in Soldier Field), I was trippin' pretty hard out in the parking lot and down to my last few dollars when it started to rain. A red balloon blew across the lot not far from where I was standing, so I chased it down and undid the knot. After one rather big hit...Sweeet! Nitrous oxide!

byd / November 27, 2006 8:40 PM

A fairly crisp $20 Canadian bill. In the dirt. By a gas station. Off a small highway. Ton front est ceint de fleurons glorieux.

Carlotta / November 27, 2006 10:59 PM

Back in the 1980's, out of nowhere, the fresh carcass of a red fox was on the sidewalk corner of Broadway & Barry, not far from the entrance of the dive bar that used to be there -- East Lakeview Lounge, was it? Someone shortly thereafter stole it, literally & figuratively.

karen / November 28, 2006 9:05 AM

there is construction on the street behind my apartment, just off of north clark street. i was walking along and saw a piece of cardboard with writing on it stuck beneath the construction barrier fence. it read:

"still poopin'. be back in 20 minutes. :("

(frown face theirs)

by far the funniest thing i have ever seen. i wonder if they are feeling better yet.

missmolly / November 28, 2006 9:31 AM

you all seem to find money! not me!

i found a cashmere scarf on western avenue near the empty bottle. that's about it!

fluffy / November 28, 2006 9:50 AM

True Story:
an ex-friend of mine was and is a complete and total drunk. I'm talking at least 20 drinks a night, to the point that he could barely hold his head up. It was really sad to see and I tried to help him...(that's another story)....Anyway, so one morning, coming home (he was staying with me for a few days while "looking for a job in Chicago" ) from the bars, he just couldn't wait and had to can i say this...well, poop. So he went in between 2 houses (it was still dark out) and did his thing. He then got to my place to get a plastic bag so he could go back and scoop his business, but when he got there....IT WAS GONE!

I think this was the worst thing a person could've found.

paul / November 28, 2006 10:07 AM

It's a real, honest to goodness working parking meter (from when they had clockwork inside, not electronics) mfg. by Duncan in Elk Grove Village. It must be old because it'll give you 12 minutes for a penny. It didn't have a lampshade, which would determine the kitchiness.

madachode / November 28, 2006 10:41 AM

I always take the patio furniture that's in the street esp when it snows. Some of it's good stuff.

gate / November 28, 2006 12:08 PM

I found a bike messenger wannabee hipster sprawled on my sidewalk, bleeding and unconscious at 3am. He was riding home drunk on his uber cool fixed gear bike without brakes when he apparently lost his balance and used his face as a brake. I called and ambulance and he cussed me out because he didn't have insurance. He refused the ambulance so I walked him home. It was quite an adventure since he didn't remember his name or address until I walked him around the the neighborhood for half an hour. When we got to his place he locked himself in the bathroom and cussed me out some more. And that is why I don't like people with fixed gear bikes.

carrie / November 28, 2006 1:04 PM

As a kid I found a really neat rock. I'm not kidding either. I think it was some kind of fossil. I hope my stepmom still has it. I love rocks.

I also tend to find money and wallets. Wallets are always returned with all the contents; loose money, no wallet protecting it, is mine.

Marilyn / November 28, 2006 1:48 PM

Not very interesting: $20 bill

More interesting (found by my bf): Fish tank with all the gear. Now holds my pet fish.

Most interesting: My cat Doris. She was really stupid, but still quite sweet and amusing.

fluffy / November 28, 2006 2:06 PM

I think gate found my ex-boyfriend on the street, and like Marilyn's cat, he was really stupid, but amusing.

I have nothing against fixed gear bikes with no brakes, as long as people remember that although they don't have regular brakes, they still need to stop. duh.

Allan / November 28, 2006 2:48 PM

I don't know what you guys are talking about, but don't take stuff that people put in front of their homes during the winter. That stuff is to keep people from taking their parking spaces that they have worked so hard to shovel out. I thought everyone knew that.

kleinstadt / November 28, 2006 3:08 PM

After years of lurking, with my first post I managed to simultaneously locate a nerve, and give it a mighty thwack.

I assure you, Allan, that I do nothing with the lawn furniture. Just because I find it doesn't mean I take it.

And I know the furniture's intended purpose. It is used to sit and watch the snow fairies frolick.

Allan / November 28, 2006 3:23 PM


Hal / November 28, 2006 4:31 PM


1. When I was absolutely flat-on-my-ass broke, just as I was leaving work trying to figure how I was going to make it through the week, I found $40 loose in the parking lot. Was able to buy groceries and gas to get me through the next (paltry) payday. Boring, yes, but the timing was a gift for me.

2. Like Marilyn, we found our cat on the street. We were walking to a friends house when this scraggly little kitten came out to us on the sidewalk. We weren't quite sure if she was really lost and, if we took her in, we might be stealing her from her home. So, we decided to check on her on our way home. She was still there and we saw she was in bad shape. She rubbed our ankles while hissing. Like someone had taught her that the words for "Hello" were, "Fuck off." We took her home and found she was in even worse shape than we thought. Starved, beaten up, a piece of plastic melted to her back, the pads of her rear feet were burnt and the skin was hanging off. Really, really nasty. We cleaned her up, took her to Anti Cruelty and told them if no one claimed her after their two week "stray" period, we would take her home. i.e. do NOT put her down. Which a friend of ours who worked there at the time assured us that if we hadn't made that clear, they would haven't given her a chance. While it took a while for her to learn to socialize (she still nips too much), she's turned into an awesome pet. Playing with the dogs and everything.

Finally, Allan, sorry, but the streets are public space. You can't "reserve" a spot. The "bucket" wars are a long-standing issue in Chicago (though much less so since it's apparently stopped snowing here). This idea of temporary "ownership" is complete bullshit. If you're parking on the street, you accept the risk that your spot won't be there when you return, no matter what time of year it is. I guarantee you that there are no empty, snow-filled spots on the street where that stunt occurs.

fluffy / November 28, 2006 5:13 PM


wondering: what did you end up naming the cat? Nippy?

I found my cat (Mr M) under a rosebush. He was only about 5 weeks old, at the most. The moment we looked in each others' eyes, we both knew we belonged together.

When I was in high school, we found a dog, and convinced my Mom to keep it, although she said the dog was a Pain In The Ass- so we called her PITA. I told a friend of mine this story, and weeks later, I found out his new nickname for his wife was PITA, but she didn't know what it REALLY meant....ha.

Spook / November 28, 2006 5:27 PM

I know this sounds hard to believe but sometimes your dear old Spook, when stumbling home on a cold winters night after a bout of drinking at a local watering hole, tosses those chairs and crates into the ally or far into a vacant, but soon to be condo-ed lot and I'm not even looking for a parking space!
Its just plain annoying and unsightly. What gets my goat even more is too see some one clear out and proudly "mark" their a space, on a block they don't even live on!
and as Logan square is home to the worlds largest supply of used 70's conversion vans, its all the more tacky when they do it.

sky / November 28, 2006 5:35 PM

Also Allan, if someone with a disability lives on a street where they need easy to access parking, they can have a handicapped parking zone placed on their street.

Meems / November 28, 2006 5:43 PM

There is a transvestite bar around the corner from me but the neighborhood is actually pretty nice. One day I noticed a sequins high heel about a size 13 on my sidewalk. I have to assume it was from a bar patron.

Joe / November 28, 2006 5:54 PM


Of course you realize that what you found was not necessarily a transvestite's shoe. Some women simply have big feet - a friend of mine has a daughter who wears a men's size 9 shoe (not sure how that translates to a woman's shoe size).

Oh, and she's 10 years old.

We all know what big feet on a guy is supposed to mean, but what does that mean for a woman?

Brandy / November 28, 2006 6:03 PM

A plastic toy baby bottle, the kind with the fake milk that dissapears when you turn it upside down. I was never into dolls as a little girl, but I was fascinated w/ those bottles. That was a find.

Elena / November 28, 2006 7:07 PM

Back in Ukraine my brother and I found old bomb from the World War II near the construction site about 25 years ago.I was 7 my brother 13 .Of course we decided to test it and throwed it out of our 9th floor balcony. Mom was mad.

appopt / November 28, 2006 7:27 PM

I love it when animals walk on wet concrete and leave behind their footprints in the sidewalk. My favorite, though, is the imprint of a squirrel that fell out of a tree, splat, right into the concrete. It's on Roscoe, just east of Damen. I've got pictures of what I'm talking about here.

Allan / November 28, 2006 8:15 PM

Look people! Stealing peoples shit from in front of their house is wrong! Even if they leave it in the street! It is not "finding" it is stealing! STEALING!

the pet / November 28, 2006 8:26 PM


If it's past the sidewalk, it's fair game.

the pet / November 28, 2006 8:27 PM

Oh, and like my mom used to say, "If it was really important, you would have put it away!"

rofimike / November 28, 2006 8:47 PM


Allan / November 28, 2006 10:03 PM

WHAT! so if I don't put something away it is okay for people like kleinstadt to steal it! Well...I suppose if I don't tuck my wallet in my pocket far enough that is fair game as well? BALDERDASH!... and if I wear some sexy short pants I suppose it would be all well and good if someone pinched my bum! This is outrageous! You people are trying to justify criminal behavior to suit your own selfish purposes! If you want crappy furniture so bad why don't you strut your thieving asses's over to Kmart and layout some green-backs for it! Outrageous!

donna / November 28, 2006 10:09 PM

an 'insane popes' calling card.

jennifer / November 28, 2006 11:20 PM

I haven't had anything to post because, frankly, I've never found anything cool (or at least nothing that comes to mind) on the sidewalk. but I have to say, can we all take it down a notch? anger + fuel = virtual angst. and no one likes that.

Hal / November 29, 2006 1:13 AM

fluffy - Sadly, she had long been named Dee-Dee (adorable but trouble-making sister to Dexter) long before we found the nipping just wasn't going away. Which is a shame, because "Nippy" is an awesome name. Sometimes, simplicity is genious.

Allan - no, you're right. You can't just take the furniture put in the street. That is stealing. But you're perfectly within your rights to put it in the parkway and take the spot. As Sky said, if you're really handicapped, it's easy to get a zone (really a dedicated space - like neighborhood zoned parking, but only 12 feet long). We have two of them on our block alone.

Topic? Um, I do pick up pennies for luck, but nickels aren't worth the effort.

John / November 29, 2006 9:19 AM

When I was 12? I once found what I thought was a smoke bomb. I decided to play a prank on a neighbor. I lit it and dropped in a milk box at the front door, rang the bell and took off. I turned around thinking I'd see my neighbor in a cloud of smoke. Instead I heard a tremendous boom!!!!. It must have been an M-80. I completely destroyed the box. I almost held it in my hand. I guess I'm lucky to be able to write this with 2 hands!!!

Spence / November 29, 2006 9:47 AM

C'mon Allan, you're preaching to the choir about the stealing of lawn furniture. The argument evolved into parking rights about 30+ posts ago. Removing lawn furniture from public space isn't exactly it? Removing it to your apartment is. And who gives a shit about it. If someone is willing to risk putting crappy lawn furniture on the street, they obviously aren't too concerned about it. If they really wanted to make a point, they would put a road spikes or a tiger in the spot to reserve it.

Spook / November 29, 2006 10:19 AM

Hey Allan:

So tossing some ones lawn chair who doesn't even live on my block is considered theft? C'mon. And its not like they remove it any way when the snow melts! Maybe Darth Daley needs to appoint you for this position, the monitoring and removal of lawn funiture during winter and early spring

p.s and I thought you always kept your Velcro strap wallet in your graying tube sock with the red stripe ontop?

tigers! / November 29, 2006 10:24 AM

I once found a tiger on the street, guarding a parking spot.

Not really, but I wish I did.

Hal / November 29, 2006 11:07 AM

Heh. I did actually "find" a black leopard on the street. Years ago*, in Denton, Texas, my mom was walking us to daycare before she went to school. We ran into a cop standing on the street looking concerned, something was obviously up. We asked him what was going on and found that a guy in the neighborhood was one of those whack jobs that kept exotic cats as pets and a panther had gotten out of its cage. Just as he was saying this, I saw the damned thing across the street, scooting into a back yard. Swear to God. It took a second for the cop to realize I wasn't kidding, but he called the animal control guy, they tranked it and all was good. I, of course, had to hear all of the capture part on the news, cause my mom insisted on getting us on to daycare.

* Summer of 1970, actually. Yes, I'm old.

fluffy / November 29, 2006 11:11 AM

I lived in Denton too, and I never saw a black leopard. I did wear black leotards once.

Bill B / November 29, 2006 12:25 PM

oh, so it was SPOOK who stole my parking tigers!

Leelah / November 29, 2006 10:10 PM

Hal and Fluffy, I lived in Lewisville, TX.... a suburb of Denton!
I found an armadillo in my marigold garden there....

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