Saturday got hijacked by an errand involving someone else’s airplane, and Bob and I found ourselves with time to kill in Swainsboro, Georgia. While walking through one of the antique stores downtown, we came across this old notepad:



Before IBM invented the ThinkPad notebook computer, there was this. In 1914, Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the founder of IBM created the motto:  “Think!” You can read all about it here:

The small pad was completely full of notes, some meaningless and indecipherable, others downright striking. I had found myself a real life mystery, and I was fully prepared to launch an official INVESTIGATION INTO LOST THINGS and analyze the book and profile the writer. I know that just because I found the pad in Georgia does not a southerner make the author. But I know she was southern, and also a woman. For one thing, look at her invite list to her sewing circle. “Mama” is first on her list.


There were grocery lists (highly doubtful that a man would have kept a grocery list back then), daily tallies of funds spent while traveling (Wednesday breakfast $0.62, lunch $0.87) and even a list of things to pack for a trip. Like all women, she was very concerned with finding just the thing for the pool.

She possibly was taking notes at a meeting when she wrote this note:

freedom is never secure

“Freedom is never secure.” “Citizenship:  Women too busy themselves training children to be good citizens in home, church, community, state, nation, etc.” There are a few entries about 4-H and some activities along the same vein that made me wonder if she was a teacher.

And then, the most profound note of the whole collection:


“Life has a tremendous secret. Search out your secret. Learn to do what you love to do – search out a way to use it.”

Who was this woman? She had a few pages of names and addresses contained in the notepad. There was even some mention of a woman who lived in “the red brick building, Atlanta.”


And then, in the middle of the book, appeared a name.


Mildred Craig, I found your notebook. Maybe it isn’t her. It is just a name, after all. But there is no contact information written in to correspond with the name like the other entries have. Also, it is human nature to scrawl out your own name somewhere in your book. Maybe it is ego or vanity, but we like to see our own names in print. It feels good to us.

There was a Mildred Craig in the 1940 census in Atlanta. She was twenty-one at the time, married to William Craig, and had a one year old son named John

The SSI Death index has the following listings for Mildred Craigs born in 1919.

Jun 30, 1919
Mar 11, 1997
Last residence: 39648 (McComb, Pike, MS )
Dec 31, 1919
Jul 02, 2005
Last residence: 49057 (Hartford, Van Buren, MI )
Nov 13, 1919
Jan 28, 2006
Last residence: 47362 (New Castle, Henry, IN )
May 16, 1919
Apr 01, 1987
Last residence: 41015 (Latonia, Kenton, KY )
Jan 21, 1919
Jul 06, 2003
Last residence: 45233 (Cincinnati, Hamilton, OH )
Feb 28, 1919
Dec 24, 1996

The very first one is the closest match (see, although to believe it is the same woman you have to assume that the one year old son died, and that she graduated from college and moved to Atlanta in 1940. Also, the gravestone gives the marriage date of 1944, so that doesn’t quite match either. She continues to elude me.