Box of memories: Resident hopes to reunite family with photos

Arthur and Anne Jensen celebrated at least 50 years of marriage. It was noted in the local newspaper. Arthur had served in the army. She had written to him there. They had a son, Everett who became an artist, hosting an exhibition of oil paintings and mixed media in Los Angeles in 1969. In 1951, his brother, Earl got married. Her name was Carol Williamson and she had a “nice smile.” At one point, Anne lived in Escondido, California and had a license to drive there. She traveled overseas and in 1985, she was in Cottage Grove at a memorial for Arthur, who was buried in a wooded area, an American flag posted to a pole that reached into the clouds over his grave marker. “Arthur Jensen 1899-1985.” Phyl gave a reading. Jana, Aaron and Renee were there. So were Jeff, Rose, David and Wally. 

Thirty-two years later, the photographs--neatly labeled and protected by laminate--were in the trash. So were Arthur’s discharge papers. Anne’s license. The newspaper clippings that hailed their 50-year marriage, Everett’s art shows and Earl’s wedding. 

“I walk everywhere, because I don’t drive,” Jeff Davis said. He was walking by the New to You thrift store in Cottage Grove this May when he saw a box of photographs in the garbage out front. 

“I didn’t think anything of it but the next day I walked by and people were throwing more things on the pile,” he said. “The guy said I could have them if I wanted, so I took them.”

The haul was comprised of several boxes of documents, photographs and memories. 

There are letters from Phyllis to Wally in 1943. He was in the service and out of sight so she sent him a booklet of photographs, asking that if he ever met a girl who, “he felt was his to have and hold, he would play square” and tell her about it. They became the Reinhards and had a son, Robin. 

Jana wrote a letter to her parents after the invention of computers, email and neon green paper. She thought it was a good idea she had gone to the cabin when she did because a litter of kittens—eight in all—had popped up on the property. She’d gone there with David, who she had met the year before around May or June at Embers, where he played in a band.

Someone went to Europe and wrote home about their adventures in 1977. 

On Christmas in 2004, Jennifer was 21 and Travis, 16. 

The local genealogy library has traced Arthur and Anne as far back as Racine, Wisconsin but hasn’t had much luck in identifying a local heir. 

There are school report cards, army payment booklets, holiday photos, birthday cards and the receipts of a life lived in the shoeboxes Davis found in the trash on Whiteaker St. in Cottage Grove.

“I just want to know the rest of the story,” he said. 

The boxes are currently being housed by the genealogical society and anyone with information on who may belong to the boxes and want the contents back, is asked to contact The Sentinel at (541) 942-3325. 

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