A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to Disney World. We all got off the plane in Orlando. My Franklin Planner did not. While this may sound like the most trivial "problem" in the world, it was a big deal to me.
My entire life, I have been dependent upon lists and notes to stay organized. I color-coded my packing lists for Camp Bratton-Green. I kept lists of homework assignments throughout school. My obsession with lists and note-taking has made me the butt of many family jokes, but I will point out that I rarely forget a deadline, a birthday, or an appointment. When on vacation, I get there on time and with everything I need. I have addresses ready at Christmas card time. My color-coded lists are just part of who I am.
When I landed my first “real”, post-college job, I was required to attend a Franklin class and received my first planner. In the fourteen years since then, I have rarely been more than a few feet from my planner at any time. (I'm joking. Not really.) The only way that I can juggle two kids, their school activities, their friends’ birthday parties, my Brownie troop, adults’ and kids’ church activities, doctor and dentist appointments, tennis times, Scott’s schedule, and nights out with the girls is to have it all written down in the planner. I have business cards, copies of social security cards, touching notes I have received, school schedules, addresses, phone numbers, and passwords all safely tucked into their respective color-coded sections.
So how did I manage to leave it on the plane? Well, in the bustle and confusion of getting four adults, four very very very very excited children, and all of our stuff off the plane in Orlando, I forgot that it was in the overhead bin. I realized my mistake soon after we got to the hotel, but when I called the airline, I was told that everything found on the plane was promptly thrown away. “They figure if you left it then you didn’t want it,” explained the customer service representative. Well, I just couldn’t believe that.
As the week went on, I continued to try to locate my planner. I wasn't going to let it ruin our Disney trip (and of course it did not), but I was determined to get it back. I called different numbers within the airline’s network, hoping someone would be willing to help me. Also as the week went on, I realized more and more that in addition to the schedules and calendars and to-do lists, the pictures and notes and special items that were zipped into my planner would be irreplaceable.
The item I most mourned was a picture of my grandmother, Dott. I don’t believe in coincidences, but by “coincidence” I met a former student of my grandmother’s while notarizing some documents at SunTrust. When he realized I was her granddaughter, his eyes filled with tears and he spoke very movingly about how much she had meant to him. A few weeks later, he brought me a picture of her he had saved for decades and gave it to me. It’s the one picture I have of her as a young woman. That picture is on my “grab it when the house catches fire” list. I couldn’t believe that her picture was in the bottom of a box, shoved in a back corner of some random airport’s warehouse. That picture was going to find its way back to me.
I finally spoke with someone at the airline who was nice enough to tell me all the cities to which my plane had flown that day. I called each airport’s lost and found and begged someone to help me. Another notebook I was carrying was found in Akron, Ohio, but no planner. So close! I went to sleep Saturday night losing hope of ever seeing my planner again. Sunday morning, the phone rang. The lost and found manager in Akron had my planner locked in her office, realizing that the information in the book would need to remain secure. She mailed it to me and it arrived today.
My next color-coded travel list will include, “Do not take planner on airplane!”