GENEVA – A 1960s-era lunchbox has propelled an East Coast woman and her 9-year-old son on a search for a man who grew up on Elm Avenue in Geneva.
“Hopefully the person’s still alive,” Laurie Sykes said.
The Levittown, New York, woman and her son, Connor, are looking for the David Fisher who once lived at 431 Elm Ave. and owned a Huckleberry Hound/Quick Draw McGraw lunchbox.
Produced in 1961, the container now belongs to Sykes, who has been collecting metal lunchboxes for about 35 years.
Connor has been taking a different one to school each day since January, when he decided he was bored with his lunchbox, Sykes said. She noted his classmates get a kick out of it.
“They become like little pieces of history,” she said. “Every day, it becomes like a little adventure, ‘Which one will he bring?’ ”
Connor picked the Huckleberry Hound/Quick Draw McGraw lunchbox on May 12 and came home wanting to track down its former owner, whose name and address were written on it, Sykes said. She noted that was a first for her collection.
“The fact that a name was in it prompted his curiosity,” she said. “As far as he was concerned, everything he needed to know was right there.”
They soon began collecting details of the owner’s life. Based on the lunchbox’s production year and the handwriting on its label, Sykes said, they placed Fisher’s birthdate between 1952 and 1956.
She and her son also deduced that Fisher likely attended Harrison Street Elementary School based on his street address and the schools that existed at that time, she said.
But that’s about the extent of their progress, Sykes said.
“We found 640 David Fishers born in Illinois during that timeframe,” she said. “So we are now at a bit of a standstill.”
Although Sykes used to keep a notebook of where she got each lunchbox and how much she paid for it, she said she can’t find it. She buys most of her collection off eBay or at flea markets, she said.
Those who can help Sykes and Connor with their search can email Sykes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sykes recognizes that the chances of meeting Fisher might be slim, but she said her son would love to talk with him and learn what it was like when Fisher was his age. He also would welcome a letter or an email, she said.
Sykes has posted pictures of the lunchbox on Facebook, which she said has created interest among her friends.
“Everyone is really excited to find the answer to this mystery,” she said.