Mysterious find sparks quest to locate woman featured in a vintage baby book

Posted at 3:49 PM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 23:33:55-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Like a time-traveler from the distant past, Sarah Dakota was born in the wrong decade. The Chesterfield woman feels most comfortable in mid-century form from purses to petticoats.

“It is kind of like a secret world of vintage. Once I bought my first item I got addicted. I couldn’t stop," Sarah said. "It's beautiful and it's classy. I actually specialize in handbags."

With a keen eye, Sarah hunts for gems at thrift stores and yard sales. Rediscovering, recycling, and reselling on Dakota Rose Vintage is the name of her game.

But one item she picked up recently stood out from all the rest.

A mother's scrapbook detailing her daughter Mary's early years from 1946.

From baby's first steps and words to major milestones like graduations.

This 21st-century mom couldn't profit from this piece of the past.

“These are the handprints she took when she was born," Sarah said. “This makes me a little emotional knowing how much she loved her daughter."

Sarah became obsessed with finding the little girl in black and white.

“I wondered if she was still with us and if she was I wanted to get it back to her," Sarah said.

By now Baby Mary would be in her mid-70's.

“I do feel connected to her," Sarah said. “I am very determined to find her. From the moment I saw this book.”

But how to return the keepsake to a woman who was born in Nebraska?

Sarah had her doubts. But she had to try.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to ship this book back to her," Sarah said.

The 28-year-old was in it for the long haul.

“I thought it was going to be slim to none to find her," Sara said. “Fortunately, I was able to find her rather quickly.”

Thanks to Facebook, Sarah found Mary living a few miles away in Richmond.

“Ecstatic was the perfect word," Sarah said. "I was breathless. Shocked and amazed. I was happy.”

An email exchange and a phone call would bring the pair together.

“I’m just so grateful," Mary said.

Mary lives in a senior living facility locked down since the pandemic began.

Turns out the baby book was lost years ago when Mary's parents passed away and their house was cleaned.

“These are such precious memories she can look at," Sarah said. "She probably hasn’t looked at these in such a long time.”

Delivery service comes in the form of Mary's brother. David Nylander is eager to retrieve a piece of his family's past. And walk down Memory Lane.

“I never saw this so it is very neat. I really appreciate it," David said.

David hasn't seen his older sister since March.

He will deliver the family heirloom in the coming days.

“I just wanted this to be back to who it belonged to because this is a piece of history," Sarah said.

Sarah Dakota may have been born in the wrong decade, but her heart is in the right place.

"The story has come full circle," Sarah said. “This is very special and I’m glad she is going to have it back.”

Both Mary and Sarah said they wanted to meet each other down the road when the pandemic subsides.

Sarah said she will always be on the lookout for vintage items like the baby book and try finding the rightful owner.

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