Calendar . . .
peeks into real-life
people's live-a-day lives
Special to the Jewish News
avy Rothbart receives five to 10
letters a week from people around the world he has never met.
They're sending him submissions for his publication, Found
Magazine, a compilation of notes, letters and photographs dis-
covered by the wayside and picked up by passersby who deemed them
Accepting everything from love notes to postcards and to-do lists, Ann
Arbor native Rothbart, 28, has received "finds" from people as young as 6
and as old as 96, who write in to contribute to the project. Entries include
the object plus information about where and often how it was found.
Motivated by an emotional note addressed to "Mario" he found on his
windshield late one night, Rothbart decided to make the finds he had been
collecting since childhood into a magazine. He said he had no idea the
project would grow so much. More than 25,000 copies of each edition have
currently been sold.
"I spent three nights slapping together all the finds I'd collected and I put
together Issue One. I didn't have any grand plans for this," he said.
He set out to make 50 copies but wound up making 800 because of the
positive feedback he received from a cousin and a man working at Kinko's
when they went to make the copies. He sold 100 copies right away, then
left for a previously planned trip to Honduras and came home to a big sur-
"When I came back six weeks later, all
800 copies were sold. I just couldn't believe it," Rothbart
said. "I was like, 'Well, I guess we've got to print more,' and it just keeps
going. The more copies that get out there, the more people who end up
sending stuff in."
He said he was excited to discover so many other people shared his pas-
sion, intrigued by the possibility of peeking into other people's private
"I noticed people would have their prize find hanging on their fridge,
some photo or note, and it seemed like a shame that only the people who
trooped through the kitchen would get to see that stuff. So making a maga-
zine seemed like a natural way for everyone to share their findings with
Rothbart said he feels it's natural, in a society where "we are surrounded
by strangers all the time," for people to take an interest in the lives of oth-
ers. In fact, he said he is the most intrigued by finds that have the most
sense of a story.
One that sticks in his mind is a letter written by a boy in Erie, Pa., to his
father, who lives in Arizona. The letter talks about how the boy wants to
move in with his father, the CDs he would bring him and the grill they
could get so he could cook them a buffet.
"Important, Dad," the boy writes, "I'm gonna send you some stamps so
you can write me back, and I'm gonna give you a calling card so you can
FOUND on page 32