The $5 Mystery From 1949

It was deep inside a Los Angeles book store aptly named “The Last Bookstore”… tucked inside an old bank vault full of books.. books that look like some of them haven’t been touched in decades…


I reached between a stack of the books and found this little book of poetry peeking out. I don’t know why I reached there… or what drew me to that spot… It had the smell of history and the yellowed pages to match. I grabbed the book of poetry.. just 32 pages.. “Greetings From Field and Garden” and opened it up.


Inside… a special inscription… “received from Myrtle and Curt December 25th 1949″…


It was probably a Christmas gift.. and it was signed by the author on the bottom in faint letters now decades later.. “Lisbeth M. Kahl”…


But there was something else.. Tucked inside the pages was a handwritten note card… It started out “This book was written across the street from us when we lived on Garfield….”


It went on to talk about a couple that owned a nursery at Garfield and Van Buren… The note card describes the husband as grumpy… and the wife as always hurrying around to do what he wanted. It was almost like a diary entry to a time gone by… a window into the past. Was the note describing the author and her husband?? Was it describing Myrtle and Curt who had given the book as a gift on that Christmas?? Either way… how long had it been since someone found this little poetry book… and the handwritten note stashed inside… a Christmas gift from decades ago. And one more clue… the second side of the note which talks about someone named Wilda… “One of my father’s sisters”


Someone thought enough of this little book of poetry at some point to write inside and keep notes on where it came from. So I am posting this online for anyone else who likes a good mystery… I see obituary listings for a Lisbeth Kahl in Michigan some years ago. I also see references to Arlington, California. And what about that intersection: Garfield and Van Buren. There’s one in Topeka, Kansas and Riverside, California too. Maybe we can find Lisbeth’s family… or the family of Myrtle and Curt.

I plunked down my five bucks and left the book store with a little piece of someone’s history… a $5 mystery to share… and well worth the money…



About dadmissions

author of Dadmissions. surrounded by a wife and two girls... and a dog named Cupcake
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3 Responses to The $5 Mystery From 1949

  1. jdawgswords says:

    oh yeah!!! keep me informed!!! I once found a suitcase full of family pics..i was never able to solve my mystery…hope you have better luck

  2. theinkedupdad says:

    Time to triplicate my info for your readers who might now check your Facebook page. Here’s what I’ve found for those who want to assist in the search:

    According to the copyright information on file for that book, Mrs. Kahl resided in what is listed as Arlington, CA on copyright records, but as Riverside, CA on all her census info. I was able to find a Garfield St. & Van Buren Blvd. that intersect there as well. That book was documented in copyright records July 12, 1943. I also found that she authored another book, Verses to Dear Folks I Know which was placed into copyright records in 1932. She’s recorded in the 1940 Census as Elizabeth M. Kahl age 72. Her husband is recorded as H R Kahl, age 63, and his occupation is listed as a nuseryman. He’s listed as being from Prussia and she from Bavaria. Their address at the blood bank that is now on their property is Lifestream at the time it was recorded as 4012 on the census. Its coordinates on Google Maps can be found here:,-117.4494191,18z/data=!4m7!1m4!3m3!1s0x80dcb0d1fb8a6f4d:0xe7f3de8c99e678dd!2sLife+Stream+Blood+Bank!3b1!3m1!1s0x80dcb0d1fb8a6f4d:0xe7f3de8c99e678dd.

    Update: There are three homes directly “across” the street from the blood bank and what would have been her home, the nursery. These homes are: 9530 Garfield St (Built in 1947, last sold 2001), 9538 Garfield St (Built in 1939, last sold 2007) and 3994 Van Buren Blvd (Built in 1950, last sold in 2009) this one is listed as Van Buren because it’s directly on the corner).

    I’ve found no record of the Kahl’s having children. Also, Mrs. Kahl was listed an an unpaid worker at her husband’s nursery. I’ve been unable to find where they are buried.

    I would say the next step in the process is checking the census info I’ve found for the owner(s) of the homes across the street. See which ones match up to the time that the Kahl’s lived there and if any match the names listed.

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