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It's no trashy desk, it's piles of history

In archaeological terms, it would be called a midden, a heap of refuse and life cast into a pile to await discovery.

It's a window to the past: who were these people? How did they live? What's with all these "I (heart) N.Y." pencils?

Obviously, the peoples of this land loved N.Y.

But what else?

Indeed, in archaeological terms, it is a midden. But in office jargon, it is called a heap of refuse.

My desk finally had to be exhumed from under the heap that has grown for years undisturbed.

No permits were obtained, although maybe they should have been. No scientists were consulted, but they might have been interested. There were no public hearings, just a private nudge from my boss.

I examined the findings and recorded them for posterity.

My desk: a window into east Pasco's past.

There were letters from a killer and thanks from school children. Phone numbers, business cards, photographs and dreams.

"Ceremonial Ground Breaking," reads the announcement, dated May 21, 2001. It's for the restoration of Dade City's Crescent Theatre.

By now, plans have changed. The place is still a wreck, albeit surrounded for a while by chain link fence. But even that's gone now.

Here's a campaign flier for Larry McLaughlin, looks like it was from his first unsuccessful run against state Rep. Ken Littlefield.

"I believe, as a state with surplus revenues . . ." one statement begins.

Surplus revenues? Sheesh, the way they poormouth up in Tallahassee, you'd think we'd squandered all those surplus revenues on Skee-Ball and fruit smoothies.

Hmmm, a miniature rubber chicken. For some reason, I believe that's a keeper.

I spend too much time playing Skee-Ball.

Here, Littlefield to speak at Pasco County's "Visitor Welcome Center" at State Road 54 and Interstate 75. The center is gone now. Visitors are welcomed by a steak restaurant instead.

And a letter from Faunce Pearce, sent while he was awaiting trial for murder: "Chase, I'm telling you they know I will win if I go to trial," the letter reads. "Chase, even a moron can see there is a problem with this case."

Yeah.

He's on death row now.

There, the result of a consultant's $60,000 streetscaping plan for downtown Dade City. The plan is still on a shelf, way too expensive for a cash-strapped city entertaining offers for the sale of City Hall. The city did get something for its money, though. The consultants provided an "upgrade" of the city logo. The new plywood logo has more black in it, and some stars painted on the edge.

It's pretty cool.

Here's the obituary for a civic leader, a weird proposal for a museum of antiques that never got past the weird proposal stage, and an angry letter from the former chief of the former San Antonio Volunteer Fire Department.

He blames the fall of the department on the "diabolical and hateful acts of others."

Well, maybe, but mostly it came down to atrocious bookkeeping.

Here's a letter from a woman describing the night her son's father attacked her with a hammer, a police report of a child beaten with a graphite rod, and a letter describing a 192-unit apartment complex outside Dade City that hasn't been built.

A baseball commemorating the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' inaugural season. They were better back then.

And the "My Vision is 20/12" bumper sticker, hyping the Tampa Bay area's shot at landing the "XXXth Olympiad." Somehow, if Tampa ever had a shot at landing an Olympiad, seems like it would be XXX one.

But who were these people? And why all these "I (heart) N.Y." pencils.

I hate N.Y.

N.Y. is probably going to end up with the XXX Olympiad.

Up next:ANNIVERSARY

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