Tracey Green was renovating a disused railway station in France when she discovered a 1943 copy of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan which she now hopes to reunite with its owner. Tracey and her husband, Lee bought the station in a French town between Bordeaux and Toulouse, which closed to passengers in the 1930s, and they began their renovations of it last year.
The couple inherited a lot of books when they purchased the station and Tracey was sorting through the library in order to donate them to charity when she discovered the beloved children’s book.
“I found this old one and it was a nice blue hardback, faded, and I saw it was Peter Pan and there were lovely colour plates in it so I was flicking through and then I saw the inscription,” Mrs Green said.
The inscription reads: “Pauline Owen, Christmas 1943 with love from Aunty Doris and Uncle Fred.” There is also a name and address written inside this copy of Peter Pan which reads ‘Pauline Owen, 25 Scott Road, Walsall.’
Tracey Green is orginally from the West Midlands – where Walsall is located – and she met hr husband Lee while working on the railways in the West Midlands. The pair have regularly visited the south of France, and when Mr Green took redundancy from his job during the pandemic, they decided to move. The link to the West Midlands inside the children’s book that Tracey found was what drew her to the idea of finding the book’s owner.
Tracey explained, “If [the inscription] said Oxford or something that had no connection to me at all, I probably would have put it back in the box and it would have gone to charity.”
Tracey Green has already begun her search for the book’s owner or a family member who might like to have the book returned. She has made some inquiries in Walsall, West Midlands, sharing the book in local Facebook groups in the hope that someone may know or remember Pauline Owens.
Tracey Green said: “They could be in their 90s and still alive or have family that would just like to see it.”
She also added: “It just made me think I wonder if this person would like to be reunited with this book if they’re still with us, and that’s why I made some inquiries.”
Hopefully, some fairy magic might help Tracey reunite the 1943 copy of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan with its original owner, however, if her searches are fruitless, Tracey plans to hold onto the book for her nephews and nieces when they are finally able to visit her in a post-pandemic world.