They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but photos Alex Shaw found in a pile of items left out for trash pickup hold a lifetime of memories.
Shaw has lived in the Capital Region for a handful of months, since January. The 23-year-old is soaking in everything she can, and learning about her new home.
“I walk around here often. That’s why I like being able to say hello to my neighbors,” she said.
The Vermont native is getting to know her new home and the history behind it. She has always had a love for history, instilled in her by her grandmother.
Shaw says she was walking around the neighborhood when an item in a trash pile caught her eye. To be specific, it was a teddy bear dressed in a Navy outfit. It resembles a memory she holds dear to her heart.
“It was one of the first things I noticed, because I remember it when I was a kid, when my grandparents served,” said Shaw.
After rummaging through the time she ended up finding the passport, addressed to Daniel Ladoploulous, and his birth certificate dating back to 1929. She also collected scuffed black men’s shoes, and photos of World War II detailing Ladoploulous’ time in the service.
Shaw immediately took the pile of keepsakes home with her.
“I had a house fire when I was maybe like 5 years old. We lost a lot of family heirlooms and relics and stuff like that. So after seeing this box and finding things like all these pictures and mementos and old toys from WWII, and stuff like that, I was like ‘this needs to go back to somebody,’ ” she added.
And so began her search to find out who this man was, and any connection he may have to family or to Albany. With a simple Google search, she found Ladoploulous was the owner of the Bleecker Restaurant, which is where Dove and Deer now stands.
Ladoploulous spent most of his time in Albany except for his Army service, when he was stationed around the Panama Canal. She said even though he passed long before she was in the area, she feels like she knows a piece of him.
“It’s almost like a time warp, like being able to go back in history without actually going back in history,” Shaw said.
Ladoploulous also owned the State Street Mansion and lived on the first floor until his death in 2003.
Shaw was able to connect with, and return the items to, a great nephew, Adam Ladoploulous, who carries on the ownership of the mansion. Shaw says the items ended up in the wrong pile while cleaning out and renovating the mansion while preparing for it to be put on the market.
“I was just so happy to give it back to a family member that was alive still. Because I have lost stuff like this beforehand; it’s not stuff you can replace,” said Shaw.