The artwork belonged to her parents and was gifted to them by her grandmother.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 27, 2023. It has since been updated.
Family heirlooms are an integral part of the heritage and ancestry for most of us. Whether it is rings, clothes, or any other kind of artifact passed down through generations, it holds a special place in history and the heart of those who possess it. Unfortunately, at times these heirlooms often disappear or get lost owing to the changing times and lifestyles. Annie Cunningham thought the same when an artwork and family heirloom disappeared 20 years ago. However, she would never have thought it would be accidentally discovered one day while cleaning a house.
When Cunningham, who works in Tidy Casa, arrived to clean Ryleigh Gleason's Tempe home two weeks ago, everyone was in for a surprise. Annie told ABC 15 Arizona, “I was probably in the kitchen for about half an hour and then I looked up and saw a picture hanging on the wall, by the cabinet.” She claims that after taking a closer look, she immediately remembered her childhood. Annie recalled, “I remembered seeing it sitting on my parents' gold velvet couch, with green shag carpet, in front of the Zenith console that we had, that was the vinyl player, the tv installed in it, and that picture being up on the wall above it.”
The one-of-a-kind stitched piece of art that her grandmother initially made for her parents. Following her father's tumultuous estate administration after his passing, the item vanished. Annie explained, “It was done as a wedding present to my parents, way, way, way back when. My father passed and everything of his was basically donated, given away, we don’t really know what happen to a bulk majority of it.”
Ryleigh was also surprised to learn that an artwork she has is really attached to a lot of family history. “I feel like this happened for a reason,” she said, adding, “I thought this was beautiful, I have a lot of oranges and yellows in my house so I knew that it would match all of my decor.” She claims to have purchased it at a Goodwill store that is located close to both her house and Annie's childhood home. She added, “That’s so random that the one time I hire someone to help me clean my house, it’s her artwork from her family, I was like it’s obviously meant to be with her because it’s come back to her.”
Ryleigh gifted the artwork to Annie, who plans to cherish it forever. In response, Annie hand-stitched a second item to complement Ryleigh's 1970s decor. Ryleigh expressed her joy by saying, “I was really, really happy to do so and I feel it’s finally at home and it took a long time to get to you but it made its way back." Annie now has possession of the heirloom that has been in her family for decades. She thought it was gone forever for about 20 years and now due to a fortunate coincidence and turn of fate, the artwork has found its way back.