SAN ANTONIO – Picture this: you find a stack of pictures and documents at a resale store. The pictures capture favorite holidays, childhood milestones, a proud mom and dad, and you even come across report cards and a marriage license. Do you buy it or just walk away?
Nancy Dure was curious to learn more and decided to buy the stack of family memories with the intention of finding the family.
“I picked them up because their last name was Muñoz, and my dad passed away and his last name was Muñoz,” Dure said.
A few months after the random purchase, Dure brewed some coffee and sat down to begin her search on Facebook.
“There were marriage licenses, there were report cards, there were a bunch of addresses of where they used to live, and all those papers had their names,” Dure said. “So, they had enough information for me to do some research on it.”
Dure began her search for a Joe Muñoz, the same name printed on report cards from a Harris County Elementary School.
“I went through a bunch of people on Facebook, and I just couldn’t find them. So, I told my sister-in-law about it,” Dure said.
Her sister-in-law suggested they look him up with a variation of his middle name, Anthony. She began to look for a Tony Muñoz and finally cracked the code on Facebook.
“It was, like, within 20 minutes that she had found him,” Dure said. They looked through his friends list to see if the other name, Amanda Muñoz, that was written on the back of many pictures was listed.
“We went through her Facebook, and then, saw she had a Halloween picture,” Dure said. “I had a similar picture, and then I started comparing the pictures. I’m like, this has to be them. The pictures have the same couch, the same background, the same fairy costume.”
Dure reached out to Tony with the big news.
“I got a weird message,” Tony said. “I was very skeptical about it. I thought it was a scam at first, because it was a picture of me from my childhood. And the message basically said, ‘Hey, I found a box of pictures. Is this your family?’”
He confirmed it was him and his sister, Amanda.
“I think within an hour we were, like, let’s meet,” Dure said. “We were both so excited. I was jumping up and down.”
Dure met up with Tony and his daughter at a local IHOP soon after.
“So, we get there, and I’m showing my daughter pictures that I haven’t seen in years. There’s a particular picture of me wearing a Dick Tracy shirt (that I remember), and I showed it to her. She just laughed. I mean, it is pretty cool to be able to show her, you know, that I was a kid, because we don’t have anything in the house to show that.”
Tony and his sister Amanda both live in San Antonio and have their own families. Their father, Joe Muñoz lives in Houston and their mother, Gail Muñoz, passed away two years ago.
“I mean, this my mom putting these memories back in my life,” Tony said. “That’s how I put that.”
So, why were the pictures at a Goodwill Clearance Center?
“When I was a kid, (my dad, sister and I) were moving to Floresville, and we packed everything into a U-Haul,” Tony said. “We were getting ready to leave in the morning and noticed it was stolen. So, I mean, we had nothing and I have nothing from our childhood. Very, very little. I think I maybe have like two pictures of my mom, period.”
Exactly how the pictures were stolen in Houston and ended up in a San Antonio-area Goodwill still remains a mystery. However, Tony, his sister and father are thrilled to have these tangible memories once again.
“I can’t thank you guys enough,” Tony said to Dure. “It has truly been a blessing out of nowhere.”