At first glance, it’s just an old teapot scarred by age.
But to Glenda Estep, it’s possible the teapot was a family heirloom or a valued piece from someone’s collection.
Estep’s husband, the late Hunter Estep, found the small white vessel when he was cleaning up debris from the January 1998 flood.
“He and some other volunteers were in the area above Hampton High School cleaning up debris when he spotted the teapot. Hunt had got off the ’dozer he was operating to throw some stuff on a fire, when he noticed the handle. He took a stick and removed it from the burning debris. Surprisingly, it was still intact, lid and all,” Estep said.
He brought the teapot home, not knowing what to do with it. “We both knew it was from someone’s home, which had been destroyed or badly damaged in the flood. Who knows, it could have washed down from Roan Mountain,” Estep said.
When Hunter found the teapot it was marred with black gooey material, perhaps from roof shingles, which were among the debris.
Estep said she spent hours cleaning the teapot, trying to remove the black material, but was unable to remove all of it.
“At different times I would work on it, but was never able to remove all of the black,” she said.