We all love the idea of finding hidden treasures or family heirlooms in the attic. In a regular clear-out, you might just find something incredibly valuable, or a piece of history telling you something super meaningful about the past.
But for Ronald Warninger, he would unearth a discovery in his garage that would shine a new and forgotten light on his own family history.
Little did he know, this discovery would bring tears to his eyes—and move the hearts of viewers around the world.
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A Normal Day
At first glance, Ronald Warninger seemed like a totally normal guy. A chiropractor hailing from Yakima, Washington, he was not expecting a routine clear-out of his garage to turn into an emotional and meaningful message from the past.
For Warninger, it was a day simply beginning like any other, when he decided to head to his garage and clear out some space by going through a bunch of his old belongings and trying to throw a few things out.
But he had no idea the hidden treasures and mysteries that he was about to stumble upon.
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Bits and Bobs
Now, when Warninger headed to his garage to start clearing things out, he did know there would be plenty of random items and trinkets he might have forgotten about.
Over the years, family man Warninger had always held on to items that had a sentimental value to him, storing away keepsakes and mementos for posterity.
However, even though he knew he might come across a couple objects from the past, he had no idea just how meaningful one of these items would turn out to be.
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Getting to Work
Even though he was quite a sentimental man and had a tendency to hold onto things that had an emotional significance to him or memories attached to him, Warninger also understood the importance of clearing out his stuff from time to time, and clear up space for new items and of course making new memories.
So he got to work clearing out his garage, thinking that it would just be a regular day and a fairly normal task. Little did he know he was about to make a discovery that would bring him to tears.
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As Warninger sifted through his various items, he found many things he had stored away over the years. It’s always interesting to look through old belongings and remember the times and events that are associated with them.
Sometimes it can bring you a smile, and other times sad memories can return at the sight of an item. But when Warninger laid his eyes on one particular item, he was simply stunned with shock.
Just what had he seen that could fill him with such surprise?
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As Warninger sifted through his various items, he knew he might find tidbits from the past. But when his eyes fell upon this one item, they widened and he stared in amazement.
What exactly had he seen to cause such a huge reaction?
The truth was, the object in question was in fact an old-fashioned looking hat box. And this box had an incredibly special—and sentimental—piece of history inside it. But just what was this innocent looking hat box hiding?
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Time to Investigate
Even though Warninger was busy sorting out his garage, he knew he had to take a break to investigate what might be inside this mysterious hat box.
And so he put down the rest of what he was doing and approached the box. Wondering what on earth he might see, he reached out to lift the lid of the box and peer inside. What he was about to see would not only move him to tears, but would end up hitting headlines around the world.
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Finally, it was time to open the hat box and see what really was lying inside.
And so Warninger lifted the lid and finally laid eyes on the object hidden within the box.
What he saw took his breath away instantly, and he was straightaway filled with emotion.
What he had seen looked like a white porcelain bowl. What could be so special about such an ordinary object?
Well the truth was, it might have looked like a bowl, but Warninger knew what this mysterious object really was.
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Piece of Cake
What Warninger had found in this hat box had an incredible amount of emotion attached to it and was a hugely significant part of his family history.
Because even though this object looked just like a white bowl, the truth was it was in fact something very different.
Warninger knew that this white object was a piece of wedding cake—and a remnant of a wedding that had taken place many generations ago.
This piece of cake that he was looking at now, was the last surviving piece of a time in history long gone.
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A Dream Day
The truth was, this much-loved and long-treasured piece of wedding cake dated way back into the past. Every guest at that wedding had probably long since passed away, but this amazing and beautiful piece of wedding cake still survived.
Because this cake was a souvenir from the wedding of Warninger’s grandparents, Ines and Harvey, on March 17th 1915.
So just how exactly had this amazing piece of history survived, and what could it tell Warninger about the secrets of his family’s past?
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Not many people know that saving the top piece of a multi-tiered wedding cake used to be a very popular and well-observed tradition of the past.
Probably because wedding cakes tended to be the old-fashioned fruit cake type, which can last for ages!
But this young couple, Ines and Harvey Warninger, held onto their special piece of cake so long that they must have forgotten about it—because they never got around to eating it.
So just what had happened to this cake, and how did it make it to Warninger’s garage?
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Ines and Harvey Warninger had an incredibly happy and long marriage. Deeply in love when they first tied the knot all the way back in 1915, the two of them stayed together for the rest of Harvey’s life.
When he passed away in 1944, his wife was obviously devastated—but she still had one keepsake of her beloved spouse.
And so she still continued to keep the cake safe—as now it was far too precious to eat.
But the cake still had a few adventures ahead of it before it would reach Warninger’s garage.
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As time went on, new generations grew up within the Warninger family and times began to change once again.
By this time it was the swinging sixties, love was in the air, and Harvey and Ines’ children were now fully fledged grownups of their own accord.
And it was around this time that Ines, now approaching old age, gave the cake to her children for safekeeping.
Little did she know that they would one day give it to their children, and the long chain of history would keep going.
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As Warninger gazed at this amazing discovery in his attic, his mind wandered back to times past, and the little signs he had never noticed in his childhood that now suddenly seemed to make sense.
Because Warninger, only a small child during the 1960s, was vaguely aware of this cake passing into his parents’ hands at the time.
But how was the young Warninger to know just how meaningful and historic this family heirloom really was?
This was something he would have to find out for himself.
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A Child’s Eyes
Warninger opened up about the truth behind how the cake had come to change hands so many times—and how little he had realized of the truth behind its story.
“My grandparents didn’t have a good freezer,” he said to ABC News. “And my folks bought one of those upright freezers and I remember it being packed in tin foil and being told, ‘You’re not allowed to touch that,’ but that was it. There was never any plans for it, nobody ever talked about it.”
Little did he know, it would one day be talked about all over the world!
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After this magnificent cake had passed down from Warninger’s grandparents to his parents, eventually times changed once again. Families grew and new memories were made, and people forgot about that small yet meaningful piece of cake stored somewhere in the depths of their house.
It wasn’t until many years later, in the early 2000s, that Warninger came across the cake once again.
Tinkering around in his father’s workshop, he found it languishing in one of his drawers—and it had now become completely hard as a rock.
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After Warninger found the piece of cake in his father’s workshop, he decided that it was time for him to take over the guardianship of this meaningful and much-loved part of their family history.
And so he took it home with him and stored it away somewhere safe.
So safe, in fact, that it risked being forgotten about completely, never to be found again.
Warninger himself revealed that at certain times, he had simply no idea where the cake had ended up.
But an important date was now approaching—meaning that history was about to come calling.
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By this time, Warninger was a fully grown adult, as was his sister. The two of them had grown up with the knowledge of this cake, but as time went on, they had both simply forgotten about it.
But then their memories were jogged by a significant date, when 2015 brought their grandparent’s 100th wedding anniversary.
They knew it was time to dig out this important piece of history. But there was only one problem—they couldn’t remember where it was.
How would they find it?
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Sense of Doom
Even though they knew that finding the cake would be the perfect way to honor their grandparents’ special anniversary, the truth was that Warninger and his sister simply had no idea where it was these days.
It wasn’t that they had forgotten about their grandparents or no longer held them dearly in their hearts, but the truth is that time does go past and people forget certain things as their lives take their inevitable twists and turns.
But this was one loss that the Warningers weren’t going to take—they had to find this important piece of their history.
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Warninger opened up about how difficult it was when they realized that they simply had no idea where the cake had gotten to.
“My sister called me on the anniversary and asked if I had the cake and I couldn’t find it,” he said. “We looked around and thought it was in the basement but it wasn’t. I had given up on it completely and she wasn’t happy with that, but I had kind of given up on it.”
Little did they know, the discovery of this important piece of history was just around the corner.
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Blast From the Past
And so after the siblings searched far and wide for this beloved cake, desperate to see it again on their grandparents’ 100th anniversary, they were devastated to think that they might never see this important piece of history again.
But neither of them realized that Warninger was about to stumble across the beloved keepsake later that same year—completely by mistake.
Because it was only around eight months later that Warninger decided to undertake his now-famous garage clear-out.
After all that searching for the cake, lo and behold—there it was!
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Can you imagine how amazing and surprising it must have been for Warninger to finally discover this cake, completely by mistake, after searching for it so desperately only a few months before?
Having believed the cake to be completely lost to history, destiny had it that he would in fact find the family keepsake very soon—and still within their grandparents’ 100th anniversary year.
The fact that the cake was still found in this significant year, was even more emotional and powerful for the family to be reunited with this lovely memory.
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Not only was it so amazing that the cake was able to be found still within the year of this significant milestone, but the Warningers were also stunned by just how well preserved the cake still really was—and all it had been through over the years.
“Just the fact that this cake made it through like this is incredible,” Warninger said to ABC News. “It’s in perfect shape. It’s been in and out of freezers and been handled a lot. It’s lived through a couple world wars.”
This cake had already been through so many sagas. But the truth is, that wasn’t the only secret that Warninger discovered that day.
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As you can imagine, Warninger was incredibly delighted to have finally discovered the long-lost family heirloom and all the memories that come with it.
The cake held so many significant moments and mementoes for everyone, and finding it gave them all a new insight into their own family history.
But the truth was, it wasn’t just the cake that Warninger found hidden in the hat box that day.
Peering deeper into the container, he realized that there were even more treasures and secrets of the past hidden inside…
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Postcards from the Past
It was amazing enough that Warninger had unearthed this long-lost treasure and incredible relic of his own family’s past.
But when he looked deeper into the much-loved hat box, he realized that there was truly a treasure trove of secrets and memories hidden inside it.
Firstly, he found a pile of postcards written so many years ago, giving him an incredible insight into the life and relationship of his beloved grandparents. He also found a beautiful mink hat, incredibly valuable in more ways than one.
But there was something else inside that box that would move Warninger truly to tears.
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As if he hadn’t already found enough emotional memories inside that hat box, Warninger also unearthed a long-lost poem that had been stashed away in there since his grandparents’ wedding day.
Written in beautiful handwriting, the poem read:
Remember me when far away,
And only half awake,
Remember me on your wedding day,
And send me a slice of cake.
This stunning poem moved everyone to tears, but there was another reason that these beautiful words were so meaningful and significant.
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Deeper into the Past
Isn’t it amazing to think that the keepsakes that Warninger discovered that day—the postcards, the poem, and of course the piece of cake itself—had been hidden away and survived through so much since all the way back in 1915.
But the truth is, that this beautiful poem actually had a history going back even further than this. The poem was in fact written in 1905—a whole decade before Warninger’s grandparents’ wedding.
Just like the cake itself, the beautiful words of the poem have come to perfectly encapsulate the essence of their loving marriage.
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Have Your Cake and Eat It
We know what you must be wondering.
After over a hundred years, having been stored throughout so many different kitchens and pantries, not to mention workshops and garages, the cake had somehow managed to stay intact.
So we can’t help but wonder—did anyone try or feel tempted to have a small taste?
But the truth is, the cake was now so old and as hard as stone, that it wasn’t even remotely edible!
“When you tap the cake it feels like porcelain,” Warninger revealed to The Huffington Post. “It’s that hard.”
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Even though the cake was no longer edible in any way, it still brought a delicious taste of happiness and meaning to everyone’s lives—especially for Warninger.
“I’m just glad it reappeared,” he said to ABC News. “I felt a little responsible for it. It is just the top of a wedding cake, but how many people have those all these years later? It’s just like a time capsule.”
It’s true that this cake has, over the years, become so much more than a delicious treat—rather, it’s a beautiful and momentous piece of history.
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Looking to the Future
After such an amazing story, and Warninger’s long-awaited discovery of this incredible piece of his own family history, we can’t help but wonder—what next for this astonishing miracle piece of cake?
Well, for Warninger, he feels he has created a beautiful and hopefully longstanding tradition.
“I hope to pass it along to one of my kids,” he smiled. “And maybe they’ll keep it for another 100 years.”
Clearly, for this amazing family, their years of adventure, love, and legend are only just beginning.
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