My missing treasure

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When I was about 6 I developed an unhealthy love of jewels and gems, and I was hell bent on collecting “treasure”. I blame ‘The Goonies’, ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘Legend’ for sparking this love of all things sparkly, and I painstakingly worked to acquire my own stockpile of gems.

My “Treasure” consisted of the following:

  • One pile of loose green crystals from an old costume-jewelry earring that Granny had long misplaced the mate for. She was going to throw it away but I told her I needed the crystals, so she helped me pop them out of the setting with a pair of tweezers and put them in a black velvet pouch.
  • A fairly large chunk of clear quartz I had bought at a yard sale during my daily bike ride to the Spy House over the summer. It was a little old woman who sold it to me for $1, and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have it. The “jewel” of my collection.
  • Roughly a dozen loose tiny pearls from a tube of decorations from my mom’s sewing kit. I think the tube was leftover from the pearls that granny had sewn on mom’s wedding dress in the 70’s.
  • One Smurfs shrinky dink that I had colored and shrinky-dinked myself.

This was to be the start of my treasure chest, but where to keep it all safe until i found said chest to store it all in? I was afraid that my collection would be pilfered by pirates, or by the neighborhood Muhlheisen boys that I had a rivalry with. I decided to hide my treasure in a place only I knew about, to protect my assets.

At first I thought the attic was the best place, but after a few days I realized that it could get moved when my parents went up there for stuff. I couldn’t risk them finding my jewels. I needed to go underground with it, because treasure was always buried in books and movies. The perfect place finally dawned on me—the tree stump in the side yard! We had recently cut an old tree down that had been damaged in a storm, and the stump was barely noticeable in the grass. I could use it to “mark the spot” so to speak.

One afternoon I waited until the street outside was quiet and nobody was around, and I grabbed my velvet treasure pouch and went outside. There was a hole in the top of the stump itself, and I thought I could drop the pouch inside. No can do, it was too big thanks to the quartz chunk. Fine, I’ll just keep that one in my room, no big deal. Without the crystal, the pouch fit in the hole, but you could see the top of it sticking out. No! Surely the Muhlheisens would find it and keep it for their own. Bloody pirates. I decided to pour out the contents of the pouch into the hole. It wasn’t deep, and I could still fish it all out again when I needed it. I smugly made my way back to the house that day, empty velvet pouch and quartz in hand, no one the wiser.

A few weeks later, dad was mowing the lawns on a Saturday. We had a big riding mower, and dad usually started in the back yard and ended in the side yard. I was in the house watching tv when I heard the mower in the side yard, and suddenly I remembered that the treasure tree stump was low to the ground and dad might go over it! I ran outside but it was too late. Dad had run over the tree stump with the mower! I hoped that my jewels were okay, and I yelled for dad to stop as I ran through the mower’s path and dropped to the ground, searching around the now-buried hole for my precious gems!

Gone.

Only one sad piece remained, a very busted-up Smurf shrinky dink, flung into the grass next to the once-perfect hiding spot. I picked it up and went in the house, and threw it in the garbage. Sadness fell over the kingdom as my treasure was no more.

It wasn’t until like a year later that I lost the quartz when I dropped it in the street and it shattered.

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