In a distracted momenT this week, I locked myself out of a house on my property. My friend and fellow writer, Dean, offered to drive down from Camp Hill to help me break into the locked building.
In another life, Dean was a Morse telegrapher for the Coast Guard. Now retired, he fills his days with restoring a number of old buildings he has bought in downtown Camp Hill, repairing tube radios, and fixing up Studebakers. His other areas of expertise include metal detecting and prospecting for gold. He brought with him a bag filled with small treasures he has found.
Among the crystals and stones, there were a ruby, an emerald, a beautifully formed piece of quartz, and several amethysts – and some pyrite or “fool’s gold.”
He has also found a number of rare and interesting buttons, mostly from military uniforms. But one very large button he believes may have belonged to Peregrine White, the first baby boy born on the Mayflower in the Harbor of Massachusetts. When Dean uncovered the button, he lived around the corner from the house White lived in as an adult during the 1670s. During that time, White was famous for the huge buttons that adorned his clothes, so much so that his nickname was “Buttons.”
One of my favorite pieces in Dean’s collection was a carved lead Mohawk Indian fishing weight he discovered while detecting in Massachusetts, but I was also pretty smitten with two more pieces: a broken piece of sterling jewelry he unearthed in New Orleans that dates to the 1800s and is inscribed with the name “Dottie” and a fair token he found in Georgia engraved with the name Kandynan Jordan. Of course, the writer/detective in me now wants to know the stories of Dottie and Kandynan.
Best of all, Dean left his spare metal detector with me on loan, so that I can start my own treasure trove.
Marian Carcache welcomes
comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.