Treasure box

It began with a piece of polished red glass the size of a thumbnail. I was probably four years old and how I didn’t swallow it, I’ll never know, but yes, I do remember the smooth feel of it on my tongue and the clacking noise it made against my little teeth. That red jewel survived intact and begat many other tiny treasures over the years – minerals, semi-precious stones, polished agates, raw stones, miniature rock eggs, and tumbled beach stones – there was no prejudice as long as they were unusual, small, and significant in some way. Sometime in the mid-1960s, when découpage was all the rage, at Christmas my sister Vicki made lovely lacquered treasure boxes for my brother and me. His was blue (typical) with antique guns on top; mine was red with seashells.

Both were lined in black velvet. The collection grew and grew, each addition with a story of its own. Opening the treasure box and sorting the stones by color, shape, or size became a favorite pastime of our children, and now, so many years later, a satisfying, relaxing, tactile escape for visiting young cousins or friends. See if you can find the tiny red gem…

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