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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)

TITLE: Our Families Lost Treasure
By Mildred Sheldon


My family gathered every year for our family reunion, and those that had moved from the valley stayed at Mom and Dadís big house. I lived next door, and I had promised my parents I would clean their attic. It had been years since anyone had ventured there, and I knew there would be layers of dust on everything. I slowly walked through the attic when I happened across a very old cedar chest hidden in a cubby hole in the back of the attic. I wrestled it into the middle of the attic. A sliver of light from two grubby windows landed on the chest.

Moving the chest had stirred up years of dust which caused a coughing and choking spell. I hurried to the nearest window, and managed to open it. After a few deep breaths of fresh air I walked to the other window on the other side of the attic, and as soon as I cracked opened that window a cool breeze hit my hot sweaty face.

I went downstairs for my trusty vacuum cleaner and made my way back to the attic with it in tow. I turned on my old vacuum cleaner and sucked up years of dust. I carefully vacuumed off the old chest. What I found under all that dust was a very old ornately carved chest with our family crest smack dab in the middle of the old lid. What lost treasure lay inside?

I pulled up an old chair mesmerized by this long lost treasure. Who did it belong to and what lay inside. I slowly opened the chest and found a layer of oilcloth carefully placed over the contents of the chest. I lifted off the oilcloth, and found paper covering old clothes still in good shape. Under the clothes I found old manuscripts. Yellowed with age I gently lifted this treasure and slowly opened the top one. I let out a whoop that was heard throughout the house.

Before long I heard footsteps coming up those old steps as my beloved family gathered round me. Mom and Dad stood behind me staring at those old manuscripts in total disbelief. Those staying with Mom and Dad craned their necks to see what caused my outburst. All eyes were glued on those old fragile manuscripts laying on my lap.

That chest belonged to my great, great grandparents, and it held the original proof of purchase of all the land we owned. But, the greatest treasure was the manuscripts of the life of our ancestors from long ago written by the hand of my great, great grandmother. She had listed all pertinent information about all our relatives plus the names of all families in the valley and who married who. There was a complete chronology of all families in the valley. A treasure beyond measure.

After we calmed down the men gently lifted that old chest, and carried it downstairs to the family room. I followed slowly holding those fragile manuscripts I considered more precious than gold.

We found out that my great, great grandfather made that cedar chest. He was a master carpenter, and it showed in the ornate carving of this beautifully crafted cedar chest.

Everybody gathered round me looking intently at what our ancestor had written so many years before. The evening flew by, and before we knew it, we witnessed daybreak. I laid those old manuscripts on the table, and we wearily made our way to bed. I was totally drained, and as soon as my head hit the pillow I fell into a deep sleep.

We were all awakened by the neighbors frantically pounding on the door. They were concerned, because they hadnít seen anyone up and about and it was late afternoon.

Mom invited the neighbors in, and made a pot of coffee. We showed them the old manuscripts, and the chest. They let out a tremendous shout. It wasnít long before the whole valley heard the news. They came in droves to see those precious yellowed manuscripts of my great, great grandmothers.

My great, great grandmother had kept meticulous records of all the people in the valley. Those old manuscripts brought all of us closer together and we praised God and gave Him the glory at sunrise service the following Sunday morning. Ahh! What a find. History of the valley lay before our eyes all due to the love my great, great grandmother had for the written word.

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This article has been read 362 times
Member Comments
Member Date
AnneRene' Capp05/07/10
This left me longing to have been a part of this family reunion. I felt the excitement of opening that chest, I could see the ornate carving, was breathing the dust and coughing with you. But mostly, my heart was swelling with the thrill of reading those papers so packed with personal history. You left me wanting to know, who was who and what kind of intertwining's
had developed between families in that valley, AND what other treasures were in that chest!
smile, smile and smile
angelos2 wark05/07/10
An enjoyable story.
It's hard to explain the excitement one feels when finding such a Family heirloom. You did juast that.
good job.
Jan Ackerson 05/07/10
This has a lovely, nostalic feel to it.

A few notes: Your title should have the word 'Family's' rather than 'Families'. And take a look at the 4th paragraph, the sentence that starts...

Yellowed with age I gently lifted this treasure...

The way it's phrased, it reads as if you are yellowed with age, not the MS!

I loved that the mother made coffee for everyone as they explored the MS, and the reaction it caused in the valley. Very nice!