It seemed like a good idea at the time. Mind you, I was only six years old. My cousin Toby lived across the street and it was another hot summer day in the 1950s. My mother was working in her rock garden and Toby's mother, my Aunt Thelma, was in her kitchen baking bread. We would soon get to have some while it was still warm.
'How come the boys always get to go somewhere and we have to stay here?' Toby complained. This thought had never occurred to me but she was two years older and therefore much wiser.
Today we were bored and restless. We wanted to do something exciting. Soon we settled on the idea of finding a hidden treasure but had to figure out how to make this happen. Suddenly Toby said, 'Let's bury your mom's rings, then dig them up later just like finding a hidden treasure!' Her eyes were sparkling with excitement. I knew this could get us in trouble but couldn't resist the temptation to go along.
We crept upstairs to my parents' bedroom where we knew my mother kept her rings inside a silver-lidded glass jar. My parent's room was always tidy and smelled like my mother's perfume. On the dressing table were some of her special things including the glass jar. Opening the silver lid we peeked inside and removed my mother's pretty pearl ring and her diamond engagement ring. Mom only wore them when she got dressed up to go somewhere so Toby figured she wouldn't miss them if we borrowed them for a while.
'Where should we bury them?' I whispered as we wrapped them up tightly in toilet paper. 'I know a place' said Toby. 'Follow me.' And off we fled down the stairs and out the front door, running all the way to the end of our dirt road and into the big field where we often pretended to ride wild horses.
'Right here no one will ever find them!' We brought along a big kitchen spoon to dig a hole for our secret hidden treasure. Soon we heard our mothers calling our names to come home for lunch. 'Don't tell anyone' Toby made me promise as we headed back to our houses. For some unknown reason we forgot to go back later to dig up our hidden treasure and return the rings to their rightful place.
It was almost a week before my mother realized her rings were missing and she was frantic. The look on my face must have been a dead give-a-way and it didn't take much prompting for me to blurt out the whole story about my adventure with cousin Toby. It wasn't until that moment that I realized the seriousness of my crime.
'Show me where,' my mother demanded. So off we went to the field carrying a shovel to dig up the rings. But I couldn't remember exactly where they were buried! We dug in several places without success. My dad came home from work and he went to search along with Toby and her dad, my uncle Charles. No luck. Eventually we all gave up looking for the rings. Amazingly my mother forgave me. But everyone hoped the 'hidden treasure' would miraculously be found someday.
About six years later, the field at the end of our street was planted with rows and rows of little pine trees that would grow up to become Christmas trees for sale. One day the tree farmer found a pearl ring in the soil and told a neighbour who happened to remember the story of my mother's lost rings. He graciously handed the ring over to my mother who was overjoyed to see it again. This discovery started a vigorous new search in hopes of finding the diamond ring as well. But it was never recovered.
Many years later I noticed my sister was wearing the pearl ring. When I asked my mother why she had given it to my sister she answered, 'Well, I always planned to someday give my good rings to my daughters and you were supposed to get the diamond engagement ring!'