Members of the message board were given the following topic to write on.

You have been given a bag with a collection of treasures left behind by someone. Your challenge is to spin a tale that describes the character and why the objects are important to him/her. Why did the character save them?

Inside the bag:

A bird's feather
A bookmark
A scrap of cloth
A pressed fern frond
A short, handwritten poem
A seashell

A Collection of Treasures

By Sharon (

Martha sat on a bench on Belmont pier, letting her eyes scan across wavy waters, hoping to see the fishing boat that would be carrying her husband back to her. He had left several days ago to fish with some buddies. He should have been back yesterday, but had not arrived. The coast guard had been notified of the ships lateness and was searching. While she waited, Martha looked through her little bag of remembrances. First she took out a pretty seashell. Lou had given it to her on their first date. He had called for her, and since funds were low, they had walked hand in hand to the seaside. Strolling barefoot up and down the beach, he had picked up the little shell and given it to her, telling her that someday he would buy her rubies and diamonds. Putting it back in the bag, she pulled out a well worn book marker. Lou had made it for her, pressing a fern frond between plastic onto cardboard. Lou never did get around to having money for diamonds and rubies, but these little treasures meant much more to her as they were give with much love. Putting the bookmarker back into the bag, she pulled out a scrap of cloth. Martha had taken a fall and scraped her knee enough to draw a bit of blood. Lou had torn strips of cloth from his shirt and made a bandage which he wrapped around her knee. And then he had kissed her, asking her to be his steady girl. Next came a bird’s feather and a short handwritten love poem. Martha smiled, remembering back as they sat on the porch swing of her parents home. It wasn’t a good poem, but it was written with love. And that made it a great poem.

Martha Darling a bird’s feather for thee
Will you fly away with me
Let’s get married and make a good life
Martha sweetheart please be my wife

And it had been a good life. They had weathered good and bad and survived mostly On love. They never had much money. Four children had come along and grown to be wonderful adults, giving them a family of grandchildren. Tears ran unheeded down Martha’s face as she thought about not seeing Lou again. Still, hope filled her and she kept scanning the waterways. Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder. She looked up, to see Lou standing there, tired, but well. She leapt off the bench and threw herself into his strong arms. He put his scratchy old face against her lined one.

He explained his lateness. His buddies and he had run into trouble some miles out. Their fishing boat had started taking on water. They tried to get back to shore, but the water was pouring in quickly. They each had thought this was their end, but the Coast Guard had spotted them and taken them aboard the ship, and brought them back up the ocean a bit. Lou had tried to call her from there, but of course she was at the pier looking for him, so the phone went unanswered. Taking a taxi, he arrived home and a neighbor told him where to find her. Martha and Lou, slowly walked home, hand in hand. Martha in her delight on seeing that Lou was safe, accidently left the bag of memories on the bench. They would have more years of happiness together. A few hours later, a teenage girl, found the bag of treasures, and took it home with her. It seemed an omen of what her life might be when the right boy came into her world.

A Collection of Treasures

By Norma (

A bird's feather
A bookmark
A scrap of cloth
A pressed fern frond
A short, handwritten poem
A seashell

My brown-eyed, laughing, tall, poor husband promised me a beach house the day we wed. He knew my heart craved wind and wave. Today I am moving into this house alone for he went on suddenly before I. My dear friends told me I needed a change to heal my heart, and isn’t he keeping his promise by leaving insurance enough for me to buy my dream? They have gathered with me to paint and clean and decorate. There are orange beach chairs on a small veranda looking off toward the ocean. The house can hardly be distinguished from the blue of the sea. Cool organdy curtains flap in the breeze over a thrift store rattan bedroom.

Now, they are saying goodbye, and I alone will have a cry, and wonder what my new life will be. Scattered houses dot the shores and I will accumulate more friends as well as learn how to “invite” into this new home. Sarah, my loyal Sarah, hands me a ticking drawstring bag, saying “I found this in the kitchen cupboard. Must have been left by the old owners.” So I kiss her goodbye and lie on the soft down chaise, listening to the subtle splashing and whispering of the waves.

After a while, I pull open the little bag and find what seems to be what would emerge from a little boy’s pocket, and I daydream over each item. A quarter sized shell of mother of pearl colors. My fantasy carries me crawling from an old castle into a new and promising life. A bookmark: Remember dear, when you and I in our folding chairs sat on another shore - you tackling “Moby Dick,” and I, “The Shell Seekers,” until we could no more and found our way into each other’s arms on the cool, wet sand at twilight? A scrap of cloth: Always you carried a scrap of cotton cloth to keep your glasses clean. You were obsessive never to have a dot of lint impair your vision. “Better to see you with,“ you excused. A bird’s feather: I remember, too, the blue jays you adored from our backyard. You loved our blue jays, flying in the face of others who hated them. But then, you loved all things especially small and humble things. A pressed fern frond. It was you who almost stripped our big hanging fern bare to give each child a “palm” branch to wave on Palm Sunday. I am so sorry we did not have our own son.

And what is this? A short, handwritten poem. I am frozen - this is your handwriting:

My dear if you read this,
I am watching over you,
So pleased your dream house,
I was able to provide for you..

You should know my tender love,
Is permanent forever,
Though my wish is that you go on,
With another, though for now we are severed.

You gave me all you had,
And having all still have all to give,
For I have learned in Love all are together,
And in Love we’ll always live.

So take this small bag of memories,
Each a treasure of its own,
And know the future brings too many
To hold from me alone.

A Collection of Treasures

By Dee (

After grandma had died, as my Mum lived away It was left to me to clean her house. My dear old grannie had died about two months ago, and I was just about ready for the job of going through Her things.

Grandma was the typicial grannie. A White haired lady with glasses, rosy cheeks and a big smile. I visited every Saturday when I was a child, with Mum and Dad, Then after Dad had died very suddenly. I continued to visit with my Mum. Grandma seemed to lose that twinkle after Dad died though, as she was his Mum.

The house was nearly empty, all furniture had gone, either to charity or just disposed of. The house lokked so bare now, Kitchen neat and tidy, bedroom all cleared out, I had looked in all cupboards and they all seemed empty until I came to the one in the bedroom. Right at the back of that cupboard I saw this orange bag. When I saw it I remembered it from long long ago as grannie had once shown me it, when I was very small.

Grandma called it her treasure bag and it held just 6 items, which meant such a lot to her.

Grandma had met her young man in the roaring twenties, and there was a piece of cloth (which was from the dress she wore) when granpa proposed to her Bright blue satin it was and had not lost any of it's colour. The colour suited her and she must have looked stunning. Then she showed me this beautiful hand written poem (once again from her Bert) It was a poem he had given her on the birth of their first child My daddy. He was the first of three children,( a wonderful family). There was a beautiful sea shell which my daddy have gived to her when he was a small child His first time at the sea side. Also a bird's feather, which Aunty Anne had given her, when she first started school. Also my Mum had given her Mum in Law a pressed fern frond, from her wedding bouquet. Grandma was so proud of her son. and his wife She had also kept the bookmark which I had made. I had even embroided her name on it. It was done when I first started at senior school.

I just sat and cried,as this was grandma's treasure bag, and I nearly missed it. No one else would look after it or care about it To them it wouldn't mean a thing but to me it has so many happy menories and I will treasure it for the rest of my life

A Collection of Treasures

By Amy (

Oh a treasure hunt is being planned.I hope you all can understand.
We hunt and hunt for lots of things like treasures and jeweled rings.
Let's start with a bookmark to mark out place.
As we start out on this treasured race
Next is a birds feather
Hope it doesn't fly away in this weather.

Next we have a scrap of cloth
That's just to satisfy the moth
whoops here comes that nasty wind
hope it doesnt blow my fernfrond way across the pond.
Now we are down by the sea
with a short handwritten poem from you to me
I shall read it as I walk the beach
trying to scoop up a seashell thats just out of reach.

By Tom (

A Collection of Treasures

A bird's feather, A bookmark, A scrap of cloth, A pressed fern frond, A short handwritten poem, A seashell.

It was an eleven room house, built by a doctor in 1917, heck when it was built it was plumbed for gas lights; a magnificent home it was tall ceilings, large wood framed doors with transoms in each room. It had been wired for electricity and a big old coal fired furnace installed. After the Doctor passed on, the crash of 29 and the big depression it ended up being rented, a few rooms as an apartment, a room for another and so on. It was not taken care of and of course it was run down when we who were living in the Section House, renting of course bought it. Oh golly gee indoor plumbing and electric lights. As long as I remember it was fix up this paint that and try to repair, replace and update and after poppa passed on it was all my mother could do to keep it up and going. So from 1955 until the early 1990’s she lived there alone. But this is just background.

I returned to the old homestead a couple months after she had passed on, to that big old quiet house. I wanted nothing except the pictures and books and my sister wanted none of the furnishings so she gave my two sons some red and green yarn. “You two go through and mark what you want and the rest we will haul to the dump!” I started through everything.

On her dresser was one old feather, she found it on the beach the first time she saw the ocean. A young woman with her teaching certificate who had married a man her parent’s thoughts was beneath her station in life. The family was old and proud, a typical Southern family of the early 1920’s. How many times did I hear the story of finding that feather, of the trip which was like a hundred fifty miles or so? Back then that was a major trip and I guess it was in those old cars and with the roads what they were back then. By the time she was in her 80’s I could paraphrase the story and nearly quote a good part of it. I stood and many of the times I had hear about that feather flashed through my head and closing my eyes I was standing in the kitchen and heard it when I wanted to take it and make me a quill pen.

I sat down in front of the large bookcase, well it was large to me as a child, but now it would be a small one. I began to look at the books therein. Old text books, old school books, a few best sellers back when I was still around. All at once I pulled out this small black leather bound book and my heart rate went up because I knew it was pre 1900. Slowly I opened it and there on the front was my grandmother’s name in her distinctive handwriting, “Mary Catherine Snow.” I turned the page and the title, “A Cotter’s Saturday Night and other stories” by Robert Burns; I was euphoric as I began to read. Someone rang the doorbell so I looked for a book mark and holding my finger on the page I was reading the book sort of flopped open and there was a beautiful silk book mark. I started to the door but someone else had answered it so I sat back down with my treasure. The book mark was given to my mother July 1915, for knowing the most bible verses. She was super smart even at eight years old. I looked at and studied the special piece of silk with its bright colors and the bottom just ecru so it could be annotated or the reason for it printed. Here I sat until it became hard to read and I realized it was late and getting dark. That book and book mark went into my attaché case.

A few days later I was going through her dresser. There were all sorts of old things, even elastic from drawers and parts of old undies. But in the bottom left of the bottom drawer was a thin brown paper bag. Something told me or I had a premonition about it as I slowly unfolded the top an opened it; a chill ran over me as I removed a piece of fancy pink silk cloth. Again the calendar and clock went back for on my first trip to Japan I had bought two large pieces of cloth, one for my wife and one for my mother and sent them. I was stationed in Korea and had been sent to Japan to an Air Force Escape and Evasion school. I had flown to Iwakuni on the old C-119 Flying boxcar car mail plane and then took the train down to Eta Jima in the southern part of the country. I spend two days wandering the ruins of Hiroshima and had bought the two pieces of cloth after haggling for over an hour. My wife had made a fancy dress out of her piece but my mother as so with so many other things just put it away in the bottom of her dresser. Now as I look back and think, I wonder who got that large piece of pink silk and I wonder what was made of it.

I opened a jewelry box and found a seashell, one of the thousands you pick up while walking the beaches over a life time but this was significant for it for she had picked it up on her first trip to California to visit us. We had gone to the beach for our Sunday family outing. The boys were three or four and every Sunday if I did not have to work we went to the beach spent the day and of course had a simple picnic. I went to work then took a noon time class and after work at night I took more courses and then on Saturday I would overhaul cars and tune them up, fix radios and televisions to make a few bucks; while of course the wife worked and she had to work on Saturday so we got up on Sunday morning and went to the beach, away from work, away from the pressures and just relaxed. Anyway she was visiting so we went to the beach and of course the two boys had to walk grandma on the beach and pick up seashells and pretty pebbles. They found this one that was not cracked or broken and had beautiful coloring. I washed it and then coated it with clear varnish so it would retain its color. Of course my wife put a pearl in it and decorated it. Yes I remember that summer, and of course when we went back east her showing her Pacific Ocean shell with its pearl.

In an old Christmas box I found the pictures from her European tour the sister and I gave her one summer after she had been sick. It was a six week tour of Europe and to the mid-east and the holy land. She was not much with a camera but another person on the trip sent her copies of the copious ones they took. There was a Life magazine that featured the Hold Land and when I opened the magazine I found a pressed fern frond. She had it in clear plastic with a notation, “From the cradle of Christianity, my souvenir.” Oh the stories she told and the joy she received from that six weeks going and doing something she had always dreamed of and wanted to do.

There were stacks and stacks of letter and oh my how many advertisements and flyers including such things as all five family members letters with our Social Security Cards in them along with all those photo copied letters they used in WW II from her two brothers who served and from other friends and relatives. But then I saw one letter with very crude lettering. Again I grinned for I knew only one person printed that bad and it was I. I opened it and first there was a letter telling about working for Mr. Thompson and then working for Mr. Vaughn and he paid me 15 cents an hour and how much I wanted a wrist watch . . . . But the second page was a simple poem about the book I read. I nearly fell over for I never remember ever trying to write a poem until I was over sixty. When I showed it to my sister she immediately took it along with a lot of the old Victory mail letters that were quite censored. Guess I will see it again when I go through her stuff.

Yes, I know they were all small insignificant things but each item as I thought about it and remembered it and from where it came and the underlying background were a plethora of nostalgia. Yes, the little black book is on the wall of books and I wonder what will happen to all of them when I am gone, will anyone appreciate and love books the way I have all of my life?

By Tom (

Memories Found

Bookmark from grade school read the most that year
second grade and I hated the teacher
would stand in class and near recite the book
still got bad grades for misbehaving

An albino eagle feather oh so neat
supposedly from the late 1700’s
story is was used to sign
Declaration of Independence

Scrap of cloth from the big fire
house burned down, part of a blouse
casualties and fear of fire
scrap is in an old book of poetry

A pressed fern from near the Wailing Wall
spent a Christmas in that city
just a young man, did not really appreciate
now it is cherished for I did pull it

Penciled poem supposedly written by me
1944 during the war
simple words all printed
did I actually write it?

Seashell from the Pacific
my first trip across country
waded the ocean, stood and thought
dreaming I was on, the Bounty

Treasure trove of yesteryear
little things remembered that made my mettle
stories of each, special meanings
smile and keep on remembering

A Collection of Treasures

By susi (

A bird's feather
A bookmark
A scrap of cloth
A pressed fern frond
A short, handwritten poem
A seashell

Her name was Annie. She always walked alone on the beach each day. She wondered what wonderful treasures she would find there today. She saw the old couple walking down the beach away from her. she wondered if she would ever have someone to walk with on the beach. They had been sitting on the bench. She looked around for a special seashell to add to her collection. She walked a little while further and there she found it, a perfect small sand dollar. She put that in her big pocket in her jacket, along with a gull feather that she found sticking out of the sand. She kept walking and looking until she came to the bench and sat down. Of course she didn't know that another lady named Martha had been sitting on that same bench waiting for her husband to come home from the sea, but she imagined herself waiting for someone. She wasn't such a young girl and she wondered if love would ever come to her. As she sat there waiting, she noticed a bottle floating on the waves and she walked out into the water and picked it up. Inside there was a little scrap of cloth rolled up and when she unrolled it she found a piece of torn paper with a short poem written on it in a shaky hand.

"I am stranded on this island
'cept for the sound of the sea, it is silent
I look each day for a ship to come near
And see the signal fire I have built here
I have a loved one I feel still grieves tearfully
but I have given up on anyone coming to rescue me
So to whomever finds this afloat on the sea
If you ever meet her, tell her to remember me."

By this time the girl was in tears, thinking of the woman who still waited for her loved one to come back to her. She wondered if she ever gave up, ever found another to love, and did she ever think of the one who was lost to her forever? All of a sudden she spotted a small cloth bag on the other end of the bench and she knew that it belonged to the lady who had been sitting here but was now long gone. She opened it and found the old bookmark made with the fern frond and knew it was a precious thing that she would use and treasure as she felt the other woman had treasured it. 'Maybe, just maybe, I'll find a love like these people knew', she thought as she made her way back thru the sand to her small cottage overlooking the sea. Tomorrow she would take her solitary walk to perhaps find more little treasures.


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