Yep, Frank, Joe and I were chums – always looking for new adventures whenever we got together. Stumbling upon a half buried chest, filled with Pieces of Eight, or prying up a creaky floorboard to find a mysterious message, were routine to us.
Naturally, all this was done whenever F.W. Dixon didn’t need the boys in one of his books to solve some caper of their own.
These childhood fantasy’s filled the time when I wasn’t running around with my neighborhood buddies: building forts, throwing dirt bombs at each other or just hanging out. But the excitement these daydreams furnished were as real as anything. And the excitement didn’t just come from the riches of the imaginary treasures we uncovered. It was the discovery that gave me the biggest thrill.
Don’t get me wrong, I spent a lot of time dreaming of how I would spend my new found fantasy wealth. My special indulgence would have been buying every novelty item on the back cover of my Fantastic Four comic book. I’d buy them all, from Sneezing Powder to Space Monkeys, and especially the X-Ray Specs (I would buy a dozen of those).
It’s been decades since Frank, Joe and I did our thing. We’re still best friends, but they’re resting comfortably on my bookshelf and my treasure hunting is done at a desk, or in an easy chair. I’m not crawling around damp caves or flicking cobwebs off my face any longer.
As the archaeologist, who gently brushes the layers of time off fragile artifacts to reveal the forgotten, I peel back the brittle pages of decades, or even century, old newspapers and magazines looking for treasure. Even a simple matchbook cover has stories to tell, treasures to reveal. The ephemera I collect and study are encouraged re-tell their stories, and when they do, there’s always something to learn, and treasures to enjoy.
So join me, as I wander back and see what treasures are waiting to be found and lessons to be learned, and who knows, we may even get Frank and Joe to team up with us!