June 28, 2013 | 6:34 pm
June 28, 2013 | 6:34 pm
Two strikingly retro and Nancy Drew-like mysteries have been probed and solved while I’ve been living here. The first event happened about three years ago, the second just recently — a nice pair of bookends, as it were, for my tenure here in this house.
The Secret of the Gold Booty
When I first moved in, my sister laid this tantalizing nugget at my feet: Mom’s gold is somewhere in the house. Both Ann and I could remember our mom’s collection of gold coins, purchased in Mexico many years ago as investment. I remember being enchanted at how tiny the 2 and 2.5-Peso coins were. Ann realized that we didn’t see the coins among mom’s things after she died, and there was no safe deposit box or other storage to speak of. But where? Where was the gold?
A few months after settling in, I saw a long, metal box (looking like a home mail box) that was firmly welded to the pipes under the vanity in the master bathroom. A safe! It was a safe! But where was the key?
It took months. This is a big house with lots of locks. And lots of keys, as it turns out — I found keys in the official key cabinet, in dozens of drawers, in files, on my stepdad’s keychains. Nothing fit the safe lock. I gave up. More time passed.
One afternoon, I was sitting on my bedroom floor eating candy (as I tend to do) when a sudden, cosmic lightbulb went off — there was one more set of keys I hadn’t checked! A friend of John’s gave me the house keys when I first moved in. I didn’t remember anything but the front and back door keys on it, but when I checked this time, there was a small brass key on the ring.
And sure enough, it opened the safe.
And sure enough, there were gold coins inside, a very satisfying clinking bag of coins.
It was great fun to give each sibling their shares over the next year — the larger Centario coins were the kind of coin that you think about when you think the word “doubloon” or “Pirates of the Caribbean”. There was much “Yaarrrrr”ing.
[At this point of the story, I want to say that there is no longer any gold in my home nor anything of value left in the safe, so don't you even dare come over and do any plundering.]
The Mystery of the International Sports Car
My stepdad has a lovely vintage sports car that, sadly, must be sold. It is Italian and lemon yellow with a black racing stripe and it’s a convertible and simply fabulous. I drove it recently and it was very exciting. Not so exciting was the overwhelming attention a car like that gets. So many questions I can’t answer! So much weird auto-centric leering! I am so not that person who enjoys that sort of thing. But my GOD it’s a pretty car! If I could just park it and pose for pictures around it, preferably sporting a beehive and round white sunglasses, I would buy it in an instant.
I drove it from the mechanic to its current location extremely illegally, since the car is officially non-operational. I’m going to have to jump through a series of bureaucratic hoops to change that. The first step was finding the title, or pink slip — but the pink slip was gone!
I tore this house apart. There are lots of files and cabinets and piles of so, so many papers. I found pretty much everything BUT the pink slip. I was defeated and feeling very nervous and unsure about what I was able to do next.
Then, yesterday. I was folding laundry when the second cosmic bolt struck my thick noggin — could it be in the safe? I know there were a couple papers left in there…
And sure enough, there was an envelope, satisfying labeled in huge block letters: “PINK SLIP FOR SPORTS CAR.”
[And before you get any other evil ideas, the sports car does not live at this location, either. Pillage elsewhere, please.]