13: Charming Treasure

13: Charming Treasure

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

Charming Treasure

Those we love and lose are always connected by heartstrings into infinity.

~Terri Guillemets

I grew up running through fields and playing with kittens in a red barn on my grandparents’ farm, which was right next to our home. My grandfather died before my first birthday, but I was lucky enough to have my kind grandmother, Rose Baker, into my teenage years.

After Rose’s passing, my family cleared her belongings from the farmhouse and rented it out. Tenants came and went, hauling their worldly possessions behind them as they left.

While I was in university, my parents retired and moved farther north. I missed the day that the moving truck carted my folks’ boxes to their new home overlooking a pond inhabited by fish, frogs and, to my disgust, pits of snakes!

The buildings where I’d grown up held wonderful memories — baking my first apple pie at age eight, working in the shop with my dad at age seventeen, my first real boyfriend who fixed up my “rust bucket” car, and countless Christmas dinners with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Now the buildings stood empty, their fate left to the developers who bought the land to build a subdivision.

All of my gram’s lifetime possessions had been removed. Or so we thought!

The first time I had the dream, I chalked it up to nostalgia. In the dream, I was merely walking through Gram’s house, through the mudroom, kitchen and living room, surveying the bare walls and floors. There was nothing there. When I woke, I reasoned that I was simply sad because I’d never get to set foot inside Gram’s home again.

I carried on with my student life. I attended lectures by day and ate pizza with my friends at night.

Then the dream returned.

The scene was similar. Again, I walked through Gram’s house, but this time, I ventured into the small pantry off the kitchen. Then, I went up the steep staircase to the second floor where the bedrooms were located. I ventured through the rooms one by one: the blue room that was my dad’s, Gram’s room, and the spare room with the weird angled ceiling. I looked inside the cubby hole above the stairs that once stored wool socks needing darning and stacks of old paperback books.

All of these spaces were empty. I was definitely searching, but for what?

I woke with a start. Deep down, I knew the dream wasn’t merely nostalgia. I was on a mission — looking for a forgotten object! I was certain of it and phoned home.

My mom answered.

“Hi, Mom, I have news,” I said.

“You didn’t quit school, did you?”

I laughed. “No! I’ve been having odd dreams where I’m walking through Gram’s house searching for something we left behind.”

“Oh, honey, dreams are just that — dreams. Gram’s house is empty. You know how many times it’s been rented since she died. We cleared out everything. I bet you’re just missing her.”

I grew defensive. “Yes, I miss Gram. But this isn’t about my feelings. This is different. Something of Gram’s is still in her house.”

“Well, I don’t know what to say, Patricia. Dad and I left nothing behind. Now, tell me about university. How’s it going?”

That night, the dream made its third and final appearance.

It picked up where the last dream had ended.

I was upstairs in the hall outside the bedrooms. I turned and walked downstairs to the kitchen, and then headed straight to a door in the corner that led to the cellar.

I never liked Gram’s cellar. It was one of those spooky spaces with a dirt floor, damp cement walls, a low ceiling, and spiders. I had only been in the cellar a few times. Once, I had ventured down and spotted a pair of black rubber boots resting on the floor without a person in them. I was scared silly. I ran back to the safety of tea and walnut-date cookies with Gram, slamming the door behind me. But in this dream, I took a deep breath and went down, unafraid.

I walked through the dim space to a large rectangular recess in the wall, a cool spot once used to store jars of preserves. I looked into the hole and felt the sadness of the dreams slip away, replaced by euphoria, because I saw a cardboard box!

Then I woke. I sat straight up in my bed, relieved.

I called my mom in the morning. I felt silly, but I had no choice. The dream was vivid. I couldn’t let it go.

My mom was busy when she answered the phone. “What can I do for you, honey? I’m baking quiches for the bridge club, and your dad’s on his way in from his shed for a coffee break.”

“I’ll be quick,” I said. “When do the land developers take possession of Gram’s property?”

“Later this week, before the weekend,” she said. “Why?”

“Shoot! I won’t be home before then. You and dad have to go to Gram’s. I had that dream again.”

“Oh, Patricia,” Mom said.

“Mom, I mean it. You have to go. I know where it is,” I said.

“Where what is?” she asked.

I realized I sounded crazy, but I wasn’t deterred. “I know it’s a strange request. I don’t know what it is, but I know where it is. You have to find it. If you don’t, I’ll have to skip class, drive home, and go myself.”

“You’re serious?” I heard the disbelief in her voice.

“Dead serious,” I said.

I heard my mom sigh. “I’ll talk to your dad. We’ll go.”

“It’s in the cellar. Check the wall for a cardboard box.”

“Fine. But I don’t want you to be disappointed. We cleared out everything.”

“Will you call me afterward?” I said.

“Sure will. Love you, sweetie.”

“I love you, too. And Mom?”

“Yes?”

“Thanks.”

I hung up.

Mom phoned me right after they visited Gram’s.

“Did you find it, Mom?” I asked.

There was a short pause before she spoke. “We went to the cellar. There was a box right where you said it was, but way at the back. It was hard to spot. Your dad used his flashlight.”

“I knew it!” My body relaxed. “What was inside?”

“A crystal chandelier. The one Gram had hanging in her living room. It’s awfully pretty.”

A sense of calm washed over me.

When I saw the chandelier a week later, my eyes welled with tears. My mom dusted off its leaf-shaped metal sides and its many sparkling, teardrop-shaped crystals.

We hung the charming fixture in my parents’ new home.

Gram’s chandelier will be displayed in a special spot wherever our family lives. When a recurring dream defies explanation and leads to treasure in a musty nook, there’s nothing left to do but admire its mysterious beauty!

~Patricia Miller

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