Sometimes valuables are hidden in plain sight
|Carlos discovered a old wooden cigar box under a pile of shoes in the back of his grandmother's closet. Staring at the shoes, now spread all over the floor around him, he pondered at their purpose.
The shoes were old. Not just that they looked old in style. they were covered and a fine layer of dust that seemed embedded into the creases of the shoes. Why had her grandmother kept them. More out of curiosity than need, he picked up one and saw a European size on the inside. After checking a few more he observed the shoes were not the same size.
"I'll work that out later," he muttered. This time he reached for the wooden box. This box had seen a lot of wear. It was scuffed and scratched. The cigar logo was barely visible and the tiny brass lock had turned green. It wouldn't budge no matter how hard he tried to pry the lock apart. Taking out his knife he wedged it in the lock and after a lot of grunting and using leverage, the lock broke, pieces flying all over the closet.
The lid popped off as the contents spilled across his jeans and on to the floor. An odd smell filled his nostrils and he wrinkled his nose, hoping to ward off a sneeze.
The contents held a mixture of memorabilia. Pictures, bits of jewelry and stone, a couple of folded letters lay like wings ready to take flight. He picked those up first. He was a reporter with a nose for the unique. The paper, old airmail parchment. thin and see through. The ink seemed as fresh as it had been when it was written. He checked the date in the upper left hand corner, July 1942.
My Darling Greta, The letter began. Greta? Who was Greta? His grandmother's name was Hilda. He went on to read the letter. It was from a woman named Elsa. The letter went on about their daily lives until the author began to tell Greta about the capture of family in the town next to theirs. It was a detailed account. It sounded like many a story he'd read in books and seen in WWII movies.
The author continued to say she and their brother were able to escape and were on their way to to safety. She would send another letter when she could.
Carlos folded the letter and set it down next to a brown shoe.