X Marks The Spot

When I was in third or fourth grade during the mid 1980's, a classmate and friend of mine had a fun idea to draw maps on notebook paper. I can't remember exactly where the idea came from. Maybe one of my father's old pirate books, or maybe from watching some old pirate movie. Whatever the case was, my buddy and I loved drawing maps during class. We had a whole Tapper Keeper (remember those?) full of maps containing alternate routes, monsters, traps, and secret passages. "X" always marked the spot though. Could there be a golden treasure there? Or maybe a buried chest full of valuable jewels. Who knew? What we did know is that drawing them was fun, and a much needed distraction from our studies. I mean who needs math or history or science when there is buried treasure to be found and monsters to fight?

Sadly, we had a little too much fun, and way too many maps. One fateful and frightful day during class at Holy Trinity Elementary School, the teacher (who as an adult became a good friend of mine until she passed away several years ago) discovered our secret drawings during class and made me throw all the maps in the trash. I still remember my partner in crime watching me and saying in the saddest voice I would ever hear "all those maps." Yes, it was a dark day in deed. Hidden treasures would never be found and monsters would roam free, attacking some innocent explorer who got lost because the teacher made me throw all the maps away.

We never did fully recover from that most horrific of that is still etched in the deep recesses of my mind. We never made maps again. As kids do, we found other ventures to occupy our wondering minds with. To this day I can still - sort of - picture what some of the maps looked like. I dare try to recreate one and open the flood gates of emotions and memories. Sometimes things are better left hidden. Or are they?

About six or seven years ago when I came across the House of the Unusual webpage and met the owner, Eddie, I placed an order for a few items that caught my eye, one of them being a replica treasure map! the map was beautifully illustrated with red and blue ink and produced on parchment paper that made it look and feel like something that Long John Silver himself would have used.

When my items came I made sure to save the map for last and let the anticipation build. then, as I grabbed the envelope and took out the sealed treasure map, my surroundings change. No longer was I in my office, but on deck of a battle worn pirate ship sailing the harsh ocean. I could feel the ocean breeze and taste the salty air on my tongue. As the ship rocked side to side I struggled to open the map and and decipher its contents. Was another Scurvy Dog trying to get his eyes on my prize? If the Captain found out I had a secret treasure map I'd be shark bait for sure.

But alas, I was back in my study, and safe within the confines of my humble still in hand! Should I pack my bags and leave in search of riches beyond imagination? Or should I frame the map and enjoy its astucious beauty? I think somewhere along the lines of the latter will have to suffice for least until I can gather some good treasure hunting gear.

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