Metal Detector Used: Spectra VX3
Sometimes the value of a treasure that’s found or recovered is not measured by its worth in dollars, but by its worth in the priceless memories it holds.
I discovered this in 2006 after an older jet plane crashed into my home during the Oregon Air show. I wasn’t home at the time and luckily my dog managed to escape, but sadly the pilot was killed in the crash. The intense fire destroyed my home and surrounding landscaping, caused the home behind me to later have to be torn down, and severely damaged the upper story of the house next door.
There was such a pile of ash and debris to try to look through and most of my things were so damaged and burned that even though I did find some pictures and belongings worth keeping, I soon became disheartened with it all. Also, the fumes from the jet fuel on those hot summer days were overwhelming, so I finally decided it was time to stop sifting through the rubble and have the lot completely cleared of all the debris. But after everything was gone, I realized how little that I had actually recovered, and wondered if there might be more under the ground that maybe the front-end loaders had missed.
So I contacted my neighbor, Carl, who owns a metal detector (an XLT), to see if he could find anything else. He eagerly agreed. But although the trucks had carted off all the debris, Carl said the ground was still so saturated with metal that it was like trying to find a nickel in a thousand pull tabs. He had to rake the earth and move it around quite a bit to find anything, and discovered items anywhere from the surface of the ground to 12 inches down. He kindly continued to hunt, off and on for months, despite the lingering odor of the jet fuel and even after the rains came.
A lot of the metal that Carl found with his detector turned out to be small riveted pieces, bits of molten aluminum, and other parts of the plane, including metal tags with names and serial numbers on them. But one piece of metal he found was a silver and turquoise ring (now minus the burned-out turquoise) that I had received in a long-ago romance and another was a small piece of china from a gold-rimmed tea cup that a dear and now-deceased aunt had given me. Carl also found much of my collection of state quarters, which I added to the ones my neighbor also found that had blown onto his roof!
But perhaps most special of all was a collection of pieces that Carl put together that included many of the items he found that evoked fond memories for me. There’s a chip from my everyday dishes I had used, a piece of a favorite striped mug, a chip from my blue and white Willow bowl, and bits of brick from my house. Carl even added a small figurine of a dog, shown in full stride, just as my dog looked when she thankfully escaped the crash. I am very grateful for the collection Carl created, as it holds many fond memories of my life. And knowing that Carl found all these pieces and created this for me will continue to remind me that it’s the friendships that will remain even when so many material things have been destroyed.