Metal Detector Used: Other (800-0284)
Sunday afternoon, I was in a shabby, rather Bohemian part of a modest Florida beach town, somewhere south of the Treasure Coast. I'd gone there looking for yard sales. It reminded me of South Beach in the 1980's. After a few hours driving around to yard sales and making a few purchases, I decided to check out some prospective metal detecting sites in the area that I had researched online and place-marked in Google maps. One was just a few blocks away. I drove over, and there it was, just as it appeared in Google street view.
As I swept the grass strip between the street and the sidewalk with my DFX, a young woman walked by. She frequently glanced backward as she walked. She joined up with a man and a woman standing on the sidewalk at the far end of the property I was working along, which adjoined a commercial parking lot on Federal Highway. Shortly, there were several more young folk gathered there. Then, two older gentlemen in their 60's, a salt and pepper pair, walked by towards the young folk. I nodded to them.
"Find anything good?" one of them asked me. I shook my head. "Nah, 'fraid not." I replied.
The group at the far end of the yard was now about a dozen, mostly, but not all, young, some conversing, and perhaps, exchanging...I dunno, maybe keepsakes. I didn't want to appear too curious. There were several more people crossing the street. The air was charged with...expectation. Even though they seemed to be just loitering, basically, there was a purpose about these folks, of something important happening. It had been months since I had felt that way about metal detecting. I had had little time or money to get out anywhere new or good to detect, and I had found nothing in a long time, and had just about lost the expectation of finding anything exciting. Life felt flat.
I noticed the girl with the wings tattoo ride off. At that moment, I was distracted from this curious demonstration by a very high silver reading on my DFX. Out of the dirt I fished a white metal pair of wings about an inch and a half wide, with what looked like an ice cream cone, or a diamond, between the wings. There was some writing on the back, but it was too small, I couldn't read it. I thought it might be a metal logo that had fallen off a pair of jeans, but the very high VDI was atypical for that sort of tag. I dropped the wings into my pouch with the clad and the trash, to be checked out later.
I stood up and glanced around...everyone had vanished. Just like that. Strange. I kept at it for another 20 minutes or so, trying some neighboring strips, but then decided the adjoining properties did not fit my criteria, and I shouldn't keep at it just because I was there. I went back to my car, and was sitting in the driver’s seat with the door open, examining the wings. I used a loupe to read the writing on the back. "Sterling." There was a catch and a neat patch of solder on the back where a pin had once been attached.
I noticed one of the old men, the white one, walking up to my car. "Can you spare a dollar for a fella to buy some food?" he asked me. "Uh, yeah, if you don't mind the color of the coins I just dug up," I said, showing him a brown quarter. "That's OK," he answered,
I pulled the coins out of the pouch, all of which added up to a bit less than a dollar. "Just save me the wheat-back penny," I requested. He looked through the coins and handed the correct penny back to me. The wings were still in my hand. The old man saw it.
"Did you just dig that up, too?" he asked. "Yes, "I said, "but I'm not sure what it is." "Can I see it?" he asked. "Uh...sure," I answered, with just a moment's hesitation that I hoped he hadn't noticed.
The old man examined the pin briefly. "These are paratroop wings." he declared. Instantly, I knew he was right. He handed them back to me, and I stared in awe at the wings that were suddenly freighted with history and value.
It was as if he had performed a miracle. "Thanks, man." I said. "Well, thank you," he replied indicating his handful of change.Larry