In the inaugural episode of the podcast, we go on a hunt for buried treasure inside of a suburban home, following clues left behind by the recently deceased.
Dr. Kim Corson tells the tale of how she was sure that her dying father, with whom she'd had a difficult relationship, had given away a precious piece of jewelry. After he passed, she was shocked to find herself literally digging up treasure he'd left behind in his home, leading to a kind of unbelievable discovery.
Welcome to Tiny Histories, the podcast that tells the big stories behind the small things. I'm your host Dacia Clay. On this show, you're going to hear true stories told by the people that they happen to. Each story revolves around a person, place or thing. Think of them kind of like historical markers in that person's life. By the way, Tiny Histories is a big endeavor run by a small crew. You can find ways to support the show and you can find out how to share your own tiny history that tinyhistoriespodcast.com. Remember to subscribe to, rate, and review the show wherever you listen. We decided to kick off the podcast with a story from the person who kind of unwittingly inspired its creation, Dr. Kim Corson. Or as I know her Kim. Kim is a natural born storyteller. And during a marathon virtual hangout that we had this past year, she told one of the weirdest origin stories I've ever heard. It was all about how it came to be that her mom said the family dog on a piece of plastic wrap next to a banana. Yeah, I know. We'll circle back to that story one day. But the important part is that after I heard that story, I couldn't stop thinking about the idiosyncratic origin stories that we all have. Stories that when put together, make up our personal histories--like the history of our individual lives here on Earth. And my head exploded a little bit when I realized how many stories like that are lost to time. So I created this podcast to capture a few of them. In this episode, Kim is telling a different story. It's an adventure story about buried treasure, that's kind of like an Alfred Hitchcock mystery, or a one act play that takes place entirely inside of a suburban home. Stick around after the story to find out more about Kim. Here we go.Kimberly Corson:
So my mother's wedding ring, is...it was just it was a very dainty, simple ring. But that ring was incredibly important to me. It just it...when I saw it, I saw my mom. And it was the one thing that I definitely wanted to make sure I had, because she got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014, or 2013. And when she passed away, my father and I were in an interesting relationship with each other because my father wasn't incredibly kind to my mom during their marriage. And we struggled a little bit--a little more than a little bit. And actually, soon after she died, he got diagnosed with cancer as well. So there was a bit of a strained relationship between the two of us. I kept more physical boundaries from him, you know, kept in touch, but I didn't really show up there. And I always just sort of assumed that he was keeping the ring safe, that the ring was always going to be there. And then as he started really declining, I was living out of state at the time. So I was making plans to come down and be there for him while he was in the hospital. And I found out during that process of time that he had given much of my mom's things, including any of her jewelry and other personal effects to a friend of the family, who it seemed that she was being very opportunistic, about many of the things that were my mom's. And so I was concerned because I wasn't sure exactly where the wedding ring had gone. And so after he passed away, I'm an only child. So a lot of things fell on my plate in terms of settling an estate and selling my childhood home that they had lived in for all 50 years of their marriage. And so I...I was there cleaning out the home with some good friends of mine. And we were getting it prepared for an estate sale. And we were looking everywhere just to try to find the the wedding ring and it just wasn't popping up. And my heart was pretty broken about that because it was the you know, it was the only thing that I really wanted. It was the it had such sentimental value for me. And I just wanted to make sure that I had that to remember my mom by and I really wanted my dad's ring as well. You know, despite the fact that we had a strained relationship. I still wanted his ring. It was just something that I wanted to keep of the two of them and I couldn't find that one either. And we had cleaned the entire house and we had everything ready and we hadn't found it and I you know, I had kind of resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to be found. I was actually I would look through old pictures and I was thinking, "Oh, at least I have the photos of it, I can still look at those photos, and I can still see it and I can still think about it." So what's interesting about my dad is that he grew up in the Depression era, my dad grew up very poor on a farm. And so he had this kind of scarcity mindset. You had to stash things. You couldn't trust, you couldn't trust places to put things you could put things in the bank, but you always wanted to make sure that you you stashed things away in case that bank failed. And you just sort of had that, that mindset. And so I've always known that he was this person who had idiosyncrasies, and that did secretive things and had secret stashes and stuff like that. I didn't realize to the extent, but I found out, I did, I did know that he did. And as I was actually cleaning out his sock drawer, for example, I found...I literally was throwing the socks into a bag because it was going to take it to one of those places that recycles clothing. And I felt something crunch when I was holding one of the socks. And I thought, "What is this?" And I already put the majority of socks in the bag. So I opened up the balled up sock and found $1 bill in there. And I'm like what's going on. So then I had to pull out all of the socks from the garbage bag. And I found all of these coins, like quarters and dollar bills and things stashed in all of these socks. And I thought, "What else is in this house?" Because he was the type of person that would kind of squirrel things away. We started looking everywhere. My husband went on this, like Sherlock Holmes, treasure hunt. And then my other friends, we were all just searching around the house. And for example, we we found some stuff hidden under a laundry hamper, you know, like, like, actually, you had to remove a board, there was a loose board in the laundry hamper, and he had stuffed you know, some papers and things under there, you know. And it was just like, actually, in the midst of this, we weren't even sure where her will was we had his but we just needed to make sure we had all these papers. And he had stuffed those in places so that it was this true actual treasure hunt in this home from the 1960s. Just running around this home trying to find everything. Again, though, even with trying to find all these things, I really truly thought that the ring was gone. I thought that this family friend had it. Because she had already kind of grasped a couple of other rings that were my mom's that were also important to me. So I assumed that she had it. So I hadn't really given that much thought but I was still walking around looking for things. And so I was in the living room and I was cleaning the fireplace to get everything to look nice for the sale. And I noticed that one of the bricks was loose. So I started kind of brushing that off because it had the mortar dust. And I moved the brick and I saw something so I pulled it out and in there was this little bag inside the hole where the brick was and I thought, "What in the world?" Something else that he had stashed away. So I pulled it out. And no one was around me at the time. Everybody was off like busy bees doing all these things. So I was by myself and I open up this bag, and inside are both wedding rings. And I stopped. I'm just dumbstruck. I'm like, "Oh my gosh! Here they are!" And so I don't exactly remember what I did. But it's something in me, I remember that everyone came in. So I don't know if I screamed, or if I said, "Oh my gosh, guys come here!" But everyone rushed in. And I just remember standing there my hands shaking and holding this bag open. And there are the rings in there. And everyone is just floored. And that was actually the moment that we sort of stopped doing the treasure hunt because that was the only thing that mattered anymore. It was I had the rings, if there were more things stashed in it, oh my gosh, whoever bought that house that I'm sure they're wandering, you know, wandering around, still finding things. But I had my treasure. I had my treasure in that bag. And I just remember pulling them out. And just looking at that ring and holding it and knowing that I finally had I had my treasure. I had the thing that reminded me of my mom and then my dad's ring was in there too. So I had both of them. And it was just a tiny thing that just brought me so much joy and so much peace really because that was that was a moment of closure for me. It played a very big part in my grief process and my grief journey, because I knew that my dad knew that that was important and that he had stashed that away and I just kind of felt that there was something guiding me to find it that day and I did. In addition to being a great storyteller Kim Corson is a developmental psychologist and a wellness change and resilience coach. Find out more about her and her services at drkimcorson.com. That's drkimcorson.com. You can also hear her and yours truly on the Dr. Kimcast wherever you listen to podcasts. Links to all this and more in our show notes. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Tiny histories. We hope it got you thinking about your own stories, and if it did, we'd love to hear from you. Tell us your story, at tinyhistoriespodcast.com And if you do, we might just hit you up to share your story on the podcast or in the Tiny Newsletter. You can find a link to the Tiny Newsletter, show notes and photos of our storytellers, ways to engage with us, and ways to support the show at tinyhistories podcast.com Tiny Histories is written, hosted, and produced by me Dacia Clay. Our theme music is by the inimitable NAT Evans. To find out more about net go to natevansmusic.com Tiny Histories is a production of Pillow Fort Studios.