Pieces of the Lost Treasure

The Farm

Everyone who lived here had to take a vow of poverty and give everything they had to the community. All money and possessions were communal. Some of the things we had in our bus were secret. Our peacock feather wasn’t secret but it should be, staring at it’s incredible beauty shining in the sunlight was one of my favorite things. My mom brought it from New York and we were so lucky she got to keep it. I hope we get to keep it always. Positioned in the bus windows above my bed, I wanted to look at it’s iridescent colors forever.


Our peacock feather, me and Sky on my bed in our bus.


Deborah had other beautiful treasures I liked to look at. The illegal jewelry that she was suppose to have gotten rid of because you weren’t suppose to have fancy things like jewelry. But she still had some of her most special jewelry in a little box. Somehow I knew she felt kind of grumbly about “them” wanting her to get rid of her things that she really loved – like the earrings her good friend gave her. I was completely enthralled with these big silver diamond shapes with little bells. Some of the neatest things I’d ever seen. I loved taking them out and fantasizing about wearing them someday. My mom had pierced ears but she couldn’t wear them or people would see she still had them. We had to keep them hidden in this little box. I liked our secret treasure.

It was about a mile and a half -really, really far I thought- up the dusty dirt road to go give “The Bank Lady” any money I got from my grandparents in my birthday card. The bank lady sat at the special white building across the road from the horse barn.Β When I would get a card with paper in it my mom would get me dressed, put on my shoes, coat and hat, hand me my paper to carry and off we’d go. After our long march on this strange mission, I would stand in front of The Bank Lady, waiting for some other people to stop talking to her. She had long pretty, brown hair flowing over her shoulders. Then I’d hand her my paper from my Grandparents.Β The Bank Lady wrote something down and put it in a little metal box..
Toys were a scarce, precious commodity. Any plastic toy was rare and other-worldly. The sheer delight I felt when my grandparents sent me two Barbie dolls, one girl, one boy, was overwhelming. I had never seen barbie dolls before, no one had barbie dolls! It was the best thing ever! Little people to play with? And they could bend? And they were mine? I felt like shaking, shuddering, crying, calling out and parting the heavens for pure ecstatic joy. As I ran from our bus to the house I could glide and the whole world was smiling at me, everything was beautiful and shining and wonderful, the sunshine loved me, the wind was laughing with me, the leaves on the trees were dancing in celebration, I was floating on bubbles made from fairies -exquisite, fabulous barbie doll fairies- blowing me kisses. I was the happiest, luckiest girl in the entire world.
For about 1 day.
After dazzling all the house kids with my amazing dolls, spending a whole day in the house playing and sharing my incredible new dolls with the house kids, something very, very, very, very horrible happened.
On the 2nd day of being the luckiest girl in the world – where were my dolls? They were right here, where did they go? Desperately, I searched and searched everywhere, inside and out and asked everyone. No one knew. I just kept searching. They had to be somewhere. I had to find them. Searching and searching my heart was sinking and breaking that I could not find them. I would not give up until I found them. I would look everywhere. I just had to find the best thing that I had ever, and possibly would ever, own. Everyone watched me keep searching. They seemed to have a solemn look on their faces.
Then, finally, one of the adults stopped me from my austere, determined searching and looked me right in the face and said that Jeffrey, one of the older boys who liked to torment me, cut them up and threw them under the house. I was horrified.
But I could still get the pieces and maybe put them back together somehow!
I darted outside running to the place that had an opening under the house. It was dark and damp. I stuck my head under smelling the musty dankness, all senses acutely scanning for the dismembered body parts. As my eyes adjusted I didn’t see them anywhere. I kept looking. Then I saw something. A piece of the flesh colored rubber. I picked it up and looked at it. But, what in the world? Why was it so tiny? It shouldn’t be tiny. Cut up barbie dolls should be in large chunks like I imagined when the person told me they were cut up. But then I found another piece and then, oh for love of God, no, God!! Please no, God. Noooo! The tears gushed uncontrollably from my face as I picked up tiny piece after tiny piece. Hundreds of tiny pieces lay in the dark dirt completely shredded into nothing but specks of plastic unrecognizable of anything it had ever been. No, I wasn’t going to be able to put the pieces back together at all. My brand new, best present that I had ever gotten was dead and shredded and gone forever.

25 thoughts on “Pieces of the Lost Treasure

  1. Heart breaking story. I used to feel bad about the kids on the Farm having no toys. But by the time my foster kid was 1, there were toys. That was 1979, I remember her having a barn with a door that would “moo” and plastic animals. But I don’t remember dolls. So sad. So sorry you had to live such a senselessly austere life!

  2. Been missing your blog, glad to see this post! Many thanks for sharing. Somehow, I get the feeling you probably don’t now have a house full of barbie dolls to ‘make-up’ for your youth. πŸ™‚

    • Funny you ask, I have another story I’m finishing up about how the boys did not get in trouble for torturing me.
      I don’t know if he got in trouble for this. I don’t remember him apologizing. Part of me actually wonders if things like fake, plastic Barbie dolls were so frowned upon, that maybe he was ‘allowed’ to do it. They all kind of seemed to know and maybe thought I would just give up searching but finally told me when it became apparent I was never going to stop looking until I found them…

    • I too lived on the Farm, and many of my experiences were quite negative – having to do with “punishment.” The thing is, I rec’d 2 gifts while there – one was a Sasha doll that my grandmother came to give me all the way from Chicago, another was a MickeyMouse Lunch Pail – both of which were taken immediately and destroyed by other kids. The lunch pail lasted about 5 minutes – they wanted to see it, and promptly ran over it with their bikes. The doll (I was at a friends) and her brother threw it down into “the shitter.” We then threw his shoes into the Shitter for what he did. His parents came home and spanked the SHIT out of me. This is what I remember most about the Farm – being severly punished by other people who weren’t my parents. I don’t remember it happing so badly to other kids….I am mixed (white/black) and this was what – 1973…I have to wonder if somehow I was punished more severly due to the racial climate. Of course these so called hippies weren’t supposed to be racist…but when I think about how I was handled – I have to wonder. Once, me and another black kid named Emanual were late to school. (the little one house schoolroom). They told us we had probably been “balling” in the woods and then spanked the shit out of both of us….I don’t get it. We were all of five years old….I remember another kid telling me we were going to “ball” he was maybe 12…again I was 5 and he took both of our clothes off and he laid on me….Nothing more – but it scared the shit out of me. Another time, someone forced me to eat an Avacado by shoving it down my throat and I’ve never eaten one since…So again – I don’t know other kids experiences because I haven’t talked to them. I do now know the exp. about toys the lady who wrote this blog posted, so that didn’t seem to be any different. From what I remember, no one was punished but me – for those 2 toy incidents, lol…Anyone have a different experience? We ended up leaving the Farm because my dad got really sick. His appendix burst, they told him he wasn’t being spiritual enough…not to take him into Nashville to see the doc…he nearly died. Finally my mom took him and that’s when they found out that they actually had burst. We left very soon after that…a lot of head trips going on, etc…wasn’t so great. Wasn’t ALL bad, but yeah a lot of stuff that shouldn’t have been going on was going on. Again, my main memory was lots of other parent’s kids spanking me really really hard…to this day I don’t get along w/ my mom, and I have to wonder if I felt that she wasn’t protecting me as a kid. I don’t know where it came from or why – but it’s origin started there on the Farm. She was young, and I know she didn’t know about all the times that it happened. She found out about a few and didn’t let me see or be around (alone) this one lady who was especially harsh on me…but I don’t think she knew the full extent of it?
      Thanks, Valena

      • Hi Valena,
        You’re a bit older than me, the one room school and forced meditation were before my days..but you definitely weren’t the only one who got spanked by other people. I got spanked by other parents – although not nearly as much as my brother did, lol. I hated when people spanked him. I mentioned it earlier in the blog… Lots and lots of kids got spanked by random people, it’s one of the main complaints that come from the kid generations. It is a little mind boggling how a “non-violent” commune was so obsessed with spanking, ha. I don’t think they were racist, but I do think they were somewhat ageist…
        But I am trying to write the blog just telling it from my perspective as a kid, objectively as possible without my adult hindsight and judgments. πŸ™‚

      • Wow! You’d think that hitting kids would be near the top of the list of things that need to be changed in society…… My father used to hit me, and I can only assume that his mother hit him. I made a conscious effort not to hit my daughter.

    • Aww, thanks πŸ™‚ Actually, I had no idea when writing it that I would cry, but now I totally can’t read it without crying either, lol! If I ever get an acting gig that requires crying, I’ll just bring a copy of this story, haha! πŸ˜‰

      • Hi, are you the one who wrote this? please let me know if you are…I like it a lot. I see myself in one of the pics..My name is Valena and I’m mixed (white/black) may help ya remember me better…..but yeah was just wanting to connect w/ you to ask some questions. I wrote a reply to someone above about if those boys that did that to your toy were punished…you can read and see what I was talking about if you like, and pls feel free to email me when you have a moment. I’d really like to know more about what other kids went through – if it was the same for them as it was for me. Thanks so much – Valena

  3. I love your blog. You write very beautifully – I hope you are working on a book? I was raised in a Sikh ashram, so I identify with some of your stories, but really, I love that your stories are also really just about childhood. The way you tell a story is so compelling – you have a special gift! Thanks!

  4. Many a holy person has spent some part of their life in an austere time ~
    It was for GalaxC Girl to fulfill this part of her journey early in life ~
    And from toy less kid to GalaxC Girl, what a journey it has been ~

  5. I too grew up in a situation of voluntary poverty, though not in a communal situation. My parents were college graduates and could have had a very comfortable middle-class lifestyle. They chose to live simply in a small travel trailer, subsisting on whatever part-time work they could pick up. My mother made stuffed dolls and my dad made wooden toys for us. It was a wonderful way to grow up and shaped my adulthood in a way that nothing else could have done.

  6. Are you sure Jeffreys real name wasn’t Charles Manson? Lol
    I really love hearing these interesting, truthful stories about the hippie life and communes. They appear to be such a beautiful way of life, and I daresay they can be, although there are always downsides, or dark sides, rather. I find a lot of gaps and silences when it comes to the hippie life, and as you say, some people are arrogant and strict in a sense that plastic dolls, money and savouring charmed, sentimental possessions are frowned upon. I thought the hippie life was more free than that . . . do what you want, as long as it harm none and doesn’t harm the earth, etc.
    I’m still somewhat attractive to these lifestyles, regardless.

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