Hide and Seek. I’m a Hider

My Not-So-Secret Shame

Hide and Seek

Some people are hoarders. I’m a hider.

I come by it dishonestly, but the dishonesty wasn’t mine. Honestly!

Let me explain.

When I was in high school, our home in Las Vegas was broken into. Fortunately, not much was taken. The police said we were “lucky.” It was “just kids,” looking for liquor and cash.

When I was in college, our apartment in NYC was robbed. This time we were not so lucky. The thieves stole all of my mother’s jewelry. It was heartbreaking. She lost many lovely and sentimental pieces that were irreplaceable.

Years later, my own apartment in sleepy little Carson City, Nevada, was broken into. As I walked in the front door, the robber ran out of the back sliding glass door. All that was taken was my TV, but my nerves were rattled beyond measure. A sweet boyfriend – the future Handsome Hubby – quickly installed an alarm system, but the harm was done. I hated the apartment from that day forward and I became a “hider.”

Hide and Seek Begins

I didn’t have much jewelry at the time, but what I had I hid. It wasn’t that my rings and things were so valuable, but they were sentimental and, having witnessed my mother’s pain, I knew I didn’t want to experience it. So, a ring went into a shoe; a bracelet went into a pillow, and so on.

My system worked pretty well when I was young. My memory was good, especially since those were the years of uninterrupted – i.e. pre-children – sleep.

But the system started breaking down when I married. Thanks to Handsome Hubby, my jewelry got fancier, which kicked up the need for more elaborate hiding places. But simultaneously the babies came along and sleep deprivation kicked in. My memory grew foggier. When we played hide and seek, we often searched for misplaced jewelry!

One time I tucked my late Grandma’s wedding band, a sweet, delicate diamond delight, into a pair of shorts for safekeeping. This seemed a smart move. I rarely wore shorts. (Have you seen my legs? Not likely.) I could not find that ring for three years. And for all those years, I lived in abject fear my eagle-eyed mother would notice I wasn’t wearing that beloved ring. I finally “found” it one 107-degree day in Las Vegas. Standing around watching my children play softball, I dug my hands in my pockets, attempting to stay upright in the burning sun. I felt something small, round, and hard. The ring! I couldn’t believe it. I started swaying and crying. People thought I was suffering from heatstroke!

Woman, Get Thee to a Bank Vault!

Eventually, I wised up and rented a bank safe deposit box. But that’s really not a great solution. If you want to wear something secured in your own personal Fort Knox, you have to first locate the safe’s key – problematic for memory-challenged moi. Then you have to remember to make time and go to the bank. After that, you face the terrifying twin prospects of unwittingly dropping some other bobble on the bank floor while retrieving the item you’ve come for and/or of being robbed in the bank parking lot.

And the trauma doesn’t end with jewelry retrieval.

After you wear your bling, you must return it to the vault, repeating the entire terrifying ritual in reverse. AND, if you cannot get to the bank immediately, you’ve got to, yes, you guessed it, hide the precious piece of silver or gold somewhere in your house! In which case, you have to wonder: why bother with the bank vault in the first place?

Worse Yet

Once I removed savings bonds from the safe deposit box to review their due dates. We had purchased the bonds years before for our children’s college educations and I thought they might be approaching their maturity dates. (The bonds, not the kids. I’m still waiting on the kids to mature, now both in their late 20s.)

I thought I’d returned the bonds to the bank but apparently, I was wrong. Instead, I did one of those putting-them-away-for safe-keeping moves which resulted in a FIVE-YEAR surreptitious search for them. I say “surreptitious” because I told no one, and by “no one” I mean I didn’t tell Handsome Hubby I could not locate them.

For some reason, I felt “fairly” confident no one had taken then, but still I felt pretty stupid having misplaced the source of our children’s educational funding.

Eventually, I fessed up to HH … and to Uncle Sam! My punishment? I had to complete pages of paperwork to obtain replacement bonds from the US Treasury.

The Upshot?

No sooner than you could say, “Hey, moron, here are your replacement bonds,” I, of course, found the original bonds.

I was plumping up the cushions of my Grandma’s antique chair in the living room. I lifted the seat cushion, and you guessed it: there was the folder with the bonds.

Lassie, our cleaning lady, more aunt than a household helper, was in the room vacuuming, and she looked up as I let out a gasp and “Halleluiah.”

I explained I had been searching for the bonds for years. Lassie’s calm reply?

“Really, I always wondered why you kept them there. It seemed a little odd. You should have mentioned you were looking for them.”

And Today

Now that I’m older and my memory is decidedly more muddled, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson from these constant catastrophes. But sadly, no. I still hide things.

Now, however, I leave myself notes – written in Russian – to remind myself where I’ve stashed miscellaneous rings and assorted babbles. When I travel, I somehow always remember to leave a copy of that note – along with the phone number of a Russian-speaking girlfriend – for Handsome Hubby and the kids.

Meanwhile, the important stuff is in the safe deposit box, but as for the key to that box? Well, HH and the kids are on their own for that. I haven’t found that thing in a year!

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