Another Day, Another Schoolhouse

  • August 10, 2015

It happened today. I was at church, watching my children skip across the rows of sanctuary chairs like circus acrobats–when a visitor posed the question, “You’re that metal detecting girl, right?” I must have blushed ten shades of red. Had he been a regular at our church, I probably wouldn’t have been so flattered–but he was just visiting for a baby dedication that morning. He recognized me from my blog! I asked if he metal detected–nope, he just followed my blog. Needless to say, this stranger made my day–perhaps even my month… dare I say year? This must qualify for celebrity status? Okay, maybe not.

After church, I took my newly acquired celebrity status and went scouting for a new permission. Luckily, my parents took my son with them after church–so it was just Sissy and I. We drove around for awhile on back roads–making the driver behind us crazy every time I braked for a home with a stone foundation. (As I’ve mentioned in previous posts–when I hunt for permissions, I try to find locations where the owner is already outside. In my opinion, knocking on doors is risky because you never know what you’re interrupting–and you could be setting yourself up for rejection.)

On this epic adventure–as I fondly refer to these aimless excursions–Sissy and I happened upon Mt. Zion. Mt. Zion is a quaint little village that was erected in the mid-to-late eighteen-hundreds–complete with cute little chapel, one-room schoolhouse, retired general store, and about six homes with glorious stone foundations. As a matter of fact, I actually drive by this village every time I venture to the grocery store, but I’ve never had the guts to stop and request permission to dig there.

11828541_1665934540308993_6700924208892093907_nThis morning’s encounter at church must have given me some gumption, because the owner was out trimming hedges and I seized the opportunity to ask permission to detect the schoolhouse. (If you follow my blog, you know I have a terrible weakness for schoolhouses.)

The owner–Sue–was more than thrilled to give Sis and I a tour of the property. She proudly drew my attention to the original panes in the windows, the sloped wooden planking on the ceiling, and the rescued outhouse door propped in the corner. She intends to restore the structure to its original glory–down to the smallest detail. She’d even pieced together bits from a spare shutter to fix one that had broken. I admit, I was in awe of her and her love for that small brick schoolhouse. As many of you–especially other hobbyists–know, people like Sue are rare. Heck, some people are even trying to erase history these days… but that’s a topic for another day.

The more I talked with Sue, the more I admired her. We have a lot in common–we both love cats, history, and antiques. Not to mention, we both come from New England…. the same small town in New England–East Greenwich, RI. What are the odds of that? It must have been fate that I met Sue.

11855722_1665934610308986_111088344795990154_nAs Sissy started to lose steam–and laid down on the concrete stoop–I tried squeezing in a quick swing with my new Makro Racer. Let me tell you, this machine is the unsung hero of the mid-grade machines. When you start talking $500-$600 metal detectors, most people go straight for the AT Pro. I’ve used both machines and I’ve got to admit… I’m falling pretty quickly for this Makro Racer. I’m using the 5″ x 4.5″ DD coil that came with the Pro Pack–because I hunt a lot of trashy old homesites with countless pull-tabs and bottle caps. This machine has remarkable pinpoint accuracy, which leads to a quick recovery speed–something I really appreciate when I’m digging targets between kids throwing clumps of grass clippings at one another. On a side note, I also like the big screen–which is probably not a big deal to most of you, but my eyes are failing me fast for a mere twenty-six years old. (Soon to be twenty-seven.)11825742_1665934630308984_4201138256944135097_n

So while my daughter snoozed, I tested the Racer. I dug my first hit, which rang up somewhere between 40-55. I pulled a piece of aluminum out of the hole and kept poking around with my pin-pointer. Sue hovered over me in anticipation. I was really hoping for something decent… and then this soft chunk of metal popped out. I started rubbing it with my fingers and a design began to appear. I suspected it may be a piece of a crotal bell, but someone else suggested it might be part of a spoon–which would make sense based on my previous luck of finding spoons at schoolhouses.

And with that curious find, I reluctantly packed my gear into the back of the Subaru. Juliette–Sissy, rather–had just about enough epic adventure for one day. I promised Sue that I would return soon and kindly excavate the schoolyard for treasures left behind by the children. I’m not sure who’s more excited–me or her.

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