Five dollars was a lot of money back in Depression days.  The five dollar gold piece was laying in the sand and gravel near the granary, and Mamma picked it up and stared at it in wonder.  Who could have lost it there?

Five dollars was a lot of money back in Depression days.  The five dollar gold piece was laying in the sand and gravel near the granary, and Mamma picked it up and stared at it in wonder.  Who could have lost it there?  Friends, relatives, post haulers, deer hunters-it could have been any of dozens of people who had been there recently or even in the dim past.  Around the coin was a narrow metal clasp which had once been screwed into something to make a watch fob.  News spread rapidly, but no one came to claim the treasure.  Mamma did not want to spend the five dollars, but whenever we had an urgent need, Bert Penix at the Corona Trading Company would buy the gold coin from Mamma and hold it for her until she could buy it back.  There was never a fee charge for these transactions.  This went on for several years, and I have no memory of what finally happened to the coin.  In 1940, Mamma asked my brother Lawrence to take her to California to visit her mother.

I was in college in Portales, New Mexico.  Papa made his home at Roswell.  Though they never divorced, Mamma and Papa had gone their separate ways several years before.  Mamma and my three younger brothers lived in Roswell for a time and then returned to Corona.  Lawrence understood that the trip to California was for a visit only, but he found himself working on a dairy farm to help support Mamma and the two younger boys.  I spent one winter with them there, but returned to Roswell which was more like home to me.  Also, Papa was a lonely man, and I felt that some of the family should stay with him, and so I lived between Portales and Roswell for several years.

I have sometimes wondered what finally happened to the gold coin.  I imagine that before leaving for California, Mamma borrowed the five dollars on it to help pay for the trip.  She had gone to California intending to remain near her parents and siblings, though Lawrence went expecting to return to New Mexico.  Dear Lawrence!  It was he who suffered most from our parents' separation.

I trust that the five dollar gold piece ended up with Bert Penix; but while Mamma kept access to it, that coin was a source of a bit of security for us during those growing up years.  It was worth that-just five dollars.  Today it would be worth much more.

Both Mamma and Bert Penix are gone now.  At least I assume that Mr. Penix is no longer living.  I have no idea if he was younger or older than my parents, but his daughter was near my age.  I understand that his daughter still lived in Corona.  I would like to see her again after all these years.  I recall her as being a kind and considerate person.  How could she be otherwise with a parent like Bert Penix?