John W Partington
suspend disbelief - have an adventure

A Treasure Hunt in a Small Town

It all starts with a fishing derby in 1979. My Dad was quite the angler in his youth, and won the Richmond All Ages Fish Derby on the local river. First prize was a thousand dollars. A thousand dollars in the 1970’s would be worth about ten thousand by today’s standards. To give you an idea, front row tickers to a major concert in Madison Square Garden were about ten dollars.

People always asked my Dad, as the story was related to me because I wasn’t even a glimmer in his eye at that point, what he was going to do with his wind fall.

“I’m going to buy apples,” he’d answer. People thought he was a fool, or a lunatic, or both.

Flashforward to today, and me hunched over his grave as mourners all wander away after the service. I’m picking up condoms that fell out of a box handed to me by the funeral director.

An envelope containing faded pages fell out with the condoms. I open it and read the first page; it’s date at the beginning of September 1979:

Dear Ryan:

Thank you for investing in my company. I’ll be sending your stock by separate service once we go public, but I just wanted you to welcome you to the family. It’s my dream that there be an Apple in every house in America one day, and then the world. Your thousand dollars is going to make it happen. You’re taking a risk, but I think we’re going to do something great together.



“What’s up?” Peter asks as I pour over the letter.

“We’re going on a scavenger hunt,” I answer as I look at a clue scrawled onto the page.

“The kids will be happy. What are we looking for?”

“Buried treasure. One thousand dollars worth of bearer bonds from day one of Apple going public.”

“Excuse me?” Peter balks.

“It turns out,” I whisper even though there’s nobody left to hear me, “my Dad and Steve Jobs were friends. Dad got issued bonds for Apple, and has hidden them somewhere.”

“Like a safety deposit box?” Peter asks.

“When did my Dad ever use a bank?” I think back on my childhood and never recall my Dad ever using a credit card or having an ATM card. He paid cash for everything.

“How much stock are we talking about?”

“One thousand dollars worth.” I see Peter do some mental math in that geek way that investors do.

“That’s worth about nine million today,” he announces.

“Shh,” I hiss.

“How do we find this mystery money?”

“It starts with a brick. Let’s go to Mom’s house.”

“The house is sold Jess. We can’t go there anymore.”

“I’ll figure something out along the way. Let’s just go to the house.”

Show me what I can buy:

Go to the Bookshop