Featured The Orangeburg Story

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by lordmarcovan, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    In 1994 a North Carolina coin dealer told me this tale, or the bare bones of it, anyway.

    It allegedly happened near Orangeburg, South Carolina, in the wake of the wide swath of destruction wrought by Hurricane Hugo on the Carolina Lowcountry.

    Now bear in mind that the tale I'm about to tell you is from a secondhand word-of-mouth story I heard 24 years ago, so it's been embellished over many retellings, and by now it's more legend than factual account.

    (Edit: and I've embellished it even more here, after making it into sort of a short serial. Ever go to the movies and see "Based On Actual Events" at the beginning of the film? Well, sometimes you've got 90% fiction painted atop 10% fact. Think of this tale that way, though even the few "facts" are hearsay. But something like this might have happened. I for one like to believe that it did.)

    I found the story plausible the way it was told to me.

    Anyway ...

    Once upon a time, around the year 1989, there was a homeowner near Orangeburg, SC, who was cleaning up storm damage on his property. A giant live oak tree had been toppled by Hurricane Hugo, which was an extremely devastating major hurricane.

    I imagine the scene might have looked something like this photo I took last September, when Hurricane Irma felled two big oaks onto my father's house here in coastal Georgia. And that one was just a "near miss"!

    (That's my daughter standing next to the root mass of one of the fallen trees. Note the roofline of Dad's house in the background.)


    So anyway, imagine this guy with a fallen oak in his yard. He has a tree crew come out, and there are chainsaws roaring for a day or two, until it's all cut up and hauled away.

    But then there's this great big deep crater left in his yard, where the roots of the tree had been in the ground for a very long time. Centuries, probably.

    What's he to do? Well, our homeowner gets himself a truckload of fill dirt brought in, and fills in the crater where the huge tree had been, tamping it down and packing the dirt into the hole as firmly as he can, so that it won't subside later. Eventually, he'll probably lay some sod, or plant grass over it. Maybe plant azaleas or something.

    But that's for later. It's sweaty and dirty work down in that hole, so when he's done filling the earth back in, he goes inside the house and shucks off his muddy coveralls in the laundry room, then dives into the shower. The shower is a blessed relief. He's exhausted, but he had promised to take his wife out that night, so he gets dressed in clean clothes for their dinner date.

    Then he goes to retrieve his wallet from the back pocket of his grubby coveralls in the utility room. But he can't find the wallet anywhere. Becoming frustrated and maybe a bit frantic, he forces himself to calm his mind and mentally retraces his steps.

    Had the wallet been in his back pocket at all? Yes, it had. He had paid the tree cutting crew. And then the guy who brought the truckload of dirt. And then he'd put the wallet into his back pocket with his bandanna.

    And he remembered pulling the bandanna out of his back pocket to mop his forehead... when he was down in the bottom of the hole.

    Oh my gosh! He'd probably just accidentally buried his wallet!

    The Mrs. must have paid for dinner that night.

    Later, after dinner, or maybe in the predawn hours of the next day, he's back out there in the dark with a lantern and a shovel, and begins to re-dig the hole he had just filled in. He has to go all the way down to the bottom of it, too.

    Finally, he sees the corner of his mud-encrusted leather wallet sticking out of the last shovelful of loose dirt.

    Relieved, he goes to stick the shovel into the firmer, unexcavated dirt at the bottom of the hole so he can bend to pick up the wallet, but as he jabs the shovel down, it strikes something in the ground with a sharp "thud" - almost a "clang" - jarring his wrist. The shovel falls down instead of sticking in the dirt.

    Shining the light, he can just see the corner of something else beneath where the corner of his wallet is sticking out.

    Something metallic ... something with a gleam like ...

    ... gold.

    (To be continued)

    TypeCoin971793, Stork, GregH and 10 others like this.
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  3. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    Oh Lord M...... And here I am on the edge of my seat...... Hugo was my introduction to living in South Carolina! Home boys down the road in Orangeburg...... I mean... I was engrossed here!!! Don’t make me tune in again next week... PLEASE!!
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  4. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    I dreamt that last nite.......maybe two nites ago......maybe two years ago......maybe not at all.......

    Love the retelling, LordM. :)
    Kasia likes this.
  5. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Not to worry. I won't make ya wait until next week. ;)

    Just had to take a break from typing. Bite o' dinner. Stuff like that. :)
    *coins, Randy Abercrombie and green18 like this.
  6. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    And the little girl, standing next to the massive root system.........awesome.
  7. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    Close to Sequoia?
  8. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    I know, California......not coastal Georgia. :)
  9. Milesofwho

    Milesofwho Omnivorous collector

    He then proceeded to post it on CoinTalk, stating the title as Gold Penny worht much?
  10. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    That picture was right around Victoria's 16th birthday, so she's not exactly "little" anymore. Those were big trees. Though not the biggest around here, and not like the Sequoias out West. (Some of our live oaks do reach the diameter of a Sequoia, but not that height.)
    green18 likes this.
  11. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    What a wind to knock those down.........
  12. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Hurricanes don't play! Especially monsters like Hugo!
    green18 likes this.
  13. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    She'll always be your 'little girl'.........I've got four of the blasted things........ devil.gif
    Stork, BRandM, Mainebill and 6 others like this.
  14. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    I shall continue momentarily.

    Spoiler: it's not gold shining in his lantern light.

    Not yet, anyway. (?)
    Randy Abercrombie likes this.
  15. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    Dinner lovely? I've yet to have mine but looking forward to it........It's my Birthday.
    Kasia, Nathan401, Cheech9712 and 4 others like this.
  16. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    Happy Birthday!
    green18 likes this.
  17. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    Three redeamning things in my memory about Hugo:
    • It taught this Oklahoma bread boy to respect all storms that have been given a name.
    • It was the only time my wife ever ran out of an apartment naked (story for another time).
    • Hugo made it possible for me to own the coin in my avatar.
    TypeCoin971793, Kasia, dwhiz and 2 others like this.
  18. Evan8

    Evan8 Old Soul

    Happy birthday
    green18 likes this.
  19. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator


    The flash of metallic gold seen in our homeowner's lantern light is not gold, but brass. It is the exposed rectangular corner of something as yet still buried.

    The brass actually has a deep, apple-green patina to it, everywhere except where it got struck by the shovel blade, exposing the bare, bright metal beneath.

    The buried object appears to be a box of some kind.

    It is plainly evident that this box - or whatever it is -has spent a very long time in the earth, buried deep beneath the roots of the old oak tree.
  20. green18

    green18 Sweet on Commemorative Coins Supporter

    Good Lord, I wanna hear the 'naked story' for another time. But not tonite.........love you fellows. Signing off for the evening, Over and out......

  21. Milesofwho

    Milesofwho Omnivorous collector

    Just out of curiosity, how many more parts are there to this story?
    lordmarcovan likes this.
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