A neighbor hid gold spoons at my mother's house 50 years ago and never returned for them

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

Five decades later, we are finally putting her gold spoons to good use.

My parents lived next door to a married couple before I was born. The neighbor lady was a stay-at-home parent, and her husband worked for a company that manufactured silverware.

One day, the woman knocked frantically at my mother's door. She was holding a large plastic bag.

When my mother answered the door, the woman pressed the bag into her hands. "Can you hide this for me?" she asked.

"What is it?" my mother asked in return.

"Just some spoons," the woman replied. "My husband bought new silverware."

Although my mother thought it was incredibly strange, she accepted the package of spoons. She never spoke to the woman again.

Nothing nefarious happened to the neighbor lady and her husband. She kept on parenting, and he kept on working for a company that manufactured silverware.

She never came back for her spoons.

The other couple lived close enough to my parents' house that my mother could see they hadn't moved or changed their outward routines, but they lived far away enough that their paths wouldn't intersect unless one of them crossed the street and knocked on the other's door.

Weeks passed. Weeks turned into months, and months turned into years. According to my mother, it wasn't until she'd had the package of silverware hidden in a basement closet for a full decade that she bothered to open the bag and look inside.

The woman hadn't lied. The package held spoons, gold spoons. There were gold tablespoons and gold teaspoons, but there were also matching forks and butter knives.

The woman hadn't mentioned it was an entire matching set.

As a child, I often played with those gold spoons and wondered aloud why we didn't use them when they were so much nicer than the ones upstairs in the kitchen.

"Those don't belong to us," my mother would tell me. "They belong to the lady across the street."

We didn't know why the lady across the street didn't come back for her silverware, and we didn't ask her. We all lived our lives while the gold silverware stayed in its hiding spot. The paper bag grew more tattered as the years passed, and when we moved to another state thirty years after the spoons first made their appearance, we brought them with us.

They've been in our new basement ever since—until two days ago when my mother brought them upstairs. "Well, I've had these spoons for fifty years," she announced. "I guess they belong to us now." She arranged them in our silverware drawer atop our other mismatched silverware.

I just used one of them to eat yogurt. It works just like a regular, non-golden spoon; it just reflects more light when you raise it to your mouth.

Yes, we are also using the matching forks and knives, and we'll never know why the neighbor lady never returned for her silverware, but I think we waited long enough. It's ours now.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

Massachusetts State

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