The little digger

The young boy pays no attention to the screeching seagulls overhead, while he digs for gold on the Baltic shoreline.

Jack London’s stories of prospectors are what is on his mind. The boy is certain that at any moment, gold dust will appear on his shovel. However, today’s find is but a few chunks of amber that he stuffs into his pockets, pretending that they are solid gold nuggets.

It is not the actual discoveries that drive him, it is the joy of being alone, with his vivid imagination for companionship. Other kids think he is weird. For him, strength is not in numbers, but reliance on his own skills. The boy knows well that children are ruthless when they gang up to ridicule an outsider. It is their condemnation that fuels his desire to explore the wonders of the natural world on his own.

Just before heading home with his newfound treasure, his shovel suddenly hits something hard. It makes a metallic sound. Finally! Gold at last! But no…, it is only an unexploded bomb from World War 2!

Excerpt from my journal, 1971.


PS. The story of that unexploded bomb, is being told for the first time ever, here in The Spirit Journey (please forgive me, Mom). It’s been 50 years and I need to come clean and get it off my chest.

After finding that “rusted thing” underground, I fought an irresistible urge to use it as a bargaining chip for more Kajtki transactions! However, I needed some help moving it from the beach, and confided in a schoolmate about my find. We dragged the bomb to the basement of his apartment building. It was there that we noticed the bomb was leaking, which totally freaked us out. After much discussion we decided to very gently move it to nearby bushes and then make an anonymous tip to the cops.

So my summer of ’71 ended with my dad reading an article in the evening paper concerning the evacuation of a local apartment building. A bomb squad had been summoned there to remove, and later detonate an explosive from WW 2 that had mysteriously appeared in the playground bushes.

This is a slightly younger photo of me, however, I attach it here to illustrate a point: it is impossible to discern the qualities of an adventurer (with pyrotechnic tendencies), from a childhood pic of him hugging his teddy bear.