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Chapter Seven

There was a strange quiet in the cottage as Daniela opened the faintly lilac scented pages. The wear worn entry in the diary read.....June 10th 1944 "Dear Diary, the end is at hand, the allied forces have landed in France and the armies of the Third Reich are in retreat. My beloved Carl and I have managed to keep our secret. At the mention of the word "secret" the three fortune hunters unconsiously leaned in closer. In fact Lenny's head was a little too close blocking Elzbieta's view. She gave him a playful flick on the ear to correct him.

"You can continue now dear" she said with an impish grin. "I wish Carl were here" Daniela continued. "I wish he knew about the child before we become refugees, living the life of the hunted. There is talk in the village of the underground helping refugees escape to England but I don't dare speak of it too much here. There is no telling what the Nazis will do in their headlong flight to Deutchland. Suspected collaborators are shot on sight." The entry ended.

"Turn der damn page" Lenny almost shouted and then realized his outbust had caused his face to blush the loveliest shade of red. "Calm down" hushed Daniela,"I'm turning as fast as I can". The next entry was dated Sept.15 1944 Dear Diary, England is lovely, The blitz has pretty much torn London apart but here in the country life goes on pretty much as it has forever. I got word from my niece that Carl is a prisoner of war in of all places...America.

He is in someplace called Arizona I think. I will use some of the secret to go to America. Maybe when the war is really, really, over we can be together again. "Where is this Arizona? Lenny questioned. "Does it have cowboys like in the movies?" "Arizona is a beautiful place" answered Daniela, a little perturbed, "Now may I continue?"

March 23 1945 Dear Diary, I FOUND HIM!!!!! My BELOVED CARL.. I FOUND HIM!!! He IS in this place they call Arizona,I FINALLY FOUND HIM!!!!! He will be so excited when he learns the child within me is ready to meet his father.

A wave of joy enfolded the three. "she found him" they almost said in unison. Daniela practically flew to the next page. Except there was no next page, the diary ended. There was just one sentence written on back of the last page of the diary..."Always look for the silver lining"

"What???" Daniela almost choked. Lenny nearly tipped over the stool again and Auntie just sat there with her mouth agape. "No treasure" squawked Lenny in disbelief. "No treasure?". "Guess not" said Daniela dejectedly.

The three just sat there in silence for the longest time. Finally someone noticed the sun was setting and it was time to call it day, an utterly disappointing day, but a day just the same. The rest of Danielas visit was uneventful but enjoyable,she learned alot of family history but somehow just felt empty. Lenny took her back to the airport a couple of days later promising that someday he too would come to America, to see Arizona, and to meet a real cowboy.

Of course Daniela told him he was welcome to visit anytime and if he did they would take in a rodeo.

The flight across the big pond took forever and the ride home in the cab was even longer than that( it seemed.)

Half dragging her bags Daniela slowly plodded up the stairs to her house. It was good to be home she mused as she unlocked the door. "I wish I'd never heard of that trunk or that blasted diary" she muttered as she made her way up the stairs. "I'm gonna take that thing and haul it to a flea market, or better yet I'll give it to Goodwill, at least they"ll come pick it up."

The door to the trunk room was still open and there it sat,lid open,seemingly laughing at her. "You fool" it mocked.

Daniela walked over and was just getting ready to slam down the lid forever when something caught her eye. It was a faded red ribbon, almost pink with age. It was sticking out of a torn corner of the trunks silver lid lining. She carefully pulled back the lining to reveal what looked like a letter. A letter wrapped with the ribbon. It was a letter and in very neatly handwritten script it said: Read Me.

Daniela removed the aged letter from it's decoration and carefully unrolled it. She began to read...

If you have found this letter then you have visited my sister Elzbieta and are the rightful heir to the secret. Your grandfather Carl and I did reunite and marry after the war ( his first wife was killed in Warsaw) when all prisoners of war were released. In the fifty's we returned to Poland and retrieved the secret. You see your grandfather was one of Himmlers personal bodyguards, not by choice, he hated Nazis, but when he found out that Himmler was stealing our countrys wealth, he decided to liberate some of it back for Poland. To make a long story short the govt. of Poland was so happy to recover some of our national treasures they rewarded us handsomely.

We took the money and invested it in railroad stock. You'll find the certificates hidden behind the rest of the lining. Be well my child......Spend the money wisely, Maybe bring Auntie to the good ol' U.S.A. I'm sure she'll love it.

Daniela did just that. The money amounted to just over $100,000, including interest. Auntie was very happy indeed and you know, Lenny just loved the rodeo.

Chapter by Slo