"I feel like I'm an archaeologist," my son said, meticulously sweeping debris from the pavement with random plant matter.
My husband and I had just about given up searching for our initials under the park bench at LeTourneau University, where we'd etched them in wet pavement as newlyweds.
At first brush, it appeared that our historical monument had fallen victim either to university revitalization efforts or memory error on our part.
Then our son spotted a scuff in the concrete and began to carefully brush away the dirt that had accumulated in the crevices.
"There's the "C"," he said. I took a twig, tracing my initial. He was right! But I still couldn't make out the other letters.
"I can," he said, pointing each one out in turn as he unearthed them.
I hadn't expected the day to take on an Indiana Jones theme. Although a snake encounter or the need to dodge a large boulder probably wouldn't have surprised me, I wasn't expecting any actual archeology.
But following a morning visit to the Caldwell Zoo (which now rivals the sculpture park for the top rating on my daughter's vacation favorites list) the trek into Longview to search for evidence of our former lives had taken on the feel of a archaeological dig--metaphorically and literally.
After a time tootling the streets, I was beginning to wonder if our lives there had just been a dream. Nothing looked familiar. Not the streets, the stores, or even the B-B-Q restaurant I could have sworn we used to frequent.
I began to feel disturbed. Nervous. Antsy. After all, I had a full time job, not to mention various part time and temporary posts. I attended university. I acted in community theater. I had friends. Where was the evidence that any of it had happened?
I am happy to report that archaeological evidence confirms that I did live in Longview. It wasn't a dream. My son identified the initials, although I can't claim to be impressed by our engraving font or technique.
He then went with me to the preschool where I used to work, to provide "visual stimuli" of how my life turned out.
It wasn't a dream, after all. I was recognized on sight at the school where I had a nice visit with a teacher with who I used to work, the very one who first told me I was well suited for the profession and encouraged me to pursue it.
We resume digging this morning, only this time for diamonds.