The Disappearing Gold

My grandfather, who moved to the United States from Holland when my mother was just a child, had some interesting habits. One of them, apparently, was to keep several gold bars which he buried somewhere on his property. Now and then he would move them from place to place. He grew up in Europe during troubled times—lived there through (and was involved in) both World Wars—so I don’t think keeping this sort of cache is particularly odd for him. However, it makes for a fascinating story, as does the fact that after his death, the bars were never found despite the use of a metal detector around his property. They could be there still (it wasn’t a particularly small property—we’re talking rural Vermont, and his home included a pond and an apple orchard), or maybe he sold them at some point in order to buy items from the companies that kept trying to convince him he’d ‘already won’ this or that sweepstakes. (He was a brilliant man, but that was one of his quirks as he aged—he was very prone to believing those claims.) Regardless of what happened to those bars, it makes a great set-up for any number of stories.

Your story could start with the new family that buys the property and eventually finds Opa’s cache of gold bars. It could center around what he did with those gold bars and why they aren’t on the property any more. It could center around the last years of a fascinating man’s life—the kind of man who would bury gold bars on his property yet fall prey to sweepstakes scams as he passed into his nineties.

By the way, here’s another cool detail about my grandfather: he’s the Dr. Jacobus Rinse mentioned in this article. He was indeed diagnosed with heart troubles in his 50s such that he was given little time to live, and, in a move that was far ahead of his time, he went on to perform research on such things as cholesterol and trans-fats that led him to develop a breakfast formula that helped people worldwide. After that diagnosis he lived to be 94, and even then he died not of natural causes, but when he attempted to save the life of a younger friend who started to drown while swimming in the pond on his property. Right until the end he was walking his own dog and chopping firewood.

So today, write about a grandparent, or someone old enough to be a grandparent. We so often think of the elderly as not terribly interesting, when the exact opposite is true: these are people who’ve lived terribly rich lives and have abundant stories to tell. Try to write a short story that hints at these stories through details (such as the moving gold cache and entering every sweepstakes) without spelling out the person’s history. You might even tell the story through the eyes of that family who subsequently moved into the old man’s house, creating an image of a man without his direct presence.

You can use my grandfather’s details as the basis for your story, use a relative of your own, or make up a fictional character.

Edited to add: I happened to find a brief tale of gold that made me think of this.

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10 comments on “The Disappearing Gold
  1. welmoet van Kammen says:

    Hi Heather,

    I was quite astonished today to stumble on your great article about Uncle Co. To hear about the gold and the sweepstakes was no surprise. We knew him well. When I sat for the first time on your grandfather’s land 40 years odd ago, I thought that heaven had descended and I was part of the most beautiful landscape on earth. On our frequent trips to the New England, we spent time in the summer house, camped out on the other side of the beaver dam and saw the new house being erected. You and Marleen were born, your mother moved to Vermont and, then, our trips became less frequent. Your grandfather’s funeral portrayed him exactly as he lived his life. He was an old fashioned Dutch pioneer; independent and self sufficient. He was an experimenter with a speculative bend for the unknown. We lost contact with your mom, and your two aunts after your grandmother died. A wedding picture of Harriet sent from Maine was the last piece of news I remember.

    We made a detour a couple of years ago to that land after hiking in upstate New York. It was all still there. But it looked so sad. Maybe the gold was still there but the passion for the place had disappeared. The house must have been neglected for years. The lake was a forest of dead tree trunks sticking out of the mud. The beaver dam was not passable. I wished I had never made the detour.

    Of course we have many questions and it would be great to hear from all of you. I hope everybody is ok.

    Welmoet and Daan van Kammen

  2. heather says:

    One of the miracles of the internet is suddenly finding family and friends you haven’t seen in ages. I’ll be sure to send you email with my and my mother’s email addresses!

  3. Gerrel Williams says:

    Check here to subscribe to comments on this post.

    Are you the Gransdon of Dr. Jacobous Rinse? I have researched his formula since the 1980’s and I would like to ask you a few questions if possible.

    His Original article in the Prevention Paperback I once owned had a picture of him jogging up a hill. It told all about his formula and his life. Do you have that information> or what article I’m talking about? I would love to have it. It had the original formula which went into such things as alphala additives, and the pure choices of the nutirents,etc.

    If you have time, please answer, I would love to have more info on your Grandfather.

    Thank you,

    Gerrel

    • heather says:

      Hello—I’m Dr. Rinse’s granddaughter. Unfortunately I really don’t know anything much about his formula, and although I wish I did have a copy of that article, I don’t. I wish I could tell you more!

  4. Gerrel Williams says:

    This is to Heather the Grand Daughter:

    Heather, to make a long story some what shorter your Grand Dad saved my life, and most definitely changed it. I was put in the hospital thinking I was having a heart attack around 7 years ago while teaching at a Jr. High one day. I went through all the tests, MRI, CATH LAB, you name it, they did it to me, and when it was all over, the Dr. came in and told me. I was the healthiest individual that he knew. That something was going on that I was doing, ’cause he NEVER, gets blood numbers like mine, and my heart was like a 17 year old. I was 33 at the time. I thought and finanlly I told him Doc, I have been on this formula for twice a day for the past 10 years, he said do not get off! Trust me, I turn on most of my friends to the Dr. Rinse Formula, and now a days, the only formula out there is the basic elements. Those don’t really give the jest of what your Grandfather intended. Don’t get me wrong, they may get the improvement if they take the formula, but the Prevention Paper back that I use to own. It had the spirit for the man, because there was a lot of information that he had personally given in that interview, or article. He became my personal hero after I heard my Dr. say those things. I just had a complete physical and except for the common cold occasionally, I am sick free, and the doctor gave me a clean bill of health inside and out. It feels good to be healthy and alive at 52, another thing I did was re-marry and have another child, Nicholas who is now three. Wow, thanks Dr. Rinse for not only changing my life, but also giving me the information to appreciate it. P.S….Don’t worry about your Grandfather liking the money making scams in his later years, my grandfather raised me, and he did the same. I would spend time cleaning out his office and he sometimes would have ordered a salt & Pepper shaker for the house, then with more digging, God love him, there would be one or two more sets in the same style and color. Some folks truly prey on the elderly.

    Best of luck in all your efforts, Thanks for the reply, we will always be thankful for your Grandfather. Just simply know that he was not only brilliant, but also decided to make the world a little better by sharing his knowledge. Wow, neat concept.

    Regards,

    Gerrel

  5. Meg Grove says:

    Hi,

    I’m Dr Rinse’s daughter and Heather’s mom! I might still have that original Prevention article somewhere. There are a number of variations on my father’s formula but the key is apparently in the lecithin and linoleic acid (safflower oil or similar oil high in linoleic acid) plus vitamin E to prevent free radical formation from the oil, a multivitamin and vitamin B6. I’ve tried several other variations but the above seems to be the key.

    I’ve used his formula since I was 35 and in 1998 (in my mid-fifties) developed congestive heart failure. The docs thought it was a heart attack and performed a cardiac catheterization. The verdict: my coronary arteries were “as clean as a whistle”. I did have dilated cardiomyopathy which doesn’t often get better but mine did get back to normal.

    Regards,
    Meg

  6. Gerrel Williams says:

    Dear MEG:

    If you run across the copy where Dr. Rince is Jogging, please do send a copy to me, Maybe, I dreamed it, but I feel sure it was in some kind of Holistic Cures from Prevention, in paperback form. The article went on with detailed information and there where several additives that are not in any recent formula that I have seen.

    Thanks for your reply.

    To good health,

    Gerrel

  7. Meg Grove says:

    Dear Gerrel,

    I don’t have that paperback; what I have is an article from Prevention Magazine focusing only on my father’s breakfast. Unfortunately what I’ve noticed over the years is that people have taken my father’s formula and added all kinds of things of their own to it. Whether or not they are valid I have no idea … but they are not all my father’s formula.

    I’ll try to check around this weekend (I’ve been in home renovation mess) to see if I can fairly easily locate what I have. If so, I’ll be happy to send it on to you.

    Meg

  8. Meg Grove says:

    Dear Gerrel,

    In the mess from my home renovations I haven’t yet found the article from Prevention (in 1972) but did find a copy of my father’s “recipe” as he gave it to me in late 1988 (when he was 88 years old):

    1 tbsp soy lecithin granules
    1 tbsp raw wheat germ
    1 tbsp brown sugar (or blackstrap molasses or honey)
    1 tbsp debittered brewer’s yeast
    1 tbsp cold-pressed safflower oil (or sunflower or corn oil)
    1/2 tsp bone meal powder (or supplement of 500 mg calcium orotate and 500 mg magnesium orotate)

    Mix the above and sprinkle over cereal, or mix with yogurt, or stir into juice, etc. Some people may need to start with smaller amounts of yeast and wheat germ and increase the amount gradually.

    In addition, the following supplements should be included (straight from my father’s directions):

    1 multi-vitamin and mineral tablet
    1 gram Vitamin C (ascorbic acid or calcium ascorbate)
    50 mg Vitamin B6
    300 mg magnesium orotate or magnesium oxide or magnesium hyroxide
    50 mg zinc orotate or zinc gluconate or 30 mg zinc oxide
    200 IU Vitamin E (take before bedtime, several hours after a meal).
    50 mcg selenium

    Note that vitamin E is especially important when consuming vegetable oils.

    ——-

    To add my personal preference: I don’t use the sweetener or brewer’s yeast.

    It’s my understanding that the things that are absolutely essential are: lecithin, safflower or sunflower oil and vitamin E. Apparently the lecithin and linoleic acid (from the oil) combine to form the key to dissolving cholesterol deposts and preventing them from forming. When taking the oil, my father said that vitamin E is essential to prevent free-radical formation from oxidation.

    At one time there was a pre-packaged mix available commercially (my father had no financial interest in this although he did provide isome assistance to them at no charge) called “The Dr Rinse Breakfast”. Since there were obvious issues in using oils, they opted to grind sunflower seeds and use that instead of the oil. I believe that my father thought that was a reasonable subsitution.

    I don’t have the medical knowledge to make recommendations so I am passing this along because of your interest. It seems to have helped me and I know my father used to receive many letters from grateful users of his “breakfast”.

    Meg

  9. bobaloou says:

    Many, Many, thanks. Like Father Like Daughter, you are very kind. I hope you and yours are blessed for years to come.

    Gerrel

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  1. […] and ideas) that far eclipsed the quality of previous posts, and boy did the traffic to that post (The Disappearing Gold) reflect […]

  2. […] (it’s a place for posting writers’ exercises and such for people to play with) that explored my grandfather’s history just a tiny bit. He’s one of those people who has a naturally story-inspiring life, and I […]

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