The Holy Grail of Saint Paul

Six medallion hunters talk about the year they found fortune

She's the calm one of the three. She wouldn't take it out of her pocket until we got back to the car, and Kay and I were out of our minds. We really exploded.

I mean, we have hunted forever. And been so close so many times. We'd looked since the first one. I'm 74: I've been a hunter for a long time. We had phone calls from absolute strangers saying they were so happy that we'd found it. They knew from the paper we'd been looking a lot of years. And we're still at it.

We're in the same bridge club and we love every minute of treasure hunting. We go out every day. We start out early; we have a lot of good lunches. We don't go out Sunday, the first clue. But by Monday, we're getting itchy.

 

Cathi Hogan
2001
found at Como Park
My family has always been real involved in the Winter Carnival. We always took part in the events. When we were little there were ice castles and there was a toboggan ride where they'd close the streets in St. Paul. And we always looked for the treasure. I probably wasn't quite as obsessed as I have become as I've gotten older.

When I had kids, that was part of our ritual. I really burned them out because none of them were very interested. I have four kids and at first they started in the front pack. They'd have a plastic shovel and pail. It was out of necessity: I couldn't afford a babysitter, so they had to come along. My oldest daughter, who is now 23, lives in California and every day she calls and asks what the clue is. But the other three and my husband just kind of put up with me. They know it's an obsession.

I look all day and all night. At first, my husband would wait up for me. Pretty soon, as we were married longer, he'd just say, "See you in 10 days."

In 2001, one of the first clues said, "a peaceful bird." So I was pretty sure it was in some "dove" something. So I went to the grocery store and bought Dove candy bars and Dove ice cream bars and Dove soap, and brought them all home. And the only thing that wasn't wrapped in a dark wrapper was the Dove soap, so I was sure it would be in a box of that.

I was pretty sure it was in Como. I'd looked all day and all night. I knew I was close. But I went home and went to bed and got up that Monday morning and made myself a lunch. I went at about nine. Got out of the car with a shovel and a hoe and walked up to the area where I'd been looking. It was really dug up. So then I just found a spot that hadn't been dug, and aligned myself with the road and the swing set that had kind of marked clues. And I started digging. On the third shovel, there was a Dove soapbox.

I was by myself, and I dropped to my knees. I could hardly walk. I opened the box. It had been taped and inside was a sock that said "Iron Man" on it. One of the clues had said, "man of steel" in it. I knew I had it.

So I put it in my pocket and started walking out of the park. This lady stopped me and said, "Are you okay?" because I was crying. And I said, "I think I found it." She looked at me like I was an old lady who didn't know what I was talking about.

So then I just turned and screamed into the park--I bet there were 50 people there--"I think I found it!" And everybody put their shovels and digging things down and started running at me, and my heart started beating really fast and I took off for my car. Everybody was so nice. I got in the car and shut the door and opened the box. And there it was: the medallion. It was awesome.

The money was never on my mind. But when I found it, it was awfully nice to have. I split it with a woman who was going to meet me there that day, who I looked with for years. So I gave her $5,000, and some to the kids and my husband, and I bought a mattress for our bed. We'd always had hand-me-downs, so that was big-time.

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