The Playground Treasure Map

Submitted into Contest #139 in response to: Format your story in the style of diary entries.... view prompt

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Coming of Age Teens & Young Adult Creative Nonfiction

March 23, 2004

Dear Diary,

It’s me, Adelyn. I haven’t written for a while, and the last time I wrote it was a different diary. Mom got me this new diary for my 10th birthday! That’s right, I’m now in double digits, and mom said it’s good for a girl my age to have a place to write her feelings.

Right now, feeling excited about being 10 years old. I’m also feeling happy about all the gifts I got for turning 10, especially this diary. It’s soft, purple, and has a lock WITH a key! That way I can keep my little brother Joe from reading anything I write. I’m not sure exactly what else I’ll write about, but I’m sure I’ll find something.

March 26, 2004

Dear Diary,

It’s me, Adelyn. You won’t believe what happened on the playground today! I found a treasure map during recess! I found it when I fell from the monkey bars, it was on the ground, and I almost didn’t see it because of the mulch covering it. Donavon said it’s not a real one, but what does he know he’s just a silly boy. It’s real and I know it is because it looks exactly like one of the ones our teacher showed us in a pirate book during class. So I know this has to be from a real pirate a long time ago. It has little dots showing a path and squiggly lines that are supposed to be water. Emily said it looks like a place she’s seen before so she’s going to ask mom. I’m going to keep searching the playground for clues.

April 1, 2004

Dear Diary,

It’s me Adelyn. Teacher started reading a book to us today called Treasure Island. I don’t think Jim should trust those pirates but I like the story because I’m getting ideas about the map I found on the playground. Like what if the pirates who made the map I found come back looking for their map?! I think I’m going to hide it here in the diary and lock it up just in case!

April 2, 2004

Dear Diary,

It’s me Adelyn. Emily remembered!! She said the place on the map looks like the park! Our park has a big lake with a path that circles around it, just like the path and water on the map. And the map has a train by the circle path in the park. Emily and I are going to ask our moms to take us to the park today to follow the path on the map and find the hidden treasure!

May 22, 2014

Dear Diary,

It’s me Adelyn. Man, I haven’t written that for 10 years. I haven’t picked up this diary since I was in elementary, but I found it today while looking through old boxes in the attic my mom had packed away. I almost tossed it, but when I read through the few entries I wrote, and idea occurred to me. I never did figure out the map I found on the playground, but I did leave it here in the diary. It’s summer break so I have plenty of time on my hands and I’ve decided to have some fun and go treasure hunting. I might as well chronicle the experience here in this diary where it all started.

May 24, 2014

Dear Diary,

It’s me Adelyn. I went to the park today, with the treasure map of course. I followed the arrows and the little prompts I didn’t understand 10 years ago. Believe it or not I found something! Donavon really was a silly boy who didn’t know what he was talking about. I found a key covered with leaves and lot so of muck in the hollowed-out part of a tree by the train tracks. I thought that was the end of it, but I noticed a piece of paper caught my eye under the leaves and muck.

It was on the verge of disintegration, but I carefully unrolled it and found another map with clues! It took me a minute, but I recognized the drawing of the building- it was my old elementary school. I’m going to drive over there tomorrow and walk around; maybe something will still be there? But why would a map I found on the playground lead to the park then back to the school? I don’t want to let my expectations get too high but they’re on the verge of soaring.

May 26, 2014

Dear Diary,

It’s me Adelyn. You’ll never believe what happened when I followed the map to the school. I followed the map and walked around the playground until I realized I wasn’t going to find anything. It wasn’t even the same playground set from 10 years ago. I fiddled with the key from the park in my hands, my hopes and expectations deflating like a balloon. But just as I was leaving an older woman was exiting the building, her hands filled with boxes. A book slipped off the top box and fell to the ground, I reached down to get it for her. You’ll never guess who the woman was- my old elementary teacher! The same one who read us Treasure Island all those years ago.

Mrs. Stephens asked me why I was there and a little embarrassed I told her. I watched her eyes widen and her eyes started crinkling as she laughed. It turns out that as part of the Treasure Island teaching unit she was going to have us all go on a treasure hunt, but she lost the map one day during recess duty. It all happened during State testing, and she didn’t have time to make a new one. We reminisced about my time in her class, and she commented on my curiosity as a student. I was about to leave when she told me to wait while she looked through one of the boxes. She pulled out an old looking, wooden treasure chest. It was the prize we were supposed to win for the treasure hunt 10 years ago. Inside were paper coins and a copy of Treasure Island.

She gave me the treasure as a reward for finally finishing the hunt and staying curious all these years. Diary, it was at this moment I realized what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Starting in the fall I’ll be starting education classes for a teaching degree.

September 2019,

Dear Diary,

It’s me Adelyn. Today, I’ll be starting a unit on Treasure Island with my class. I’ve created a map, hidden the same key and treasure chest with the paper coins Mrs. Stephens hid for us. Now, it’s just waiting to see which student finds it first- and when.

March 26, 2022 20:04

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1 comment

Felice Noelle
22:49 Apr 06, 2022

Abi: Welcome to Reedsy and hello from your friendly Critique Circle reader. i just have a few more stories, but I can assure you that the feedback and critique you get here are invaluable. I like the clever way your used the prompt and the way the first entries sounded authentically from a ten-year-old. The teacher in me always checks spelling, punctuation, paragraphing, sentence variety, all the boring but important stuff, right? What helped me was my college-aged grandson advising me to download a free app: Grammarly, and it's a grea...


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