The next morning as Masie was getting ready to sit down to breakfast, there was a knock on the front door. She peeked around the corner of the upstairs hall as her mother opened the door.
“Mother, I thought you said you had something to call me about yesterday, and I said I would call you back.”
Minnie waved her hand, “Yes, and I waited for you to return my call, and now, here I am.”
Masie’s mother took a step back to let Minnie inside. She placed her purse in the small table just inside the door. She followed her daughter to the kitchen, took a cup out of the cupboard, and poured herself a cup of coffee. Masie’s mom took eggs out of the refrigerator.
“What did you need to call me about?” She broke six eggs into a bowl, added milk and whisked it.
“You know Masie found a treasure map in some pieces of antiques furniture.”
She added salt and a little pepper, “Yes, she was comparing the map to an Atlas yesterday and making notes on the differences.”
“Oh, that’s good. She’s got a good start.”
“A good start on what, mom?”
“The adventure we’re going to have when we go to Germany, Alicia.”
Alicia dropped the bowl on the counter and faced her mother, “You and your friend in the antique shop?”
“Yes and Masie.”
“No, Masie is not going.”
“Why not? It would do her some good to learn about her heritage and learn her family’s history first hand.”
“It’s too far, and we can’t afford to go to keep an eye on her.”
“I have the money in my savings. I can cover the costs of travel, lodgings and all the other expenses as well.”
“Mom, we can’t go and keep and eye on her. Germany isn’t down the street.”
Minnie raised her voice slightly, “And I am not an irresponsible teenager that is going to lose track of her. You act like I am incapable of looking after her. I raised you.”
“That wasn’t what I meant.”
“Then you had better clarify before I really get upset and the idea that my daughter thinks I am not capable of taking care of my own granddaughter.”
Alicia sighed, “I am just saying she’s never been out of the state, let alone the country. She might get too excited and try and run off.”
Minnie dismissed her answer with a wave of her hand, “She isn’t two. She’s twelve, and she knows better.”
“Look, Alicia, it’s a chance to do something besides hang around the house and be on the tether that you have on her.”
“She is not on a tether, mom.”
“Do you let her go to a friend’s house, or do all of her friends have to come here?”
“They come here, but that’s because I don’t want anything to happen to Masie.”
Minnie rolled her eyes, “Part of being a child is going outside and getting dirty, going to friends’ houses, and exploring their world. You’re stifling her.”
Alicia let out a sigh and looked toward the doorway, “George, could you come here for a minute?”
A head popped into the kitchen from around the corner, “Yes, dear?”
“Mom wants to take Masie to Germany. She says that it would be good for her. I say she would go running off and get lost or worse. What do you think?”
He straightened his six foot frame and stood in the kitchen, “Truthfully?”
“Yes, truthfully, do you think she should go, or do you agree with me?”
“At the risk of sleeping on the couch for the next week, I think she should go, and you shouldn’t worry so much. She’s going with your mother.”
“You’re siding with her?”
George turned and started heading up the stairs, “Yes, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for Masie, and she gets to learn about her family.”
Minnie leaned back to get better a view of the stairs, “George, where are you going?”
“To get my pillows and a sheet for the couch.”
Closing her eyes, Minnie shook her head, and turned to Alicia, who was now scrambling the eggs, “You’re not going to make him sleep on the couch, are you?”
“I don’t know.”
“I know she is your only child. You are mine, but I let you go off with your grands when they went to other states and countries during the summer. It’s good for her.”
“What is she going to need?”
“A passport, and to make sure her shots are up to date.”
“Alright, she can go. When are you leaving?”
“I am going to set the reservations for next Monday. If our calculations are right, we should be back a week before school starts back.”
“That long? It’s May.”
“Yes, that long. We are not only going to teach her about her heritage, but we are also going to follow the clues on the map to see where it leads us.”
“You’re putting ideas in that girl’s head. What if there isn’t a treasure?”
“The fun is in the journey, Ally.”
“She’s probably going to be disappointed if there is no treasure.”
“I will handle that when if it happens.” She got up and walked over to the stove, nudging Alicia, “Scoot over. You always overcook the bacon.”
Leaning back, “Masie, start figuring out what you’re going to pack. We’re going to Germany!”
A cheer was heard from upstairs and the sound running. Masie looked up what it would be like in Germany to see what she needed to pack.
Oh, wow, it’s like in the 70’s there. If we could be so lucky.
After breakfast, she was taken to have her passport picture done and to fill out her passport application. She very neatly filled out all the information and handed the application back to the clerk. Her parents handed the rest of the paperwork that was required for the passport to be processed.
“It’ll take about four weeks.” The clerk pushed his glasses up to the bridge of his nose.
Masie slumped, “Four weeks? Really?”
“Well, normally four to six.”
Alicia breathed a sigh of relief, “Well I guess this adventure is over before it began. Let’s go-”
Minnie pointed to her daughter to wait as she looked at the clerk, “I read that you can expedite the application.”
“Yes, but that entails an extra fee.”
“Name it. I can cover it.” The clerk quoted her a fee and she handed over the money to cover it.
“It will be ready in eight days.”
“Thank you.” She turned to Masie, “Let’s go shopping for clothes.”
“But I have clothes, grandma.”
“Nonsense, you can’t go to a new place in old clothes. Besides, you don’t even know what the weather is going to be like.”
“The average temperature in Germany during the summer ranges from 65-80 degrees.”
“Looked it up did ya?” Masie nodded. Minnie ruffled her hair, “That’s my granddaughter, smart as her Grand.”
The week before the flight for Masie seemed to drag on. She checked the mail everyday, and when the box was empty, she would ask her parents if anything came for her. They would shake their heads, and she would go to her room and sulk. She had packed, unpacked, and repacked her bag at least once a day to make sure she wasn’t forgetting anything. Every time making and marking off a list. The wait was killing her. The day before she was to go on the plane, she watched out the window for the mailman.
This is day eight. It’s got to be in the mail today. It just has to be.
Masie looked out the window as the mailman drove up and placed the letters in the mailbox. She raced past her father who had just opened the door and down the driveway. She had to slow down not the overshoot the box. She opened it and started flipping through the letters.
Light bill, water bill, sales coupons… She kept flipping in hopes her passport would be there, but she saw no official envelope from the issuing office. By the time she got to the door, she had flipped through the pile eight times.
“It’s not here, dad. It’s supposed to be here today. Why isn’t it here?”
Her father patted her on the back as he closed the door, “The government has never been known to be efficient, let alone on time for anything. We’ll call them and see what’s going on with the passport. Go in the kitchen and have a snack.”
Alicia was on the phone with her mother, “No, it didn’t come today. George is going to call them to see why it didn’t get here. I have to go to the grocery store.”
“Heh, poor girl, I should have known the government wouldn’t be timely. I will call the travel agency and see if I can change the dates. Let me know what he finds out?”
“Of course, after all, Masie can’t miss the trip of a lifetime.” Her voice had a tint of reservation.
“I know you don’t like this, but you can’t keep her home every summer.”
“I know.” After a couple of more minutes, she hung up the phone. George went upstairs to make the call.
An hour later, Masie was looking at pictures of Germany on her computer her father entered her room. He stepped over the suitcase lying on the floor, “I just got off the phone with them.”
She turned to face him, “And?”
“They say that it’s running a little late. It’s already in transit. So, picking it up at the office isn’t an option.”
“Did they say when it would get here, dad?”
“They said it would take three more days.”
She threw her hands up in the air and slapped them on her head, “Three more days? What am I going to do ’till then?”
Shaking his head, he turned to walk out the door, “So dramatic, little one, you’ll find something, you always do.”
She flung her suitcase on her bed and took out the map. She turned it upside-down and even flipped it over. She twirled and landed on her back next to the suitcase with the map in the air. The light from the fan was highlighting something she couldn’t make out. She tried to get a closer look, but the light wasn’t bright enough. She ran into her father’s office, “Dad, can I use your light table?”
“There’s something funny about this map.”
“Is there now?” George took the map and fastened it to a white table with round stickers. He then turned on the table to let the light shine through it from the bottom.
He stroked his chin, “That’s interesting, Masie.”
“What is it?”
He pulled up a chair next to his so she could take a look, “You see here, under this city here?”
“Your map has an invisible map under it.”
“Whoa, you mean?”
“During World War II, Hitler was trying to amass all kinds of relics, religious artifacts and treasures. He had some of them experimented on, and others he had cataloged and stored in a secret place.”
“Dad, are you telling me Mom’s side of the family is related to Hitler?”
“No.” Alicia came into the office, “We are related, however to one of the SS officers instrumental in trying to bring down Hitler. There was a rumor that they not only conspired to have him killed, but they also started moving the treasure he amassed to a secret location. No one has ever found it.”
Masie’s eyes flew open as she looked at her father, “You mean this invisible map could lead to the stuff our ancestor hid?”
Alicia put a hand on her shoulder, “Don’t get excited. Most of these maps end up being nothing, Masie.”
“But Mom, if it’s something, we have to go investigate! We could find the amber room that was stolen from the Russians, or the spear that-“
“You’re letting your imagination go wild again.”
George rolled his eyes, “Alicia, let her dream and imagine. It’s part of the fun.”
He nodded, “I think I might call your mother’s travel agency and hop a plane.”
“If it’s buried treasure and hidden vaults they’re going to need a Civil engineer to figure out city plans and see where we can access these places.”
“Fine, but I am going Florida to spend time with my sister.”
Masie was bouncing in her chair, “You’re coming, too, dad?”
“It looks like it.”