The Suitcase Lady


June 7, 2016, 9:36 pm

Readers of this blog know that I am a dedicated beachcomber. For me, nothing is better than an endless beach and hours to wander searching for the treasures delivered by the waves.

The gifts from the waves are many, but they fall into two main groups. Flotsam is the stuff that accidentally falls in, while jetsam are articles that were purposely jettisoned or tossed overboard. When crossing the Atlantic on the way to her new home in America, my great, great grandmother had to jettison her entire hope chest when their sailing vessel hit a storm.

After bringing beach finds home, we enjoy looking at them in the same way we get pleasure from the artwork on our walls. We do, however, sometimes make things out of the driftwood, and a talented friend turns some of our beach glass into exquisite jewelry.

A few weeks ago, I chanced on an entirely new category of beach treasures. I was doing research for a school program on the Inupiat people who live in the Arctic Circle. In this remotest of places, the children make up their own games and entertainment. One of their favorite activities is searching the beaches for a putulik (POO-too-lik), a stone that has a hole worn through it.

In twenty years of living on a beach, I have only found two or three of these special stones. Now the hunt is on, and I will be having the summer of the putulik.

The following photos are some of our beach treasures. The last photo is one of the young students I teach who discovered the joys of beach combing while we were on a class field trip to Lake Michigan.

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