Found Treasure

Couple discovers valuables while fixing up old home

Joe and Robin Jones discovered a secret they’d been living with for a year after they took out an old wall in the Lebanon home they’d purchased in 2016.

The Joneses found a “secret room” with hidden family treasures in the attic where they sleep.

“We’re doing renovations on the house, so we wanted to remove the panels on the attic walls, thinking it was just paneled up. But when we removed the panel, we saw the boxes,” Joe said in an email.

They found several boxes containing various items, including a punch bowl, a jar of coins, Christmas decorations, knitting supplies, and lots of old photos and letters, he said. The discovery took the Joneses by surprise and made them quite excited.

“We love watching treasure hunting shows, like the “Curse of Oak Island” and “Legend Quest,” and we always joke about being a treasure hunter, so when we found those without even looking it was a huge, huge rush,” Joe said.

He was most excited about the letters because, of the ones he read, they were correspondence from Vietnam, he said.

It made him feel like he was touching on actual history rather than just getting information about the war from some other source, he said.

The Joneses posted their discovery on Facebook, which generated a lot of interest from the community and helped them find the heir, who was grateful but wished to remain anonymous for this story.

“We wanted to find the family because of all the pictures,” Joe said. “It showed a lot of happiness, love, and laughter, and sometimes it’s all you can hold on to.”
The heir met the Joneses at the old house and gave them a hug, he said. It’s just what they wanted: a happy ending.

The Joneses personally understand how important it is to hold on to old family photos, they said.

“My wife lost all her pictures in a hurricane, so she’s always talking about how she wished she had pictures of her childhood, her family members, and memories that she can’t remember,” Joe said. “That hit me how treasured the pictures are.”

The Joneses were living in Keizer when they decided it was time to find a house they could own, Robin said. But with a very low income, it was hard to find something that would work for them.

It took them years, she said, but she finally stumbled upon a website that listed the yellow house built in 1942 with a cattail roof in Lebanon.

“I didn’t care that it was boarded up,” Robin said. “I only saw potential. An end to my children’s struggles. Means of my children being OK on their own and being well cared for when we’re not here.”

She felt a very strong pull toward the house, she said. When they finally had the chance to tour the house, there was something there that cemented the intention to buy it. In the garage she found a painting of a sun and a moon.

“I have a very similar sun tattoo on my back and Joe has a very similar moon tattoo on his arm,” Robin said. “That screamed our final sign to us.”

In the year they’ve lived in the house, the Joneses uncovered a lot of renovations that needed to be done. Part of the house was rotting and all the pipes had to be replaced, Joe said. Their savings account has since been depleted, and work has slowed until they can save up again.

Some of the photos they found in the attic were taken of the house back in its “glory days,” Joe said. He wanted to copy them to help in his restoration work and to keep a record of its history.

“This house has been a surprise for us from hell, but at the same time I have nothing but love for this house,” Joe said.

He’s determined to save the house rather than tear it down and rebuild.
“This house is our own pride and joy, and we will breathe life back into it, one day at a time,” Robin said.