It was early spring of last year
when Mae Blankenburg picked up the phone at her Kill Devil Hills home and rang
her dad a few doors away to break some exciting news.
Blankenburg and her fiance, Bob Lunden, had found
some property in Colington where they wanted to build a home. Its
close to where you grew up, Dad, she told him. Id love for
you to walk the boundaries with me.
I had a tax map of the property with me
when Bob and I picked him up the next day. He looked at it, but said
nothing, Blankenburg says. When we got there, the car was barely
stopped when Dad jumped out and just took off into the woods.
Where are you
going?! she yelled after her dad.
I just want to see if
something is still here, he shouted back as he raced through the
tangled briars and into the woods. The stunned couple just tried to keep up.
Its still here and look how
its grown, her dad said, pointing to a tree in the midst of a dense
Blankenburg was baffled. All she saw was her dad
standing by an ordinary holly tree, not unlike others native to the area. That
was, until she looked closer. There in the age-thickened bark,
only slightly distorted by time, was a deeply chiseled engraving
I.S. and A.B encircled by a heart. Blankenburg realized with a jolt that the initials inside were those
of her parents, Ida Sawyer and Allen Beasley.