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When I was very young (6-10 years old), I would wander alone along the Indiana shore of Lake Michigan looking for the beach stones that we called Wampum. It was believed that the Potawatomi Peoples who lived near the Lake would use the little circular stones with holes in them for beading. *

My favorite time on the beach was when the fog rolled in.  The beach was then calm, private, secluded, and mine to wander along.  In those early morning hours the waves came on shore in little ripples that touched the sand ever so gently.  I took advantage of the calm water and looked for the little round, flat stones with holes in them that the Native Peoples had used for wampum.  Often, I would see the ancient lakefront and the dunes in my mind:  no houses, and quiet peaceful people fishing in the lake and living along its edge.


When we moved to the Hudson River Valley when I was 10, I carried with me a five-pound coffee can filled with the stones that I had collected over the years. Decades later, after my mother’s death, I was able to retrieve only a handful, all that remained, from her art studio. I have kept them safe ever since.

Today, I took the time to sort through them again. I found many of them had holes in them, a few of them had little stones plugging up the holes, a few of them have natural designs on them, and a few have natural star designs.

They take me back to that time when I first found them, and they have so much meaning for me in the present. They are truly a magical gift from Nature.
I am truly blessed.

*This was in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, so I write about this with the information that was available to me as a child at the time.