A Mason jar is pulled from its six-decade-long hiding place outside the Vyvlecka family home in Jourdanton, Texas. Courtesy photo

A Mason jar is pulled from its six-decade-long hiding place outside the Vyvlecka family home in Jourdanton, Texas. Courtesy photo


61 years later, buried ‘treasure’ is unearthed

By May 5, 2011

Sixty-one years ago, Robert Vyvlecka and his brother, Frank, buried a time capsule in the front yard of their home at 1500 Olive Drive in Jourdanton, Texas. They drilled a 6-inch hole 15 feet deep in the ground, then lowered a small Mason jar via a phone wire to the bottom.

A white metal pot was placed over the hole, it was covered with dirt, and the grass grew over it.

In 1974, Robert, who now lives in Davis, was visiting his parents, Joe and Adella Vyvlecka, in Texas. His son, Ken, was along, and after a good day’s work, talk about the buried treasure resumed. Frank quickly devised a metal detector to locate the white pot. It was found.

A phone wire had been attached to the jar to make it retrievable, but with a few good pulls, the wire broke. It had been buried deep in the ground for 24 years. Not to be discouraged, though, Frank and Robert put together an air compressor and a water hose, and fashioned a gas tank into a drill bit. The same type of drilling that put the jar in the ground years earlier was again under way.

Robert’s son, Ken, was used as weight, standing on top of a pipe wrench that was attached to the pipe to assist in the drilling. After several hours, the hole had been dug, but the jar could not be recovered. It seemed that the drill had passed just to the side of the jar, and even with water injected into the hole, the jar did not come loose.

The pot was replaced on top of the hole, and the treasure left to the protection of the earth.

Nearly two months ago, on March 18, Ken Vyvlecka, now of Kearney, Neb., was visiting the homestead in Texas with the intention of recovering the jar that had been buried by his father many years earlier. With the use of his father’s metal detector and a vague memory of the whereabouts of the buried pot, the digging began.

After nearly three hours, only a 14-foot-deep hole could be dug. The back hoe could only reach that far.

“You could make out the different colored dirt way down in the bottom of that hole,” Ken said. “I scratched around down in that hole and started to have my doubts that we might not be able to find it.”

However, the metal detector kept telling him that there was metal deeper in the ground. And lo and behold, shortly thereafter, the top of the jar was seen and fully recovered.

Both of Ken’s uncles, Frank and Joe Vyvlecka, were on hand to see the treasure that had been buried so many years ago. The paper inside the jar had the names of the Vyvlecka children: Robert, Joseph, Frank, Rosemary and Florence. Not out of character for south Texas farm kids, Robert also mentioned that it had not rained since October of 1949 and wrote on the note the day it was buried, March 21, 1950, the first day of spring.

Nearly 61 years ago to the day, Robert’s son, Ken recovered what had been buried by his dad so many years earlier. His motivation? Robert has been diagnosed with ALS and confined to a wheelchair. He is no longer able to do the things that he loves, namely, hunt for treasure, garden and be out in nature.

Ken videotaped the event, including the jar still entombed in the ground, and sent the DVD to his dad. The jar and note have since been taken to Nebraska, but they will soon find their way to Robert in California, carefully wrapped up in Ken’s luggage when he makes his next trip home to see his dad this month.

Special to The Enterprise

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