From Student Loans to Sudden Wealth: One Graduate’s Unexpected Inheritance
Meet Alice from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was a normal student just trying to get by, heartbroken at the death of her grandmother—the person that she cherished most in the world.
But she never imagined that with this profound loss would come a unique opportunity—and from the most unlikely of places…
The perfect pairing
Alice of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and her grandmother were the best of friends. Throughout Alice’s life, these two have shared an unbreakable bond, so it’s no wonder that Alice was truly devastated when her beloved grandmother passed away.
She had always been a kind and honest woman who showered Alice with endless love and support. It was clear Alice drew all her strength and confidence from her grandma. She was her confidante and source of comfort. Yet, all that time, dear old grandma had been hiding something.
Her bittersweet inheritance
Her grandmother’s final act of love was to leave Alice with all her worldly possessions, including her house, which was filled with precious memories of all the times they spent together. For Alice, it was a huge windfall, but being surrounded by all those memories was also a painful reminder. Since her grandma’s leave, there were no new memories to be made.
Fighting through the nostalgia, Alice did her best to clean up here and there and also make an inventory of everything in the house so she could decide later what to do with it all.
A trip down memory lane
While there was an inordinate amount of stuff in the house, Alice took her time to go through everything one item at a time. Every single thing she looked at and touched carried a memory of her time with her grandmother.
There were things that reminded her of the times when she was a child and even more things from when she was growing into the woman she is today. For every single one of these moments, her grandma was there. While Alice was busy tripping down memory lane, she saw it.
Right there on the floor by the front door was this tiny bronze statue of the Greek goddess Thetis—daughter of the sea god Nereus—that her grandma had been using as a doorstop. While it was a lovely piece, it never once crossed Alice’s mind that the statue held more value than any other door-stopping trinket.
Nonetheless, it made her smile. It was yet another reminder of her grandmother. She was always into ancient history and mythology and would always regale Alice with tales about the gods of the old world. In fact, it didn’t end there.
Like grandmother, like granddaughter
Growing up listening to all these marvelous tales, Alice herself developed such a keen interest in the topic—so much so that she went to college to study the Classics and eventually got her Bachelor’s degree in History.
However, as fascinating as the subject was, it certainly isn’t the most employable degree in the world. Thus, Alice found herself struggling. Whenever she looked at her bank balance, she wondered if she should have studied something else.
Little did she know, her luck was about to turn.
Time to make a decision
Even though all the stuff in her grandmother’s house held sentimental value and it would be hard to part with any of them, Alice decided that most of these things had to go. If nothing else, they made the house feel like a shrine to her grandmother, and all the memories were too painful to bear.
Alice was tasked with listing most of these old items online. One of these items was the bronze doorstop. Interestingly enough, it seemed to be getting quite a bit of interest—more so than she had expected.
It was nothing special…
Or so she thought.
All these years, this lump of metal was being used by her grandma to hold a door open. Mini bronze statues aren’t usually used for such a purpose, but still: grandma was a bit eccentric, after all, so she thought nothing of it.
In fact, now that her grandmother had passed away, that doorstop was the last thing on her mind. It was now nothing but a useless piece of metal that had outlived its purpose. Soon, however, she would realize just how wrong she was.
A mysterious buyer?
A few days after posting an ad for the doorstop, Alice received a message from across the world. At first, she didn’t think much of it and was ready to box it and ship it away. She thought that the $15 she listed the doorstop for was a fair price.
However, something in her gut told her not to proceed. Perhaps it was because the item garnered so much interest so quickly. Whatever the reason, Alice decided to take the bronze statue to an appraiser.
Holding her breath
The appraiser spent what seemed like forever going over the piece of paper. Armed with a magnifying glass, he went over every inch of the letter and kept reading and re-reading its contents. The whole time, his face remained unreadable.
With every passing second, Alice’s thoughts became more tumultuous. She felt in her gut that there was something important in that letter, but she couldn’t figure out what it might be. Paranoid thoughts were starting to creep in.
Nothing to do but wait
Alice tried to calm herself down by reminding herself that the appraiser knew what he was doing. She just had to be patient and wait for him to tell her what, if any, he found.
At this point, Alice still didn’t think that the statue was that valuable. Maybe a little more than she initially thought, but certainly not by a lot. But, of course, doubt started creeping into her mind. What if the appraiser did find something significant and chose not to share it with her?
All the “what ifs” started to crowd Alice’s mind.
What if the piece was, in fact, valuable, but the appraiser decided to cheat her out of learning the item’s true price? Even if the piece turned out to be worthless, could she trust the words of the appraiser?
Or, what if he was being truthful and the piece was worth a lot of money? Why did her grandmother hide these letters inside it? How in the world would she proceed? Alice became visibly stressed from all these thoughts.
Alice had heard so many stories about people possessing antiques. Some came with happy endings, and some were devastating. She knew that while a lucky few would strike gold and sell their possessions for hundreds of thousands of dollars, a great many more would be scammed out of their precious items.
That’s not all Alice was worried about, however. After all, the previously-useless doorstop was valuable to Alice in other ways, not just money-wise. She thought about her grandmother, and memories came flooding back.
For one thing, that statue has been in her grandmother’s house for decades. She may have been using it as a doorstop, but given that it contained a secret message, it probably meant more to her grandma than she had led others to believe.
Her grandma had chosen that statue specifically to hide something undeniably important to her: proof of her romantic past with a special woman.
So, if this piece held so much importance to her beloved grandmother, would she be able to let it go if it was worth a lot of cash?
It Could Give Her A Future
If it turned out that the statue was worth a considerable sum, Alice knew she would be faced with a tough decision. She knew she was currently at a place in her life where she could use every bit of help she could get.
Sure, she got herself a house, and she’ll get some cash from the other items she was selling, but more money certainly wouldn’t hurt. There was upkeep to consider, for example, as well as her loans. In any case, first, she needed to find out what the statue was worth—if it had any at all.
Worth the wait?
Alice was getting impatient and antsy from all the waiting. The appraiser was taking his time studying both the letter and the statue itself back and forth.
Did this mean the statue was actually worth something or not? After all, why spend so much time inspecting it if it was just a waste of time? Alice couldn’t wait to get some answers, but she knew she had to be patient if she wanted an accurate assessment of the piece.
At this point, the appraiser went from pouring over the letter to picking apart the notes in his backpack, seemingly looking for clues and additional information. His face was becoming visibly more intense, and he appeared to be lost in thought, which in turn, made Alice all the more curious.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, the appraiser went back to the counter and approached Alice. He said, “Okay, so here’s what you have.”
Not just any statue
As it turns out, the little bronze statue of goddess Thetis wasn’t just any ordinary statue from the dollar store. In fact, its sheer value made Alice question why such an important piece’s job had been holding open a door for all that time.
This statue was a creation of a prominent French sculptor from back in the 19th century. It was exciting news for Alice, who herself is passionate about historical artwork. But that wasn’t all…
As the appraiser was sharing this revelation with Alice, he grew more and more animated. Gone was the stuffy exterior and quiet demeanor. It was replaced by a broad grin that told Alice he was genuinely excited about his find and that he loved his work.
With this, Alice couldn’t help but feel just as excited. She wondered what else was in store for her in terms of this delightful discovery. She was about to find out.
The pieces are finally coming together
The now-animated appraiser continued to share his findings. It was intriguing! Fortunately, not only did the appraiser manage to identify the statue and estimate the time period of its creation, but he was also able to figure out who made the beautiful piece.
With every word that came out of the appraiser’s mouth, Alice’s intrigue and appreciation for the work of art continued to grow. She was even starting to feel sentimental.
But wait: did grandma know?
After finally learning the truth about this seemingly innocuous piece of metal, Alice began to wonder if her grandmother knew as well. But seeing as it was being used as a doorstop for the better half of a century, Alice concluded that her grandma probably thought it was just another trinket she picked up from somewhere.
Nonetheless, Alice knew better now. She knew the piece held real value. She just didn’t know that her life was about to change.
The final piece of the puzzle
According to the appraiser, thanks to the note hidden in the statue, he was now able to piece together the truth of the statue’s origins.
It stated that the bronze piece was one of the entries in a distinguished sculpture competition in France back in 1857, meaning that the statue was over 100 years old! And the fact that it was ultimately the piece that won first prize only added to its value.
We have a winner!
It’s undeniable: All those years, Alice’s grandmother had been in possession of a piece of history. The kicker? It was being used as a doorstop!
Alice and the appraiser knew better now. Even when the appraiser was first taking a rudimentary look at the piece, he could already tell that it was worth a lot. And after he completed his evaluation, Alice was understandably shocked at the words that came out of the final appraisal. It was worth $30,000! Alice couldn’t believe it!
A fateful meeting
Alice made sure to thank her lucky stars that she ended up in this particular antique shop with this particular appraiser. She knew she could’ve just as easily been swindled by someone who was solely in it for the money, who didn’t have a genuine appreciation for antiques as her appraiser had.
She still couldn’t believe that this statue was worth that much money. To think that she almost sold it for a mere $15! Now, the question remains: what would she do with it now?
A chance at a new beginning
Having zero clue as to how she should proceed, Alice asked the helpful appraiser for advice. He generously offered to put her in touch with a couple of people—people he trusted to do right by her just as he did—to help her sell the Thetis statue.
Alice went home a cheerful and merry girl with her statue and her letters. She started to imagine what her life could be like with everything her beloved grandmother had left her. Not only had she handed Alice down a lifetime of precious memories—she gave her a chance at a new beginning.