Jeff Lustgarten found the treasure on top of the wheel guard of an antiquated cart in front of downtown Patterson’s Center Building on Thursday, May 10, after his wife, Sheree, became convinced that the clue in that morning’s edition of the Irrigator referred to the building.
That clue was as follows: “Around we go. Post it, stamp it and away it goes. Shhhhhh! Oops, there goes the red lights and the sirens. Got a headache? Buy some Tylenol or maybe Dramamine, because we’re going around again.”
Sheree Lustgarten noticed the reference to the post office and roundabouts and recalled that the Center Building served as Patterson’s first post office. So, she sent her husband to check it out.
She said she was schooled in the town’s history by former historical museum curator John V. Azevedo when the couple first moved to town.
“It all added up to me,” she said of the treasure location. “It was a no-brainer.”
Jeff Lustgarten said his wife had an extensive grasp of local history.
“She’s got a mind like a steel trap,” he said.
But while the contest’s clue givers were aware that the Center Building had been the first post office, the most recent clue was supposed to be a reference to the present post office on El Circulo and Salado Avenue, not the original.
Other El Circulo landmarks referenced in the second clue included Patterson Fire Station No. 1 and Patterson Family Pharmacy.
The first clue that appeared in the Irrigator the previous week took residents to landmarks farther north on El Circulo, specifically McAuley Ford, Patterson First Care Clinic, the former Harley’s department store next to the building that now houses Nunes Realty and the late Dr. John Lanfranki’s and Dr. Frank Reimers’ offices.
That clue was as follows: “Mustang Sally, you better slow your Mustang down. If you need some TLC, go ask Alice … or Richard. The doctor offices just past the old Harley’s parking lot are closed. Thanks Dr. John and Dr. Frank for your services.”
All the clues were intended to take treasure hunters on a journey around El Circulo and ultimately down Salado Avenue to the Center Building. A total of five clues were planned, with the last slated to appear May 31, the day before the Apricot Fiesta.
Sheree Lustgarten, who said this was the first year she and her husband had actively participated in the treasure hunt, said she felt bad about discovering the prize on a fluke.
But then again, neither she nor her husband felt that bad. The two were already planning what to do with their winnings.
“We’re going to have some fun at the fiesta, and then maybe go out to dinner at Damasco’s,” Jeff Lustgarten said.
• Jonathan Partridge can be reached at 892-6187, ext. 26, or firstname.lastname@example.org.