Scrapbook Eighty One…


JULY 2014


I told a story in my Too Far to Walk book about buying a collection of antique African wooden sculptures from Sosoko, a trader friend from the Dark Continent.

A short time later, Michael Douglas wandered into our gallery. I had not met him before but I knew his resume was crammed with accomplishments that would impress even the most self-possessed. He stayed in our guest house and we socialized for a short time. He seemed like a down-to-earth, normal kind of guy, so I asked him how he could not be affected by his successes, which included winning an Academy Award. His response spoke to his humanity. “Because, as Kirk Douglass’ son, I grew up with all those Hollywood stars who were big shots.”

Michael enjoyed antiques and purchased five of our African statues. They were large, gangly and hard to ship so I decided to pack them in my airplane and personally deliver them to his front door.

A week later the two of us were chewing some finger cheeses and drinking wine beside his pool up Benedict Canyon, or wherever it was. It looked down on all of Hollywood, and I was impressed. The company and the view provided me with an enjoyable but fleeting sense of preeminence.

After a few minutes Michael went into his house for more wine, leaving me alone to wallow in the flourish of his opulence. Just then, a man wearing a low thread-count sweater, shorts, slosh slippers and rose-colored glasses entered through the gate and sat beside me on a bench. He also was wearing a rather toothy smile. We introduced ourselves but his name didn’t register, and talked for a few minutes. He seemed poised and confident, but otherwise ordinary. Suddenly he glanced at his watch, mumbled something, and departed with some urgency. How strange that was, I thought.

When Michael returned I mentioned what had happened. He said, “Yeah, I saw him through the window. That was Elton John, he lives in the neighborhood and comes by once in a while.”

When I told that story to my daughters they laughed, and reminded me of something I keep reminding myself, that I was born a hundred years too late. f


43 thoughts on “Scrapbook Eighty One…

  1. Michael Douglas as well as his father have always been among my favorite actors.

  2. Forrest, this was a great story. Thanks for sharing. I’m looking forward to arriving in your beautiful city tomorrow.

  3. I just saw “Romancing the Stone” with Michael a few days ago & then as a coincidence watched “The War Wagon” with Kirk just a few hours later. Both actors are truly gifted. I particularly liked the way Kirk would mount/dismount his horse in “The War Wagon”. I don’t think he ever got on or off the same way twice in the whole movie. He was smooooooth. Michael, sliding down a mountain of mud into Kathleen Turners crotch….not so much. Equally entertaining though. 🙂


    • I think “Romancing The Stone” is a surprisingly terrific love letter of a movie, dedicated to several decades of other (filmed) Treasure Hunt stories. Plus, Kathleen and Michael had some great onscreen chemistry. (Was so happy to see them rejoin in War of the Roses.)

  4. If you didn’t know who the people in the photo were… I would have picked Peggy and Forrest over Michael Douglas, as the movie stars.

  5. There is a place in a Montana canyon where nature’s artwork resembles a line up of African statues from Sosoko. No kidding, I’ll try and find an online photo. Great story Forrest; fun to hear about your family. New and old memories can turn on a light in ones heart 😉

      • .*.*Starlight – love your screen name.*.*

        Regarding the photo, I don’t know how to post personal photos (sorry) and don’t want to link to Google Earth as it reveals my search area.

          • SoCalJeremy, Glad someone has more brains than I do! Hope to be in San Diego or Huntington in August and clear the cobwebs out of my head.

            Thanks for the tip.

    • Impressive Nor! My solve resonates with one of Mr. Fenn’s earlier posts regarding the song One Tin Soldier…so that means….YUP…we are both probably dreaming in lala land! Fun to dream tho.

  6. Too funny f. You didn’t care too much for Sir Elton John, huh?
    Good music though!
    Seems like you would like the song “Daniel,”

    Michael Douglas on the other hand… Very cool.

    Also, that is an awesome pic of the three of you.

    Isn’t there two or three maps in the sequel… Jewel of the Nile?

    Oh I hope that’s not the case here…. “Take the chest and go in peace, or trade it all in for whats behind door # 3.”

    Boots and I could be here awhile… 🙂

  7. Lifestyles of the rich and famous……must be rough.

    Fenn, maybe I should go through official channels over at Jenny Kiles’s to ask this question. I was just wondering what you picture yourself doing had you been born a hundred years earlier……..and if we would now be looking for a hundred year old treasure hidden some place.

  8. “That’s why all of Philadelphia was reduced to a thumbnail,
    to show me that each one is as important as the all,
    myself no less than any of them, and no more.”

    “If I cannot enrich those with whom I interact each day
    and cause them to be better for my having passed their view,
    then I have wasted my turn.” – Forrest Fenn

  9. It occurs to me that is is even more remarkable that Forrest chooses to spend time with searchers on this blog who are likely just everyday heros in their own small circles.

  10. Thanks for sharing another great snippet Forrest. I know the feeling, about being born in the wrong century ! Maybe in the next life…

    • Forrest & Ken, as a child my family called me Sacajawea. At age 7 I was happier looking on top of gopher piles for arrowheads than playing with dolls. Have to say I would miss a hot shower and toilet paper though. Here! here! for a few modern conveniences on the trail 😉

      • Being resourceful has its advantages! Besides, we wouldn’t know the difference anywho…

      • Me too Nor. I wasn’t much on dolls and staying inside to play. I have never found an arrowhead though, no matter how hard I look, but I will continue. I’m not a quitter. It’s funny to think how many times I have had no bathroom close and had to go outside. Part of camping and wilderness I guess. Never leave home without of toilet paper though.

  11. Coincidence? We just watched Romancing the Stone a couple nights ago. Can’t believe it’s 30 years old, but it ages well; so has the gentleman in the photo.

  12. I don’t own TFTW… Can someone tell me if this is the exact story from TFTW or a “further expanded upon” version of the story?

    • James, I no longer have a copy of TFTW. The story is in the book and another photo of the Sosoko statues – but I can’t remember if this is identical or an expanded version. Hopefully, someone else will bring clarity.

      • James-
        The character Sosoko is part of a different story that is in TFTW but that story does not include Michael Douglas. This is a different story than any that are in the TFTW book. However, I think this story was on Forrest’s website at one time. There were more stories on that website than are there now… Forrest rearranged stories on his website and took some down a year or more ago.

        • dal,
          have you heard mention if the story of f’s life has been optioned for a movie? i was approached at work recently and asked if i had heard someone was making a movie about him, his life and the chase…I know he’s a dear friend of yours and just figured you’d know if anything like that was afoot. thanks for letting us know if this rumor is to good to be true.

          • There are few “lost” stories. Most of the stories that were on Forrest’s website were either rewritten and appear as stories in TFTW, were left on his website or became scrapbooks on this blog.

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