8) A Beach in the Attic

I had just bought a house – 100 years old and lots and lots of work to be done on it. I had given up the lease on my apartment and was frantically working every night and weekend to make the house livable so I could move in. I stored hundreds of boxes in the attic along with everything else I owned so I could paint walls, sand and stain floors, repair ceilings, replace flooring – the place had a lot of charm and a lot of 100 year old ailments. I was in over my head, worn out, and overwhelmed. My completely wonderful boyfriend was helping out as much as possible and told me to just stop worrying about the attic – he’d go up there and sort, organize, box, and label everything. So for the next several days, he was upstairs working away and I was downstairs with a mask, goggles, and either a sander or a paint sprayer.

One evening around midnight, I was dirty and exhausted, about to do one more round cabinet sanding, when he called me and asked me to come up to the attic for a minute. I figured he wanted to show me how efficiently he’d arranged everything. I washed my hands, wiped the grit off my glasses, and went to the top of the steps. As soon as I was on the top step, he took my hand and told me to shut my eyes. Then, he blindfolded and led me through the darkness, then told me to stop.

I was standing on a sandy beach, complete with a giant silk palm tree. We sat down and he "lit" the fire (electric fire logs) and pulled out two champagne flutes and a bottle of champagne. I was in awe. The beach was huge, about a 10′ x 10′ area, over a foot deep. I was scared the ceiling was going to cave in!

The palm tree looked real, about 12′ tall, with real bark. The fire logs were glowing. Then, Mark handed me a treasure map and I followed the map all the way to a corner of the attic, and there on the sand was a giant "X." I dug under the X and pulled out a tiny treasure chest. I ran back to the beach and sat down. When I opened the lid, I saw the most gorgeous diamond ring nesting in a bed of rice. Did I mention I was laughing and crying at the same time? I was speechless, and if you knew me, you’d know that in and of itself was a miracle. He bent down on one knee and proposed.

Later, I had to know how on earth he’d pulled it off. He built a wooden platform with sides for the beach then hand carried 1500 pounds of sand, one 50 pound bag at a time, and poured it out. He bought the tree from a Silk Plant Store, found the boat and mounted it on wheels, hung hundreds of yards of fabric to make the tunnel, then added the fire logs, the stars, the champagne, the flutes, the treasure map, and of course, the treasure chest and the ring. It had taken him hours of back-breaking work. Thank heavens I was so involved in what I was doing, I didn’t even notice or question. The whole thing was a complete surprise! Later, when I realized how much work it had taken, I asked him what he would have done if I’d said "No." He told me he would have told me to just stay up there and think about it for awhile.


Proposal story by:

Caren Hobbs McPherson

Greensboro, NC


The founder and president of Diamond Cutters International, is one of the worlds top diamond experts, as well as a three-time Guinness Book record holder in jewelry design.
Fred The Diamond Guy
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