Monday, January 19, 2009

WHAT IS YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF MONEY?

I was involved with a discussion with some friends the other evening and, naturally, the talk went to money. I certainly didn't lead it in that direction but one of my friends is an investor and has some people follow him on Twitter and such, yadda yadda yadda...

Anyway, the question arose, "What is your earliest memory of money?" Apparently, this is an imprint of how you conduct your expenses...or rather, how it has influenced you throughout your life. I remember distinctly my earliest experience with filthy lucre. I was perhaps 5 or 6. I had saved some change and my mother was going to take me to the "Northern Lights" shopping center to purchase whatever I wanted. The Northern Lights Shopping Center was HUGE in its day. It was ahead of its time. It was a strip mall in the suburbs, which meant that we no longer had to get dressed up to go downtown to purchase clothing, shoes, mattresses, etc. Revolutionary!!!! And you really had to get dressed up to go to downtown C-bus. That, and the fact that my father was a businessman there...with his own business, thank you very much...we were very cognizant of our appearance and manners when we ventured below a certain highway exit...

Anyway, it was wintry weather. My mom took me to the Five and Dime...don't get me started...it was heaven for a fat kid like me...oh! the joy!!!...paddles with balls attached that I could never master beckoned me from the bins, Barbie wanna-be's piled in trashy heaps screaming for attention, pretend make-up loaded with lead and Crisco that had already seen the finger prints of a hundred other girls and experimenting little brothers who popped open the "tester" and smeared it on one of the Barbie wanna-be's (so sad looking)...marbles, bounce-high balls, Nerf balls, Slinky's, oh my gosh-it was heaven...and afterwards, you could get a cherry phosphate and a roast beef sandwich smothered in gravy while sitting in front of the pastry platter with the glass lid on top while clutching your new prized possessions...sheer nirvana....

Anyway, outside of the door of the 5 & Dime there was a man from Africa. I think he was from Africa, that's how I remember him...I just knew he wasn't local and I don't even know how I knew that. My mother must have gone on in because I was outside on the sidewalk watching this man. This was the suburbs of Ohio in the early sixties...he did NOT blend...he had beautiful eyes and he was gentle and soft spoken and he smiled...he was collecting for some kind of charity involving poor children...I was transfixed...I couldn't take my eyes off of him...I don't remember anyone giving him any money...I don't remember any one else in the world except him and me...he smiled at me...I walked up to him and gave him the change in my hand...he bent down and looked me in the eyes and he thanked me in his deep voice and soft accent. He told me I was generous. My heart burst. I didn't hear things like that. I couldn't take in enough of his face to suit me. I ran into the store frantically searching for my mother and asked for the rest of my money. She gave me the remainder of it and I ran back outside to find him. I put all of it in his big brown hands and he smiled again. I've never thought much about it until last Thursday.

So, I guess my first memory of money is giving it away, happily...that explains so much...

5 comments:

hi, i'm nancy! said...

i don't have a moving story like yours, Deb. i guess my earliest memory of money would have to be the 3 cents that it cost back in those days to buy a pint of milk at school. and the 35 cents it cost to buy a hot lunch. i remember clutching those coins very, very carefully until i had gotten to school and surrendered them to the teacher. i felt like i was responsible for Fort Knox or something!

The Katzbox said...

So you remember "clutching those coins" and feeling very very responsible for them until you "surrendered" them to the teacher. Wow. Does that sound at all familiar with how you view your hard earned cash today? Based on the discussion I heard the other night, can we assume that you are not easily parted with your cash? That you don't make rash or impulsive decisions with your money? This is so intriguing to me.... and thanks for responding Nancy...always a pleasure....

Cindy said...

My first memory of money... I remember moving to our new home in Kar-Mel. The suburbs in the mid 60’s – Karl & Morse road was “way out” back then before Northland Mall was built and we would spend those first summers petting the farmers ponies on Karl Road. I remember my parents having to pull to the side of the road to let an other car pass on Karl Road. Anyway our new 15 thousand dollar home was like a castle to my mother. I remember her being happy and that meant so much to me. She loved our yard and spent hours creating her flower garden that she was so proud of.
At the time there was lots of construction with all the new homes being built. My brother Tony and I would take the red wagon and spend the day collecting empty “pop” bottles We said pop, a word I used for two years after moving to California. The puzzled looks I would get when asking for a pop quickly eliminated that word from my vocabulary. Anyway, we would collect as many pop bottles as we could get that had been discarded by the construction workers and fill the wagon. We would then take our wagon filled with our “treasure” and cut through the empty field to Hydes Market to cash in our days find. At 2 cents a bottle we were lucky to get 60 cents. Right next to Hyde’s market was a flower shop called Milano’s Flower shop. Mr. Milano would always smile at us as he thought is was so wonderful of us to collect all of those bottles to buy a flower in a flower pot for my mother’s back yard garden. He would help us pick out the best flower he had and I remember him giving us two for the price of one. I remember how excited we would be to take our flowers home and present them to my mother . We wanted her to be happy.
Sometimes on a really good day when we had extra money we would buy a chocolate pop, but only if we got the flower first.
Do not know what that means as my first memory. I have been trying to make people happy with money ever since??? 

The Katzbox said...

Hi Cindy. Oh my gosh, you mentioned so many landmarks...I was a late-comer to your neck of the woods but Don knows all those places..and I still say "pop" here in SoCal despite the eye-rolling...and that story is so darling and so full of love...and it totally describes who you are today...you're always willing to fly your daughters out here, pay for their tickets, etc. You're very generous spiritually, you're very much a "giver". This history of yours doesn't surprise me one bit...not one bit...

hi, i'm nancy! said...

yo, Deb - what discussion the other night?

but to answer your question, actually, no. i spend money very easily. VERY EASILY. stupidly, even. i make major decisions in a snap - including which house to buy, which car to buy, big things like that.

so i guess, the moral of my money story is, i got sick and tired of holding onto those coins so tightly and one day, i just opened my fist and let 'er fly, baby!