Penny for Your Thoughts by Lou Jasikoff
My hobby of collecting pennies started at an early age and started out innocent enough.
Both my parents were born and raised in New York City, Lower East Side, 7th street to be exact, between 1st and 2nd Avenues. Different time, different era, for sure. Mom's apartment growing up was quite spacious, especially when compared to my Dad's. Getting to the apartment where my Dad grew up required climbing straight up four flights of stairs, so steep that even as a young kid visiting my grandparents, it caused me to huff and puff. There was no elevator. The apartment was small, tiny: two bedrooms, a small living room, and a little kitchen. And no bathroom. The bathroom was in the hall and shared by the two other families who lived on the same floor.
My two aunts shared one bedroom, my Dad and uncle shared the other bedroom, and my grandparents had the living room. Dad's room was just large enough for two beds and a dresser. That's it. In the bottom drawer of the chest, my Dad kept his collectibles in a shoebox type of carton. One of those collectibles was a halfpenny which was first minted in 1793 and last minted in 1857.
One of the questions I always had, when I looked through that box of collectibles, was why didn't my father save more halfpennies, mainly since they were no longer minting this type of coin? His response was always the same: "We needed those pennies to pay bills.” As I said, different time, different era.
Figuring one day the penny, too, would no longer be minted when I grew older, married, and had children of my own, I decided to start saving pennies in earnest for my grandchildren. I didn't want to be asked one day why I hadn't kept more pennies. And so it began, saving pennies, but that is not all!
I decided to pick up one of those crayon banks, and before I even had grandchildren started writing notes of encouragement, noting essential family events, putting in pennies and nickels, using it as a time machine of sorts for them to have at a later date.
Today I cultivate five of these ongoing time machines, one for each of my grandkids. Others have been filled over time and sealed, each with a grandchild’s name on it and they are to open them on their 21st birthdays.
What's in them, you ask? I don't even know at this point. A lot of pennies and nickels for sure, but also words of wisdom. What I've written is not only from a grandfather to his grandchildren but from my heart. Among the pennies and nickels are hopes for them to never give up on their dreams, that with hard work they can accomplish anything they set out to do, to respect themselves and others, and enjoy life with all it has to offer.
Time Capsule Recipe