Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I must warn you ahead of time, this is a long post. I talk about a few different topics which somehow in my head all relate to each other. (probably not). Aren’t you glad you aren’t in my head?

When I was a little girl I had a bank account with a bank pass book. For you youngster’s out there, a bank pass book is about the size of a passport. It listed your account number, name, debits and credits. Each time I made a deposit the bank stamped it with a date stamp.

Mostly my money consisted of birthday checks but, when I was in the 7th and 8th grade I babysat for a 2 year old named Alex. I was paid $13.00 a week to watch him for 2.5 hours. His mom worked swing shift and his dad worked day shift so there were a couple hours each day they needed a babysitter. I’d leave Jr. High each day and go to his house to watch him. We went to the park a lot and played in the house or backyard. He came to my softball practices with me on days his dad wasn’t home yet. I saved $250 in 2 years babysitting Alex. I bought myself a queen size waterbed in 8th grade with my “Alex” money. A waterbed I didn’t get rid of until I was 27 years old.

But, back to being a little girl. I actually thought the bank had a deposit box just for me. Like in Harry Potter, where the bank vault had a box just for him. I thought the money I gave them was the exact money I’d get back.

I had some silver dollar coins and Indian pennies that I was convinced I could keep safe in MY bank box. Thankfully I never did deposit those items into the bank, or they’d be long gone now. I still have the silver dollars but I have since lost the Indian pennies from my Grandpa.

I just think it’s funny how a child’s mind works and the fact I remember this fact about the bank box about myself.

Currently I have a quaint money collection. My first collectable item, in my opinion, came to me from my most favorite teacher I ever had. Her name was Miss Liu and I adored her. I stayed after class to help her clean the classroom. She always made me feel special and cared for. I sat nervously next to her during recess when I received my first pair of glasses, afraid the children would tease me. They didn’t. I truly had the best 4th grade year EVER because of Miss Liu. I’ve often said I was her “Pet” even though I can’t substantiate that fact.

Originally, however, I was assigned to Mrs. Brazowski. We called her Mrs. BrazowsCOW. I didn’t like her AT ALL. After 3rd grade I didn’t tell my mom I didn’t want her as a teacher. I should have, but I just assumed I’d get Miss Liu as my teacher. I’d never had a bad teacher up to this point but I knew I didn’t want Mrs. BrazowsCOW. She scared me. My mom and I walked to the school on a sunny, summers day to look at the list of classroom assignments, and I almost died when I saw I was assigned to Mrs. BrazowsCOW’s class! She was so MEAN. I could NOT have her as a teacher or I’d die. I begged my mother to get me out of her class.

My mom, flustered and surprised to know this teacher was even an issue, and at this LATE date was understandably displeased she had to contact the office and request a transfer for me. But, contact the office she did and I was transferred from horrible Mrs. BrazowsCOW to wonderful Miss Liu’s class. Thank you mom! Moms rock.

But, the first week of school Mrs. BrazowsCOW sees me in the hallway, stares me down and says in a Hansel & Gretel witch voice (at least in my head) “So, I understand you didn’t want to be in my class”. I just looked at her, stunned she’d called me on it. I didn’t say anything. Eventually one of us kept walking. Horrible.

Back to Miss Liu.

After Christmas break Miss Liu returned from a visit to China. One day after class while I was helping her, we were talking about her trip to China. All of a sudden she goes into her purse and pulls out a red dollar bill. It was Chinese money. She said “here, I want you to have this.”

I was floored. My teacher gave ME money. And not just any money. RED money. Special money. Chinese money. I don’t know how much it’s worth but it has the number 10 on it. I remember asking her and she told me the worth. An Chinese man is in the center, just like we have our President in the center of our money.

I cherished this gift. I still have this gift.

Over the years I’ve also collected/acquired other kinds of money. As a late teenager and into my 20’s I worked in retail and handled the cash registers. When a customer would hand me a $2.00 bill, I’d save it, then on my break I’d get my wallet and pull out two 1’s and swap them out.

I have a couple Silver Certificates now worth approx $10-$25.00 in value thanks to my retail days.

I also have Canadian coins and dollars.

I have a Singapore $1 from an ex-boyfriend who visited there while we were broken up.

I have real SILVER quarters. Not quarters like they make today. These quarters used much more silver in them. They’re heavier than today’s quarters.

I have half-dollars and silver dollars.

Once in awhile I pull out my money collection and look thru it. I enjoy my quant collection.

My collection isn’t worth much. Not financially anyway. The worth is in the history, the story how I received an item. The fun in having something different than the day to day money/currency we use now. But it all started with Miss Lui and her generous gift to her student.

If you are a teacher don’t underestimate the value of your kindness. I’m in my 40’s now and will never forget Miss Liu. I wish I could find her now. I’ve often thought about finding her and telling her how much she meant to me.

Sort of related, here is a funny true event that happened to me in the 4th grade.

Even though I didn’t have Mrs. BrazowsCOW for 4th grade homeroom, I did have her for literature class. Our class was doing a play on Paul Bunyan. “Paul Bunyan is a lumberjack figure in North American folklore and tradition. One of the most famous and popular North American folklore heroes, he is usually described as a giant as well as a lumberjack of unusual skill, and is often accompanied in stories by his animal companion, Babe the Blue Ox.”

In this play I was the 3rd Logger. This was huge for me because I had LINES to memorize. I memorized my lines sooo well. I was prepared people.

On the day of the play where we presented to our ENTIRE school, someone’s mom thought it would be more authentic if the Loggers (there were 3 of us dressed in flannel shirts and jeans) sat around the fake campfire eating popcorn. Each of us received our own baggy of popcorn. In hindsight this might not have been a good idea. The play is moving along nicely and the other loggers and I are happily eating our popcorn when I take a HUGE mouthful. You know the kind. You shove a fist full of popcorn in your mouth. Envision a hamster who has just filled his cheeks with food.

It’s right at this moment when it’s my turn to speak. Crap. What do I do? Do I spit out the popcorn? Where would I spit it? Or do I say my lines? The show must go on right?

I stand up and walk to my position directly in front of the audience and with a mouth full of popcorn I begin to say my lines. Popcorn is flying out of my mouth. I can see the popped kernal’s going everywhere. The audience is laughing hysterically. You can’t really even understand what I’m saying because my voice is muffled by all the popcorn. I glance at Mrs. BrazowsCOW who is on my right, standing down with the audience. She is not laughing. I’m sure I turned bright red. I finish my lines and sit back down.


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