Thursday, September 06, 2007


My father has a thing for pennies. I'm not sure where it started, though my first memories of it are from Williamsburg when he traveled for work and would always stop at coin shops during his trips to gather rare coins. He had a bunch of those cardboard trifolds that you push the coins into so you know you have one from each year from each mint. . .

I get my type A personality from my father, and over the years I have discovered several odd obsessions that he harbors that remind me that we are truly related. He has, in his golf bag, the cards from every round of golf he's ever played. I have the movie ticket stubs from every movie I've seen at a theater since the age of 12 (he probably has ticket stubs too, I've just never seen them) So, when he developed his "thing" for pennies, it became a bit of an obsession. If you want to, you can trade my dad pennies for "real money". He would rather give you a quarter for your 25 pennies than see you drop a single one of them in a parking lot. He keeps as many as he can, in a wooden bowl in his top drawer, opting to use larger denominations so as to get the greatest number of pennies as change.

Truth be told, he may be one of the reasons the country is having a penny shortage.

There is a tradition in my father's house when his bowl fills with pennies. He gathers his grandchildren together, hoists the large fruit juice jug out of his closet, and sets about having the kids gather the pennies he dumps out on his bed and put them in the jug. One such evening happened Sunday night. I was brought in to document the event:

"This is your inheritance," he tells them. And that's probably true, to some extent. He's been collecting them for a long time, and by the time he finally dies, many years from now, the collection will be huge. I can't imagine the day his progeny has to lug those big fruit juice jugs to a Coinstar machine somewhere and cash them in. . . it will be a sight to behold.

Aubrey offers up an amen to that

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