Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bicentennial Collection

In 1976 my Mom started collecting bicentennial quarters. There were many around and my Mom thought they would some day go up in value. They were easy to spot and her collection grew quickly. By 1980, she had A LOT of them. So many that she used them as a down payment on a built-in swimming pool for our back yard.

After the pool was built, Mom started collecting bicentennial quarters again. It was hard not to. Every time one of us in the family would get change we'd check our quarters and Mom would trade us for non-bicentennials that we would spend. They were getting a little harder to find by then, but Mom's collection quickly started to grow again.

When Mom died in 1999, my sisters and I split the quarters up and each took a third. It was still quite a few quarters. I put mine in a dresser drawer and figured I would just save them, maybe someday they would be worth more. Every once in a while I would get them out of the drawer and let the kids count them or stack them up into tall piles. I pretty much forgot about them, but Macy remembered them one morning when she was in 3rd grade and her lunch account at school was getting low. She had lunch money, but really wanted more for the extra treat line that had candy and chips.

She took a large plastic bag, filled it with the quarters and stuck it in her backpack on her way out the door. When I found out about a week later (due to all the candy and chip wrappers I found in her room and backpack) I was more angry that the lunch lady took the quarters without questioning where they had come from then I was that they were gone.

At the time, I told Macy I was disappointed with her and that I wished she hadn't taken them. That they were from my mother and she had no business going through my room and dresser. She was having lots of behavior issues at the time and I really did not think what I said made much of an impact.

A few months ago, I came home and Macy was sitting on the living room floor with a bunch of coins. She scooped them up and gave them to me. She told me she was collecting them while she was at work. Whenever someone brought in a bicentennial quarter, Macy would trade it with quarters she had and then save the bicentennials. Apparently, from the pile she had collected, she had been doing this for quite awhile.

She still collects them. Every once in awhile Macy will hand me 2-3 coins and say nothing. I say thank you and put them into my dresser again.  Sometimes I wonder if any of the coins are the same ones that my mother collected so many years ago... I guess I will never know. What I do know is that the tradition of collecting these coins has now crossed three generations and my daughter.... who really never got to know my mother- now has a connection to her. Bicentennial quarters always remind me of my mother, and now they will always remind Macy of me. That fact alone means Mom was right....those coins have definitely grown in value. :)

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