Wednesday, January 30, 2013


My folks did NOT buy us everything we wanted.
They were big on allowances, and extra chores to earn extra money.
They also encouraged us to take on neighborhood jobs, like dog sitting, 
yard watering, etc.

I suspect in part, that window shopping was to give us time to want things...
to yearn for them enough to feel encouraged to make the money to buy them ourselves.
If nothing else, if all we did was save our allowance, then we were getting a lesson in managing money.
Having to save for them helped us to want to take good care of them.

They were big on that too... taking care of your things.
If my bike was noticeably dirty my dad would spirit it away to his garage.
I would go to hop on it and no bike.
The first time I complained about this disappearance,
I was told that the bike was not leaving the yard until it passed my dad's inspection.
Since I was a stubborn learner, 
I didn't have to ask the other times it went into his garage,
I just got the soap and prepared it for the old man to view.

Allowance day was a great day, but possibly the longest day on earth!
When the basset alerted us to my dad's arrival,
my feet beat their way down the stairs,
leaping the last three steps to stand at the door with my open palm extended toward him.
There was no sense in messing around... it was pay day.

He did not grumble about that.
He shelled a few quarters into my hand and off I ran...
back upstairs to my bedroom where the little metal box with the combination lock in the center waited.
Immediately I turned the dial back and forth.
I could have dropped the coins into the top of the box where a handy little slit waited...
but I wanted to join the money together while gazing at it.
What a lovely sound it made when they mixed together!

The content was dumped onto my bed, new quarters added and the counting began.
This was generally followed by a visit with the catalog...
once the loot was back in the bank.
If I spent all of it I could get... and the dreaming would begin.
But generally I would put it back into the bank and decide that
better things waited if I made it another week or so before spending any.

I was almost as bad about it as a young adult with my first pay check not connected to family or neighbors.
I knew when pay time was and I would be there...waiting.
It was my money, I earned it and I wanted it on time.
Unfortunately, the older I got,
the more experience I gained  with employer connected pay screw ups.

Checks for the wrong amount or wrong hours credited.
Checks that were delayed for hours or even days.
Snow or ice delays.
Once my check was wrong and they told me that I had to give it back and they would give me another in two weeks...
Are you kidding me?
What were we supposed to do for money for two weeks?

I liked the pay envelopes best.
Those little envelopes much like the ones used for school bank accounts
that came to you fat with bills.
They felt like pay.
They looked like pay.
The gratification was immediate.
But those days vanished away in the tide of time.

Paper checks never seemed that satisfying.
At least not until you cashed them.
They tended to be larger amounts though.
That part I liked.
But most of it was left at the bank...
not as many bills and coins to run through my fingers.

Now days my pay comes on a pay card.
It arrives mysteriously between 8:30 and 9:00.
I can view it on my computer once it has arrived.
This means many visits to the site starting around 8:15.
(Hey, maybe it will be early one day.)
Proving that the little girl who's feet beat their way down the stairs
to stick out her eager little hand is still alive and well inside me.

Its not the same of course.
The thrill is less.
I don't hold a pile of money in my hands.
I hardly see it,
unless I ask for cash back at the store.
I don't see it when it transfers into my bank account later either...
because I don't want it all on a pay card that can be lost or stolen.
Yet there I am after the transfer at the bank...
because I like to do it in person...
immediately upon my return home...
it must be checked to assure myself it is there...
and the dreaming can begin.



  1. I love the way you write...
    You are good with putting the words together in such a way that the reader is drawn in...
    I felt the enthusiasm you had as a little girl putting your money into the metal box.
    Pay day is not the same any more, I agree.
    So many things aren't the same...sigh.

    1. Yes, a great many things have changed. But sometimes, even though the delivery is different, some of the gladness of a thing remains.

  2. lol, dreaming for sure. my paychecks are smaller than ever! but you sure did bring back memories of allowance. thanks for that. :)

  3. lime, I think that we were blessed to grow up in a time where things seemed less complicated. I think our parents had the same fears and dreams that we as parents had/have but we were able to retain an innocence that our children have lost.

  4. Wow.. you used to get actual pay in an envelope?? Wow. Very nicely written! Glad you had the energy to do it. Love reading it. I'll be happy to have mine being entered into an account. Soon....

  5. So what are you dreaming about buying these days? Great post by the way especially since there was a mention of a basset. Have a great weekend.

  6. Your story reminded me of the time when I was younger and I saw a cool kitchen set for my Barbies. I emptied out my piggy bank and counted up all of the pennies. I think my parents had the bank change it to bills and then I was able to buy my kitchen set. I loved that thing, it smelled like vanilla.

  7. It was really special to get paid when younger. And, yes, actual money in hand was always more of a thrill than a check. Best of all was when someone counted out the money into your hand. More often than not, I received a check for my work, but I held quite a few positions (that is, under the table) that resulted in bills being peeled off of a roll and slapped onto my palm. That was always tremendously satisfying.

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  10. Hi ya silly rabbit. Hope all is well.

  11. I find myself looking at my bank account on-line at least every other day -I have that same sense of wanting to SEE my money, even if it's only virtually.

  12. I'm old enough to remember having a bank account book and watching my money grow thanks to compound interest. So much for that. Change keeps on happening and not always for the better. Nowadays I get my paycheck deposited magically into my account *sigh*

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