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  • March 31st, 2009 | 10:06 AM
Childhood Memory Challenge - Money

Note: I am changing the name of this weekly event to Childhood Memory Challenge. It probably won't matter to you readers at all but it will help me organize my tags.

So many of us are working on taxes that this week's memory challenge is inspired by the thought of money and how we got it as a child.

When I was really young I thought money came from the dirt. No, really.

Every few days we would walk to town, me and my grandmother, and we always took the same route. We crossed the street to get back to our side in front of the same house every time. I don't know who lived there but I know that the edge of driveway, the lip that led from the street to their driveway, was always filled with dirt. By the time we got to that corner house someone or another would be outside and want to chat with my grandmother. I would get bored in about 3 seconds and then I would do what many other kids would do, look around for some dirt to play in. And there it was in the gutter.

I must have seen a penny in the dirt there once and then decided to always check there for money whenever I could. I'd find a stick and poke at the dirt while my grandmother chatted with a neighbor about the sales downtown or who was sick or how the roof needing fixing. And almost every time I found a coin or two. I used to wonder if my grandmother went over and seeded the dirt for me but that wasn't her style. She didn't believe in whimsy like that.

I tried to imagine how the money got there...did the owner of the house stop his car halfway in the driveway and empty his pockets? It didn't seem likely but I never did figure it out.

Your turn. Did you get an allowance as a child? Did you earn money any other ways before you were old enough to get a job?

Teachers: You can use this as a writing prompt. Have students write a story about the money that keep appearing in the dirt.

There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 16 comments — Leave comment )
March 31st, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
Childhood money
I vaguely remember a small allowance. Often my parents just gave us money when we asked. To my shame I also stole money once out of my mother's wallet. I didn't got caught. Except by guilt. Years later I wrote and sold a story on the topic. But my character got caught by her friend!

Sue Ford writing for children as Susan Uhlig
April 1st, 2009 06:27 am (UTC)
Re: Childhood money
Great that you were able to reuse that incident in a story.
March 31st, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
As the thirteenth child, there was not a lot of money. I often just lived in hand-me-downs and the like.

About the only time I got money was for my birthday. I always used to save it and inevitably, when I went to get it for something I wanted, it was gone. Never failed. I dunno who, exactly, was taking it, but someone was.

I was never allowed to do extra stuff to get money. Especially after the trampling, my mother would freak if I asked to go over to a friend's house after school. It never failed.

I think that's part of the cause behind my anxiety now.
April 1st, 2009 06:27 am (UTC)
Money seems to cause anxiety in a lot of us now.
March 31st, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
I know we got an allowance, but I can't remember much about that. The one strong memory is my father paying us to weed--he had a lot of fruit trees, and he paid us a quarter to week each well. We didn't get a choice--we had to do it no matter what. And I hated it. I would SO have done without that quarter if I'd been allowed. Blech. :)
April 1st, 2009 06:27 am (UTC)
So basically you would hate what I did all weekend - working in the yard. :)
March 31st, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
Money was very hard to come by for my sister and I. We were given 25 cents a week. When report cards came out, we received a dime for every A and a nickel for every B. Nothing for any other grade. Christmas might bring a dollar from a grandmother.

Occasionally a neighbor would hire us to do some small thing like weed a garden or trim brush and then we'd get a tiny pittance, like 25 cents a day. Later, I babysat and got 50 cents an hour.

It used to take forever to save up enough money for Christmas gifts. None of my relatives, and certainly not my parents, believed in just handing money out. You worked for it, one way or another. No other way to get it. And when you bought something, you had to want it BAD.

That may explain why spouse and I are so frugal even now :)
April 1st, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
Sounds like you learned better money lessons than I did. In high school my mom got me a checking account so I could learn how they worked and I was supposed to pay all my skating and horse expenses from the budget she put in there. But whenever I overspent, she just put more money in. thus, no consequence, no lesson learned.
March 31st, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
We had a magic tree in our yard. If I sat under it and wished for pennies or other small objects (a book from my room, etc.) and closed my eyes, and counted slowly to fifty, the pennies would magically appear under the tree --as long as my older sister was with me when I made the wish.

I don't recall receiving an allowance or being paid for doing chores and yet it seems like I always had a little pocket money.
April 1st, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
Love the image of your sister and the magic tree. :) Thanks for sharing/
March 31st, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
so, is that where...
...DIRT poor came from?
April 1st, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
Re: so, is that where...
LOL. Maybe so.
March 31st, 2009 10:42 pm (UTC)
I didn't get an allowance, but I had a job list every Saturday morning. I didn't get money, but my mom would give me money when I needed it. Of course, I got my first job at 14 at a hot dog stand and have been working ever since.
April 1st, 2009 06:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, I started working about 13/14 and that was it for the money from mom.
April 1st, 2009 02:46 am (UTC)
Childhood memory
One of the worst ways my sister and I earned money was to be assigned the task of picking the bagworms (ew!)from the evergreen shrubs in the front yard. These pests would damage the bushes so my father insisted that we remove them. We had to handpick each little bag, which contained a yucky worm, and place it in a metal container; when we finished, my father would burn the little suckers. All of this nasty work, which could take hours, paid 25 cents.
Because we hated this hot, gross task, we hit on the clever idea of "employing" two neighbor girls who always wanted to play with us. We paid them each 10 cents and watched them work; then we pocketed the remaining 15 cents. I don't think Daddy ever found out. Tom Sawyer had nothing on us.
April 1st, 2009 06:30 am (UTC)
Re: Childhood memory
Oh ick...what a way to earn a quarter. I don't blame you for outsourcing. :) Thanks for sharing.
( 16 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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