In the US, money is denominated in dollars and cents. We still have a one-cent coin, called a penny.
People tend to ignore pennies, but they have a special meaning for me.
My elder daughter was an early reader and we were always on the lookout for stories that matched her reading ability without being too grown up in content. Her elementary principal suggested “The Hundred Penny Box.” The story is about a child and an elderly relative who has a box with a penny from every year of her life. We decided not to let our daughter read it because no other adults in the book really listened to either the child or the elder, but I loved the idea of having a penny for each year as a memento.
I have given penny boxes to family and friends for milestone birthdays or anniversaries. My parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. My friend and now spiritual mentor as a memento of her 40th birthday sweat lodge ceremony. My college roommate’s 50th birthday. I give a new penny for the current year each year on the anniversary or birthday date.
The only penny box I started that is no longer being added to was the one I gave my friend Angie for her 49th birthday. With a doctor-husband and many friends in the medical community, she was worried about turning 50, knowing that the fifties is a dangerous decade, health-wise, with many serious health conditions cropping up. Because the penny box commemorates the beginning of a year rather than its completion, the penny box for 49 contains 50 pennies. I thought it would be a good way to ease into her 50s the next year.
Within weeks of her fiftieth birthday, Angie was diagnosed with lung cancer, a shock as she had never been a smoker.
She fought hard and we added pennies for her 51st, 52nd, 53rd, and 54th birthdays.
We knew the 54th was going to be the last birthday she would celebrate.
As 2005 began, I wanted to find a new penny to add to the box while she was still alive, knowing her October birthday would not see her alive. I even went to a coin shop, hoping to find a newly minted penny, but it seemed that the mint had not yet started making them yet.
Angie died on March 25.
Later that spring, when I found a 2005 penny, I sent it to her husband to complete Angie’s penny box.
However briefly, 2005, her 55th year, was Angie’s year, too.
This post is part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. Join us! Details here: http://lindaghill.com/2014/11/28/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-november-2914/. This week’s prompt is sense/scents/cents/sent.
Badge by Doobster @Mindful Digressions
11 thoughts on “SoCS: Special Cents”
The concept of penny box is new to me. In India, we have a tradition of giving a 1 rupee coin along with our gifts, as a sign of abundance and prosperity.
Beautiful post, I am glad Angie could have her year 55th year.
Thank you for sharing your lovely tradition from India. Thanks also for thinking about Angie. She was a special friend.
This was so sweet! Very touching and I think sometime this week I will reblog it. Pennies won’t be around much longer, but you have used them for a special idea and I love your inspiring plan for the people in your life.
I am dreading when the penny gets discontinued. I suppose I will have to resort to dimes or some other coin. I can’t abandon any of my loved ones’ boxes.
A very special and poignant memory. I wish people did not fear getting older and it is very hard that you lost your friend so young.
I am ten years younger than Angie, so I am now the age she was when she died. I suppose watching her experience could have made me fearful of aging, but the opposite occurred. Instead, I find myself grateful for every day I’m given.
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That’s great. Because no one knows the future but many people live long, happy and fulfilling lives and we might as well aspire to do the same and make the most of it. 🙂
I know Angie’s husband appreciated your remembrance with the 2005 penny. I bet Angie appreciated it too. I imagine her smiling, from some sort of distance, that spring when you found it and sent it to her husband.
Thank you for sharing your imagining with me. It touched my heart. I do still feel connected with Angie.
What a moving post. I love the concept of a penny box, especially the lengths you went to for Angie’s. Very touching.
Thanks so much. Sometimes little things can take on greater meanings.
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