When I was very young, I remember with clarity that my family didn’t have much money. I decided to do something about it. At the age of 4, I sold water in front of my house for a penny. The water came from a garden hose and was dispensed in small colorful hard plastic cups. And my father seriously advised that I should pick up any stray pennies (or nickels or dimes) that I might happen across. My big score was finding a crisply-folded dollar bill lodged under a counter at Sears Roebuck at 6 Corners in Chicago. I gave it to my mother and she called me her “hero.”
To this day, I keep my eyes glued to the ground. I still pick up pennies and dimes and wallets and watches and cell phones and rings and other jewelry and even (once) a one hundred dollar bill that I find laying in public places. I always repatriate the personal (identifiable) items. But the few which have no claimants, I keep. Some items are quite nice. . . . .
My habit is to put “found” money in my left pocket (my change is in my right) and toss it in a bowl when I get home. And each year, I donate the proceeds to a charity. Most recently I gave a whopping $54.00 in change to Feed the Dream – www.feedthedream.org – an organization that works with the desperately poor in Guatemala. I can’t wait to take my granddaughter out – looking for coins by parking meters. I will make sure she finds them in abundance . . . .