Friday, January 05, 2007

The spiteful little girl and the quarter of destiny

As a little girl, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. One of our first interactions (which my mom enjoys recounting) is when, giving me a bath as a slippery toddler, she tried to drown me. As she tried to flee the scene (she called it going home for the evening) I wailed my little heart out, wanting only to be in granny's dangerous embrace once more. As her namesake (my middle name is Bethine - pronounced "beth-eeeeeeen") and her only granddaughter, and her only daughter's only daughter, I was destined to be spoiled by this special lady.

My family moved to California when I was eight years old, in part due to Alaska's spiraling economy and in part because we would be closer to my grandma and grandpa. My parents thought it was a great idea to have built-in babysitters a strong support network living so close, and took advantage of it during the summers. My mom would rush us out the door and dump us, sleepy-eyed and bed-headed at my grandparents' house, where we would run around all day, hiking in the hills behind their house and drinking all of my grandpa's Dr. Peppers.

On one of these occasions, I was watching my grandma get ready for the day. She was dressed and was just putting on her jewelry when I spied a quarter in her jewelry box.

"That's a weird looking quarter, Grandma."
"It's a bicentennial quarter, sweetie. A special edition from 1976."
"Cool! Can I have it?"
"No, you'll spend it."

No? NO ? She never told me NO. It was preposterous - unheard of. Although my relationship with my grandmother is still good - we e-mail and talk on the phone quite frequently - I have never forgotten that forbidden quarter. Since that time, I have collected every bicentennial quarter I've come across and put them in a piggy bank. Only once have I spent one (laundry was really important and I felt guilty about it for days) and I've amassed more than $10 worth of these little babies. I have no idea what I'm going to do with them, but someday, I'll let her in on my little secret.

You said I was going to spend them, Grandma. Well... HA!

1 comment:

Gramma said...

Oh my love, my love. I'm so sorry I said "no" to you way back then. But, I hope I've made up for it through the years by never refusing you anything else. I'm sure there was some excuse for my bad behavior - busy getting ready to go somewhere, not wanting to warp your little mind or ruin your teeth with non-essential sweets or trivia. After all, I helped pay for those beautiful white pearlies. But, if I had a million bicentennial quarters from 1976, I would give them to you today in an instant. And, you could save them or spend them on anything your heart desires. I have spent all morning reading your blogs (is that what it's called?), and I just don't see why you don't sit yourself down and write a book or something. Your words create pictures and feelings for me -- and, I think (not being the least bit grandmotherly prejudiced in your favor) that you have "the gift" with words. Plus, I really like your pictures - and I LOVE your hair whether long or short.