Dollar Discovery! On September 10, 2015 I opened an envelope dated April 30,1962 that Mother sent me in college. I had read her letter then, but did not open the Bossler Mennonite Church bulletin where she had tucked a dollar bill (series date 1957) until now. I wonder now whether she was testing to see if I had taken the time to open the bulletin she enclosed.
When I opened the bulletin commemorating Church College Day, a few weeks ago, out tumbled a “Silver Certificate” dollar bill backed by REAL money, not the “Federal Reserve” bills we carry around in our wallets nowadays.
What was going on in the world in April 1962?
- US district Judge J. Skelly Wright ordered the desegregation of elementary schools in New Orleans, LA.
- John Kenneth Galbraith, then U.S. Ambassador to India, wrote a letter to President Kennedy proposing a negotiated peace between North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
- At the Ealing Jazz Club in London, Brian Jones was introduced to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The three would become the heart of The Rolling Stones.
- Walter Cronkite replaced Douglas Edwards as the anchorman for the CBS Evening News.
- The Century 21 Exposition World’s Fair opened in Seattle, Washington on April 21, 1962
What was happening in the Longenecker house then?
Here are unadulterated excerpts from Mother’s letter:
“Hello to all the gals at Peachey House. . . . “Did you get your book – – – I mean your ‘Books,’ The Post Master want to know when you got the book we send. Don’t for-get to tell us he want to see know how long it took to get to E. M. C.”
“. . . I called LaVon’s mother on Fri. the way it sounds Maybe you are taking her place. she is going to work for Dr. Walmer 5 weeks then she is going to be counsler at a few camps. She is sure you will like it. She said you even get off the fourth of July with Pay. she knows they pay over a $ a hour but she didn’t know right yet how much.” (Lavon Nolt (Kolb) is a school friend: We attended first grade → college together. Here Mother is discussing summer work for me.)
“. . . I started to tell you Janice [sister] and I were at the Mother & daughter banquet on Fri. eve. they really had a nice program. & plenty of food such as fruit cup, a very large slice of Ham loaf, baked potato, corn & peas, cold slaw, pickles & olives, celery & carotts, ice cream & cake Mints & nuts. Well, we were just stuffed.”
“. . . When you get your check get it cashed then you will have when you need.”
There are two references to money in this letter, three if you count the dollar bill I didn’t discover until now. I don’t remember what the check was intended for or the amount, but it was probably not enough for books or tuition. And seldom did Mother write a letter that didn’t mention a menu or food preparation.
I know now that she equated food with love. And she knew that money, even a little bit, would sweeten my passage through my college days too.
God bless the memory of my mother, who knew the value of a dollar . . .
. . . and the appeal of a home-cooked meal!
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