The Three Dollars in My Pocket

granny lillian Granny Lillian

When I was young, my Grandmother gave each of us (her grandchildren) $3 tucked in a sweet, store-bought card for our Birthdays.  We were to go “Hog Wild” and blow every dime!!! When we were very little, this was a monumental sum and we would plan for days our shopping spree!!! But as we rounded out the ages of 10 then 12 and 15, we came to realize that $3 would barely get us out the door!  But, Granny always gave us the $3 anyway, even though she could have afforded much more!

I recently celebrated my Birthday;

birthday cake

One of those Birth dates that you wonder where time, and your innocent youth went,

surrounded by cats and you cry while watching The Yearling with Gregory Peck while you eat chocolate cake on the couch surrounded by your zillion cats!!!! Yeah! I celebrated THAT Birthday!!!!! And for a flash, I had this thought “Granny’s $3 should come tomorrow!” and I felt better and more like Life goes on no matter how ancient you are!!!!

But, Granny has been gone for decades and $3 doesn’t even buy you a gallon of gas!

It probably never did buy much, but there was something romantic about that gift of choices.  Granny trusted ME to know what I wanted, to figure out the true value of that material item, and to choose wisely because my budget was limited.

I decided, on this Birthday of No Return, that I should go seek that “Gift” valued at $3.  I had to think hard about this because I could have easily run off to the Dollar Store Daffy-Dougs-discount-dollar and bought three items and said “Voilá!”.  I could have also gone to Walmart and into the deep clearance aisle and purchased several things that added up to the $3 limit and again, said “Voilá!”  But what would that mean?  I now owned plastic junk from a foreign country that would either sit in the back of a drawer or break within days?  And what kind of Tribute would that be to my Granny???

So, Instead, I headed off to my favorite “Junk” Store!

The County Humane Society Thrift Store is close to my heart both for its purpose in supporting a worthwhile cause and venue, but also because they price the items that are donated reasonably!

junk store center aisle

 

I am a familiar face to the 2 employees because I go in often to scour the shelves looking for odd items that I can use in my artwork.

Today, I went directly to the manager and explained to him that I needed to spend my Granny’s 3 bucks in full!!! He chuckled and then cleared his throat when he recognized my full seriousness!!!! “Alrighty then….Let’s get started!” and he guided me over to the shelf with empty frames.

junk store shelves

 

And then we moved to the books. Next was the chachki aisle, full of knick knacks and doo dads that absolutely NO ONE needs, but you MUST have!!!!

even more chachkis

chachkis

more chachkis

 

The final destination was old art supplies. I started digging through plastic boxes and baskets and piles of fabrics and containers full of lace and buttons and beads and string.

crystal

 

toy junk

 

I carried all of my loot to the front counter and proudly declared, "What are the damages??!!" The manager took a paper pad, licked the lead of the pencil and began adding up my accumulation of wonders!!  His assistant carefully wrapped everything up as if it were precious treasure. Other customers gathered to see if the $3 would be met, or surpassed.

"Well", the manager said. "My calculations …with taxes, comes to…" breath was sucked in…"to 3 dollars and…." More sucked in breath "and 30 cents!"  Everyone quickly looked at me to see if Granny’s $3 would be spent on the stash!  I hemmed and then I hawed and finally…(just like when I was 8 years old) “SOLD!” I exclaimed!

Amy at junk store Hunting for the good junk!

lillian: side view

 

In the end, Granny’s $3 was well spent.  I bought memories and a sweet connection to her frugal instinct. I reignited the excitement of “the Hunt” and the intensity and energy of planning.  Although Gran has been physically gone for a long time, she still is with me every day. Every time I need to work within limitations, every hurried decision I need to make wisely, and every moment that things appear impossible, she is telling me they most certainly are not!!!

more loot

 

Junk stores, flea markets, auctions and yard sales keep all of those connections and memories alive. They validate the days of the $3 treasure, the “Holy Cow” discovery and wise words and ways of those that came before us!  I had a young friend ask me recently what it was like to live before Smart Phones!!!! I gazed off into the distance and remembered slowly picking up the telephone receiver tethered to the box and carefully listening to our operator Maude tell our neighbor Gladys about the new people down the block……..

Now I think I’ll go make something with my treasures!!!!!!!!

george and lillian George and Lillian

 

crystal heart

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