I was 16 and the end of the school year was near. And our class was going to Walcott…just
20 miles away, but the promise of fun with swimming and jitterbugging in the huge open building the WPA had built…men
hired to be able to feed their families. Huge tree trunks were part of the foundation and they were covered with names and
comments from years and years of kids writing on them with their pocket knives. ("Zero tolerance" for things like
knifes wasn’t even dreamed of back then).
Then I realized a couple of
days before the big trip, that it would cost money to rent swim trunks or to buy a soft drink. Yes, renting swim trunks. With
no places to swim where we lived, no one I knew had a swim suit, so you rented! And how could I tell the girl I liked that
I didn’t have any money. It couldn’t be pride…me with holes in the elbows of my sweater and broken and
re-tied laces in my shoes. The Great Depression was on and Dad was a minister among poor people. So I decided I wouldn’t
go. But let me tell you the rest in the words I used to write it all down and save it. I may have trouble with my voice, like
I did when I found the article as I rummaged through some of my "stuff."
was outside of the back door of our house with my dog, Mickey, rubbing his head, when Mom came out there with a handkerchief
in her hand, and she handed it to me and said, "Why don’t you go on." I could tell it was some money, and
it seemed like the sun came out or something. I just took off, I guess. But before I got to the school house, I untied the
knot in the handkerchief.
There was ninety-seven cents, in dimes and nickels
and pennies. Quite a few pennies. Like the widow with two mites (Luke 21:3) she gave all she had.
Well, it was getting close to time for the truck that would take us, but I went back. I ran all the way and
found Mom sitting by the window, and I ran in and hugged her and said, "Thanks, Mom."
It was the best thing I’ve ever done.