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Vintage Floral Coin Purse

Cream of Wheat, with lumps please.

“With or without lumps?”

It was the question that always followed the request my sisters and I would have for Cream of Wheat when Grandma K. was around.

Whether we visited her house or she visited ours, if Grandma K. was there for breakfast we’d want her to make Cream of Wheat! Yes, I’m talking about the regular old red cardboard box of Cream of Wheat hot cereal they still make today.

Grandma K. had a way of making these fantastic lumps of Cream of Wheat that we’d fight over. I believe counting lumps became mandatory. We might even have to share a lump with each other if someone got more than everyone else.

It was like a mystery to us how she got them in there.

The lumps were almost chewy like, varied in size and shape typically. Sometimes you’d think you had eaten them all out of your bowl and then you’d find another! This was a welcomed surprise of course, you might even hide an extra lump if everyone had already counted.

Sometimes we’d put raisins and brown sugar on top, or a mixture of regular sugar and cinnamon my mom would have mixed up in a glass container. We drank skim milk in my house and that always went on top. The milk would pour around the edges of the bowl leaving the Cream of Wheat in the center like an island. It was fun to play with the mound of creamy goodness and uncover lumps like buried treasure.

Here’s what a box of Cream of Wheat looks like today:

IMG_8146

Now, the inspiration for this nostalgic story tonight is simply a coin purse my Grandma K. gave me as a little girl. I’ve kept it all this time because it reminds me of her. When I think of my Grandma K. I most certainly think of the Cream of Wheat with lumps she used to make us.

Vintage Floral Coin Purse

As you can see it’s fairly small. The black leather is also a bit worn on the edges. I always liked keeping coins in it and snapping the two metal pieces closed.

“Click.”

Here’s the side view and how it opened:

Vintage Leather Coin Purse

But what I have also always loved about this coin purse is the flower pattern design.

Vintage Floral Coin Purse

Taking a closer look triggered another memory of my Grandma K.

You see, although this material is most likely machine made, it reminds me of something my Grandma K. would have made herself.

If she wasn’t making Cream of Wheat with lumps, she was probably knitting or sewing

My Grandma K. was extremely skilled at knitting and sewing. She always had a project going. She loved to knit booties for everyone and give them to us at Christmas time. Not sure what booties are? It’s like a slipper. Everyone in the family, including my aunts, uncles, and cousins got a different color and size unique to the individual. She’d also cross-stitch and embroider pillows and quilts. Those were usually saved for birthday or anniversary gifts.

When I first sat down to write tonight, I didn’t know this coin purse was going to remind me of Grandma’s favorite hobby. I’m also becoming aware that I have a lot of coin purses, coin banks, and money related items in my possession. I’ve already blogged on a couple. Connecting the dots on that, it’s uncovered something about myself I didn’t realize until more recently. Is is possible to have a collection without really knowing it? I guess so. I value saving money and these items reflect that too. I’ve subconsciously saved things that mean something to me for more than one reason. I guess that’s why they bring me such joy when I hold on to them in my hands.

I decided to pause after this ah ha moment and also see if I could find any old pairs of booties in a cedar chest I have.

I uncovered not only two pairs of booties, but two pillows she made for me and a few pillow cases as well. The booties still fit too!

Here’s a slide show of my findings:

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I’m so impressed at all the detail in each as well as how much time it must have taken her to complete them. I remember feeling so special and loved getting the pillows specifically.

I remember my mom telling me how Grandma had told her she loved to think about the person she was making the gift for while working on the project. She spent hours in her recliner sewing, and must have spent hours thinking about us all.

My attempts to learn to sew like Grandma

I remember her trying to teach me to sew once, but I wasn’t patient enough at the time to complete a little rainbow design project I started with her.

Grandma passed away from cancer in 1995 when I was only thirteen. I miss her.

But years later in college I did try sewing again on my own and learned to cross-stitch by doing a couple of baby bibs for a cousin’s new baby. I also chose a huge picture for my sister’s wedding gift having no idea how long it would take to complete. I was sewing that one up until the last minute and vowed I’d never pick such a complicated design ever again. I haven’t gone back to it since, but who knows, maybe I will again some day.

Here’s a picture of my “masterpiece!”

Two Doves Wedding Stitchery Picture

I cropped out the bottom with their names, wedding date and location, but you can see how she framed it so beautifully.

I have yet to take up knitting, but I did teach myself to crochet when I was planning my own wedding almost twelve years ago now. I happened to crochet two huge blankets for my parents and in laws. Kind of like the picture I did for my sister, I may have gone a bit overboard. It was a great way deal with the stress of it all though, and keep my hands busy when I got anxious before my big day.

What’s the secret to making Cream of Wheat with lumps?

I hadn’t really eaten Cream of Wheat for years until I got a craving once while pregnant. I was so determined one night to figure out how to get lumps I called my mom for any hints. I tried multiple attempts until I finally got it right. Wanna know the secret?

You simply don’t stir it.

Yup! What was probably a mistake once for Grandma turned into a delightful variation that is oh so fun to eat. If you just boil the water and pour the wheat mix into a pile you’re fairly certain to get Cream of Wheat with lumps, or one big lump you can break into littler lumps.

Try it! It just may be your next favorite thing.

 

Have a favorite comfort food or keepsake your granny made you as a kid? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

The Car Room

Walking across the shag carpet of “The Car Room,” as we called it, was like walking across a floor full of land mines. Getting up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night I’d try to take as few steps as I could to get to the door. This way I’d be less likely to get a pin stuck in my foot.

You see, my Grandma Mary Jean, whom I’ve written about a few times before loved to sew in the spare bedroom with car wallpaper. She’d oftentimes drop pins and needles in the shag carpet and wouldn’t find them and pick them up. So, on more than one occasion I’d get a pin stuck right in the bottom of my foot, like I was one of those pin cushions that looked like a tomato myself!

“Ouch!”

Grandma would get out the old Mercurochrome and rub it on the spot the pin was pulled out from. This was the antiseptic of choice of the time in the 1980s. It actually has mercury in it, so guess what? It’s not really used anymore. Anyway, it would leave a reddish brown stain on my skin. Looking at the stain on the bottom of my foot was like a reminder that it could happen again at any moment I walked across the floor of The Car Room.

But I still just loved that room.

I can’t remember when my Grandpa and Grandma discovered hardwood floors under the carpet and tore it all out, but that pretty much solved the pin in the foot fears. Here’s a picture of The Car Room when they got ready to move out, not set up at all like it was when I stayed in it, but you can see the wallpaper.

The Car Room without carpet
The Car Room without carpet

Uncle Sam Coin Bank

The item I’m looking at tonight is an Uncle Sam coin bank. It used to sit on top of the dresser in the picture above. The dresser was usually on the other side of the room where the door was. It’s my inspiration for writing about The Car Room tonight.

Uncle Sam coin bank
Uncle Sam coin bank

I always remember this coin bank being in that room, and I used to play with it by trying to put a penny or nickle inside his hand to drop it in his bag. The little black button on the right makes the arm move and the bag open so the coin will drop inside.

Here’s a few close ups:

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I’m not sure when it was made or much about it really. But my grandparents were both people who believed in saving money. They always tried to teach my sisters and I the importance of living within or below our means before I even really understood what that meant. But years later when they were clearing out things, I remembered this bank and asked if I could have it. It reminds me of that value they taught me.

Despite the occasional “war wound” I’d endure with the whole pin in the foot thing, I loved spending so much time in the car room where it always seemed to be as well.

Here’s what the sides look like:

And the bottom: (Made in Hong Kong)

Bottom of Uncle Sam Coin Bank
Bottom of Uncle Sam Coin Bank

How The Car Room was arranged

There were always two twin beds in the car room. Usually my sister Sarah and I shared the room for overnights and holidays. I remember many Christmas Eves going to bed in that room anticipating Santa coming in the morning. Many Easters I’d wake up before light even came through the navy blue curtains to see if Sarah wanted to go downstairs and check our baskets for candy. My older sister Jenny always stayed across the hall, and that’s a whole other post about that room!

My Grandma liked to decorate and redecorate, but I remember there being yellow bedspreads and navy blue bedspreads over the years. I guess that went with the car wallpaper pretty well.

The sewing table was in between the beds and doubled as a night stand.

The wallpaper itself was of old Ford cars. It was fun to look at the cars up close in bed and run my fingers across the four different colors and styles. I loved following the repeating pattern and picking which one was my favorite of the moment.

I usually slept by the window side, which was similar to the set up of my room at home. Grandma’s house was also two stories up. I could stand up in bed and look out into the backyard where there was a huge willow tree. My Grandpa had hung a tire swing from it for us. The long dangling branches hung so low we could touch the leaves when standing under it.

There was also a train track that ran close by behind their house you couldn’t see, but you could hear trains pass by once in a while. My dog Skipper used to howl to trains passing by at home where we had a train track close by too, and at Grandma’s it was no different.

The only other real significant item I remember in The Car Room was a small, wooden, roll top desk. It was usually right across from the door as you’d walk in next to the closet. We used to play shop and school with it. It always seemed to have some extra paper and pencils and pens inside the little drawer. I loved to open and close the rolling cover to it’s front and smell the way the inside of the desk smelled different from the outside air. Sometimes we’d pull it out into the hallway and play beauty shop by the bathroom. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my Grandma cut hair and was a trained beautician. I guess that must have inspired our imaginations and play.

Over the years, I got used to coming up the gold carpeted steps and running down the hallway that led to The Car Room on the right. It felt like a second home. I miss seeing something like a teddy bear with red overalls on the bed waiting for me. Teddy bears were one of my Grandma’s favorite things. There always seemed to be a new one each visit. It was fun to have a nickname for the room that everyone in the family used, and that when we came to Grandma’s I knew The Car Room was ready just for me.

 

Do you have a favorite room memory from when you were a child? Leave a comment below, and tell me what it looked like or what you loved about it.

 

 

My Grandpa singing to me in the early 1980s

My first memory

I remember a flannel shirt and a song being song to me by my Grandpa. I believe it is my very first memory. I found a picture of me with my Grandpa recently that confirms this isn’t some dream. I can’t believe how young I am, but I’m certain I remember this.

He bounced me on his knee and sang,

“Doodily, doodily, doot, doot, doot… doodily, doodily, doo. Doodily, doodily, doot, doot, doot… doodily, doodily, doo.”

I know they say music is one of the last things that go from people’s memories when they’re older and may have memory challenges. Is it possible music is one of the first things we remember as a child too? I believe so. Combine that with a motion like bouncing and clapping hands together like it appears he’s doing here and you’ve got a winning combination. Touching the unusual texture of a wool shirt in contrast to the softer cottons my mother probably wore more frequently, and a first memory was born!

Here’s the picture capturing my first memory, the nostalgic inspiration for this post.

My Grandpa singing to me in the early 1980s
My grandpa and me

This was my Mom’s dad. I’ll call him Grandpa K. Everyone called him Bud. My Mom has told me all sorts of stories about him. He passed away when I was only three, so I don’t really have any more memories of him, but one. I’ll save that for a minute.

I called my Mom on the phone this morning to get a few more details about him. My Mom said my Grandpa was a very loving and kind person. He had a wonderful sense of humor and although he didn’t always agree with her, he respected her and loved her unconditionally.

He used to say “O’ Boy” a lot I guess. Like during the time she sat on the floor instead of at the table, dressed in her short shorts and clogs home from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the late 1960s.

“O’boy.”

Or the time she made him a poster out of felt with the word “PEACE” on it. She even gave him a dowel and string to hang it, which he did in his basement workshop after saying:

“O’boy.”

She told me he almost died so many times. I’m afraid I can’t really write well about all of them, but I do know he was in and out of the hospital a lot. The one story I remember hearing though that stands out is when he was in a bad car crash. He actually broke his neck in it, but didn’t know he broke his neck for a year afterwards! Things were different then I guess. But he was stuck so bad in that car that he couldn’t get out right away. My Mom said that despite everything he was making a joke asking his buddy who was also stuck if he still had the can opener he always carried with him, because maybe he could get them the hell outta there! (or something like that)

My Grandpa couldn’t work because of all of his injuries. Because of this, my Grandma K had to work the night shift as a labor and delivery nurse to support the family. Not as common then for the woman to be the bread winner, and she had six kids! My mom said she was always so tired during the day and would often fall asleep while my uncle and her would play under the table quietly.

My mom kept a few of his flannel shirts in our front closet after he passed away in 1985. I remember her taking one out occasionally to wear when she got cold, she still does as far as I know. I never really thought of it until recently how touching that is. I used to wear one once in a while too in middle school and high school, so did my sisters. The shirts were all scratchy, but warm and felt comforting. They didn’t match anything, so they went with everything.

I do have one other memory of my Grandpa K, and it’s at his funeral. Like I said I was only three when he passed away, but my parents had me go for the wake. I remember this because my dad held me up to touch the fabric of his shirt. Again, I believe the tactile moment of this etched it in my mind. I’m not sure I was entirely comfortable at the time with this, and I may have even been a bit scared, but I’m so grateful for that memory.

I also remember looking back out the back of my Dad’s parents’ car, my other grandparents, when I was driven away from the funeral. I’m guessing they took me and my sisters away early so my parents could be alone with the rest of the family. I remember the trees above the car, and just a real quick flash of a memory of looking back out the rear window. That’s it. I knew something about that day was different.

What connects my two memories, is his shirt. I know I felt loved when he held me close to it, and I know he was loved by my family as my Dad held me over him to touch his sleeve.

Even though I wish I could have known Bud so much better myself, hearing all the stories about him makes me feel like I have a few more memories myself. I can only imagine if he was alive today, and knew I just wrote a blog on the internet about him, he might just say,

“O’ boy.”

 

Can you recall your first memory? Leave a comment below.

My 1988 Pink Mickey Mouse t-shirt

The Christmas I unwrapped Mickey Mouse

My favorite Christmas was in 1988 when I was six.
In my family we always opened gifts the night before Christmas on Christmas Eve. Usually we were in Brookfield, Wisconsin just outside of Milwaukee at my Dad’s parent’s house. This year however, my grandparents came down by us in Madison, Wisconsin.

My Grandma Mary Jean was sitting on the couch scratching my dog skipper’s head. He pushed his nose into her for more attention. Mom was standing close to our upright player piano that was against the wall. It was next to my fairly large dollhouse which had taken over the corner. My sisters and I were all sitting on the brown carpeted floor between unwrapped gifts and crinkled wrapping paper. Someone had moved the coffee table out of the way. My Dad had left the room for one last “something” and we were all waiting with anticipation. My Grandpa was behind us by the fireplace filming the scene with my Dad’s new camcorder. My Dad had just told Grandpa he didn’t have to hold the record button down the whole time when he’d mentioned his finger was getting tired.

Dad stepped down the one step there was into our family room with a large, hard covered army green suitcase beside him. He set it down flat, right in the middle of the floor in front of us. We giggled with excitement and curiosity. What was inside?

Scrambling to open the two metal latches to the suitcase, we finally got it to pop open. Inside were five cotton t-shirts in various sizes and colors. The smallest was a light pink color with Micky Mouse on it, and it looked like just my size! I snatched it out of the suitcase and held it up to my flat little chest. Yup this had to be mine! One of my sister’s started to grab something else out that looked like paper tickets, and my eyes got BIG! They just started to read aloud what was on the tickets when I screamed: “We’re going to Disney World!”

My 1988 Pink Mickey Mouse t-shirt
My Mickey Mouse t-shirt

I rolled backwards almost doing a somersault into our artificial Christmas tree that was behind me. The ornaments jingled. I lay on my back and shook my legs up in the air wildly with excitement. I screamed louder again: “We’re going to Disney World!”

Skipper started to bark and my sisters jumped up and down now screaming too. Sarah was repeating “party, party, we’re gonna party!”

As I rolled back my plaid wool skirt flipped up so my tights, underwear showing through, started to show. My grandpa was still filming, the camera on me, when my Dad called over: “cover your po po.” I pushed my skirt back down and ran up to the camcorder lens so close my eyelashes touched the glass. I grinned right into the camera and then backed up and tapped the lens. I said “We’re going to Disney World!”

“Yes,” he said. “And we’re watching skipper.”

 

My first trip to Disney World was in 1988/1989
The nostalgic inspiration for this memory is from a hodgepodge of a few trinkets I found all tucked inside of a plastic 1988 Enjoy Coca Cola Classic cup. At first glance, it may look like I just emptied my kitchen junk drawer. Except to me, it’s a time capsule. These are small things I treasured as a little girl. I kept each item to remember when my parents took our family to Disney World in Orlando, Florida over our winter break in 1988. We stayed through New Years Eve 1989.

1980s Walt Disney Co. souvenirs
My 1988 Walt Disney World Trip souvenirs

1987 Disney Dollar
There’s a one dollar Disney Dollar that has 1987 on it. I’ve heard they’re good for life! Here’s a close up below.

1987 Disney Dollar from the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, FL
1987 Disney Dollar (front)
1987 Disney Dollar from the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, FL
1987 Disney Dollar (back)


Cocoa Beach, Florida seashell
I also saved a very ordinary grey sea shell. I picked this up on Cocoa Beach in Florida. It was the first time I had seen the ocean. I remember it was a cloudy day, not very warm. We did touch the water with maybe one toe, but it was freezing. We didn’t get to swim or build a sandcastle like I had hoped to. I was a bit disappointed I remember. I did find this one shell though. Here’s a picture of my parents and I that day.

Cocoa Beach 1988
My parents and I on Cocoa Beach

My Dad had hoped we’d have a whole day at the beach, but that didn’t happen. Here’s why…

Our not so “magical” start flying to Orlando, Florida
Our flight plans had been delayed coming out of Madison, Wisconsin and we tried to drive to the Milwaukee airport and catch a different flight instead, but that didn’t work either. Our luggage actually somehow got on a different flight too and made it’s way to Florida without us!

I remember standing in my Grandma’s kitchen in Milwaukee that was right next to the airport. This was my mom’s mom. We were trying to figure out our next move. My Dad was videoing us this time, and I made plane noises with my arms out pretending to fly around the kitchen. My sister Sarah explained what was going on to the camera like she was narrating a documentary.

Somehow we ended up in Detroit for a night and had to wear our same clothes to bed. Long story short, we missed a longer day at the beach my dad had planned. This little sea shell reminds me of all that. The grey color, perhaps symbolic now of the unfortunate late start we got on our trip.

Here’s my Dad with his camera.

My Dad with his 1980s Camcorder
My Dad with his 1980s Camcorder

Walt Disney World Mickey Mouse Ears Balloon
Okay, the dark, navy blue deflated balloon needs some explaining too. Here’s a picture of the balloon next to my sea shell. Sad little pair.

1988 Mickey Mouse Ears balloon from Orlando, FL
Cocoa Beach, FL seashell & Mickey Mouse Ears Balloon

This balloon was half deflated already when we spotted it on our hotel balcony. This particular hotel opened up to the inside of a beautifully enclosed atrium. There was a huge round fountain in the middle of the ground level floor you could throw pennies in. Tropical plants surrounded it and the sound of splashing water echoed upwards. I loved watching the exposed glass elevator carry guests up and down next to it.

This balloon must have floated up from a room below and got stuck. We couldn’t see anyone reaching for it. I had seen similar balloons at the Magic Kingdom park, but my parents didn’t really buy us extras like that. I sorta knew not to ask I guess. They might have said it would probably be hard to carry around or take on the plane home. But either way, it was right there and I wanted it! I wanted it bad! A free, lonely balloon that needed a hand to hold it!

Somehow we grabbed the balloon. I kept it, and here it lies.

It’s almost falling apart, but I can still see Mickey just fine. This balloon reminds me how lucky we were to be able to afford such a trip. My parents saved diligently I believe and picked and chose what we could get along the way to make it work for us. It also captures a simple joy I latched on to as a little girl. I don’t know what gets more simple than a balloon. Why is that? I’m not sure. Maybe because we know it won’t last forever. But when you’re a kid, the happiness something can bring you in the moment makes you forget all that.

Walt Disney World Donald Duck Pin
The Donald Duck pin doesn’t bring back any specific memories related to it. My Dad could do the voice though. He’s always been good at impressions. He also had a Donald Duck wind up toy he used to keep in his bathroom drawer I think. I recently visited my parents and found it in the guest bathroom!

1980s Donald Duck wind up toy
My Dad’s Donald Duck wind up toy

I do remember he was so excited that he booked us a surprise breakfast on the last day of our trip. It was with Mickey Mouse and all the other characters. I got sick though, and wasn’t able to go. My mom stayed back with me at the hotel while my sisters got to go. This might have been given to me by my Dad after they went to that breakfast.

1988 Donald Duck Pin from Walt Disney World in Florida
Donald Duck Pin


How I moved one of the longest Disney World lines ahead in a jiffy!
So, for most of the trip I felt fine. My favorite attractions were It’s a Small World, The Enchanted Tiki Bird Room, and Swiss Family Robinson!

Magic Kingdom 1988
Me at the Magic Kingdom

But somehow I got a flu bug or something and it wasn’t good.

I was sitting in a stroller my parents decided to get for me after I started not feeling well. I was six, so my legs were slightly too long for it. We were standing in a long line for something and I was munching on cheese gold fish crackers. All of a sudden, a fountain of whatever I just drank with it flew over the poor park goers in front of us!! It was like the fountain from our hotel atrium just shot up to the 18th floor.

Everyone in line moved forward quickly as a strange, gasping growl came over the crowd. My sisters and parents stood with wide eyes as we all processed what just took place. We gracefully stepped out of line to regroup. I was so sorry, embarrassed and miserable.

To this day, I don’t care for gold fish crackers either. I’m feeling a little like Chunk in The Goonies confessing that story.

1988 Enjoy Coca Cola Classic Plastic souvenir cup
Guess the cup was just a souvenir cup with a soda pop we bought. But we rarely had soda growing up, so it was a real treat to get one. Look at the size though! How small compared to most you see nowadays. It’s probably from Epcot because of how the characters are dressed. We went there in addition to the Magic Kingdom. Can’t remember the purple dragon’s name. (Leave me a comment if you remember)

1988 Walt Disney Co. plastic souvenir cup
My Walt Disney Co. souvenir cup (Mickey & Minnie)
1988 Enjoy Coca Cola Classic plastic souvenir cup
1988 Enjoy Coca Cola Classic plastic souvenir cup
1988 Walt Disney Co. plastic souvenir cup
My Walt Disney Co. souvenir cup (Goofy, Daffy, and Donald)

Here’s a few pictures from Epcot. If you’re viewing these looking on a phone, turn it sideways for a closer look.

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I’ve been back to Disney World twice. Once when I was ten, and once as an adult with my twin nephews when they were about how old I was when I first went. But nothing compares to the excitement of the first time. How I found out we were going made the Christmas of 1988 my all time favorite. Seeing a place that truly is so magical and a world of its own has stayed in my memory for 30 years. I love Disney World!

 

I have a Disney quote on my Join Annie’s Adventure page. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” -Walt Disney. I’ve been so  inspired by Disney my whole life.

Do you have a favorite Christmas? I’d love to hear why. Leave a comment below.

Why the comb in my Dad’s pocket reminds me to save money (Part 3)

I remember being handed a little, black plastic comb at just about every school picture day in elementary school. I started kindergarten in 1987. Each kid got their very own comb to use before their picture was taken. Sometimes there’d be a little mirror to look in just before it was your turn.

If you read one of my recent posts about lice in the school library, it was probably a wise idea we weren’t all sharing combs. Anyway, we could tuck that little black comb in our pockets and take it home at the end of picture day. Here’s a picture of the type of comb I’m talking about.

Just like my Dad's comb
Just like my Dad’s comb

This comb happens to be my second son’s. He got it during his first bath in the hospital when he was born. He had a lot of hair! Of course I saved it, but it’s exactly the same type of comb I used to get on picture day.

The comb in my Dad’s pocket
My Dad has always carried this same type of little, black plastic comb in his pocket from as long back as I can remember. I thought of his black comb tonight when I pulled out a small, leather coin purse he has also always kept in his pocket.

The two items together are like buddies, and he never leaves home with out them.

While I don’t have his black comb, this round, worn out, leather coin purse is the nostalgic inspiration for the last of my hair stories. It’s why I think of saving money when I remember the comb in my Dad’s pocket.

My Dad's worn out leather coin purse
My Dad’s worn out leather coin purse

I can gently squeeze the sides of it’s flower-like design to open and close it. It doesn’t fit a lot of coins, but enough for a day’s worth of cash transactions for sure. We definitely used cash a lot more back in the 1980s and 90s.

When I look at this coin purse I recall how my sisters and I would often buy my Dad the same exact coin purse for Father’s Day over the years. It would wear out in my Dad’s pocket as he carried it around with him each day. That’s probably how I got this one. I must have asked to keep his old coin purse after gifting him a new one. I think I went into a store like Wilson’s Leather at the East Town Mall in Madison, Wisconsin to buy one back when I lived with my parents still. I moved to Minnesota in 2000 to go to the University of Minnesota.

I love how it smells and feels in my hands. It reminds me of him.

My Dad was an accountant, CPA by profession and taught me to value saving money from the time I was a little kid. Starting small, having consistency, and living within or below our means are all things my mom and him modeled.

I remember when Dad opened up a savings account for me like my older sisters had. I remember the University of Wisconsin mascot Bucky Badger being on the red plastic cover of the checkbook-like savings account booklet I got. Dad wrote my birth name “Andrea” on the bottom corner of mine with a black marker. It seemed so official. I loved that! We could track together any money I put in the bank.

If the bank was closed, he’d take me into the ATM, we always called the “Time Machine.” The building was labeled TYME outside. I never put it together until years later. My husband still teases me if I call it that by habit. Like, “where you headed?” As if I was pretending to be in Back to the Future or something. It was like magic when crisp twenty dollar bills came out of the dispenser! Didn’t quite understand that reality until years later either.

Like me, my Dad has a little bit of wave to his hair. I must get that from him. He would pull his black comb out of his pocket in the middle of a conversation, still does. He’d run the comb though his hair and put it back in his pocket next to his coin purse. More typical times might have been before heading into church, any time after riding in the car with the window down, or of course if either of my sisters or I asked him, “hey Dad, when’s the last time you got a haircut?” Poor guy. Anyway, he’s always been prepared like the Eagle Scout he is, with his comb.

The contents of one’s pockets can be quite personal. For my Dad though, he keeps it quite simple. I love that about him. Like me, once he finds something that works for him he keeps going with it. I think I might also get this trait from him. Remember how I wrote in my last post how I’ve had the same yellow hair pick since I was probably twelve? Either way, he starts his day putting these two things in his pocket, and ends his day taking them out. That’s consistency.

Here’s a picture of me pretending to be my Dad. I thought it was funny since I’m holding a play calculator. Must have been teaching me about numbers and money already! Looks like I could have used a comb or a haircut too.

Since the comb in my Dad’s pocket also reminds me of school picture days…

I’ll end my hair stories series with a slide show of my 1980s-1990s hairstyles:

My 13 School Picture Day Hairdos 1987-1999

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As much as I talk about my curly hair, I wore it rather straight for quite a while, experimenting with bangs a bit. And of course the dreaded mullet in second grade I told a story about last post! Then the sort of frizzy years of middle school and large hair scrunchies! I think I had a thing for mock turtle necks too! Anyway, for my senior pictures I tried layers for my curls in the shortest haircut I’d ever had. It’s the most like how I still wear my hair today.

It’s weird looking at pictures of myself taken a year apart and seeing the changes. As much as retakes were offered in school, I don’t think I ever did one. A part of me misses the days we just had to wait for film to develop. We just never knew how our pictures turned out until we got them back.

The comb in my Dad’s pocket is sort of his trademark, I love that. Anyway, it sure comes in handy nowadays when it’s time for a selfie! Here’s us in his new soundproof music room he saved up for.

My Dad and I (2018)
My Dad and I (2018)

Did you ever get a black comb on picture day growing up? Share a comment this post made you reminisce about below. I’d love to hear it!

I’ll be back soon with more nostalgic stories you won’t want to miss. So if you’ve been reading for a while now, and haven’t yet signed up to receive my pen pal-like emails… please consider joining my adventure! You can visit the Join Annie’s Adventure page here on my blog to read more about it and opt-it if you like.

Thanks so much for visiting my “micro-museum.” My next exhibit is coming soon!