As a paper carrier, I walked a bit on the wild side.
Every Saturday I made the trek from my west end home to downtown Council Bluffs where I waited in line to pay my bill. There we stood, a gaggle of young kids, our pockets weighted down by the coins we had collected just the night before, waiting our turn at the magical coin counter, a metal contraption that whirred and sorted our bounty before pronouncing its results.
Collecting the $25 or so each week to pay my bill could be a dicey proposition, especially when collection night was just a few hours ahead of bill-paying day, especially if more customers than usual stepped out for a Friday night on the town. As it turned out, this proved to be excellent training for the life that awaited us as adults.
A fringe benefit of all this hand-wringing over 45 cents a week from 80 or so customers was my introduction to coin collecting. How could you not be transformed into a neophyte numismatist with adults showering you with coins every week?
Every Saturday morning, prior to the bill-paying excursion, I sat on the living room floor, carefully sorting, counting and checking the coins collected the night before. I dutifully snapped those I needed into the dated slots of my blue Whitman coin collection folders, reserving the truly rare ones for further appraisal by real coin collectors.
When I wasn’t reading coin collecting magazines or catalogues, I was admiring my growing collection of 1943 steel pennies, Indian head cents, buffalo nickels and mercury dimes. I even saved the $2 bill I got in change at a Portland, Oregon, baseball park.
I was reminded of my coin collecting days by word this week that the Lincoln head penny is 100 years old this year. As a child I was unaware that this coin was once controversial and was "the first coin to bear the image of the head of one of our great statesmen." I just knew I preferred the rarer and older Indian head cents.
Coin collecting replaced baseball card collecting as my preferred hobby for 2 or 3 years but when I got out of the paper carrier business around the age of 15, I also gave up coin collecting. I still have my Whitman albums, though. I still have many of my baseball cards, too, as well as succeeding collections from my lifetime as a serial collector.
What about you?
Writing prompt for the day: What hobbies have you had and what memories do you have of them?
Flickr photo courtesy of covilha.