Trippin’ Down Memory Lane
Posted by Midwest Mom | Filed under Midwest Mom
Several years ago, when we were renovating our home, I was listening to a Suze Orman audio book while I painted. Suze asked her audience to relate their earliest money memory. If I remember correctly, she was making the case that our attitudes toward money were shaped by this one event.
One woman told of how her father had promised her a certain allowance. She kept track of how much he owed as the weeks ticked by. When she wanted to buy something, she brought her dad the record she had kept and asked for the money. Dad laughed at how cute that was and scribbled a check on a scrap of notepaper. The woman claimed that for the rest of her life, she never took money seriously.
The stories seemed almost ridiculous. I wondered what tiny portion of each was fact, if any of them were factual at all! But it got me thinking about my earliest money memory…
My best friend and I were showering at my house after swimming. (This was when a house had one bathroom, not one bathroom per person.) On the vanity was a pile of change from my dad’s pockets. No bills, just a large pile of coins. More than you would acquire in a normal day. He must have played cards the night before.
My girlfriend was beside herself. “How long has that been there?” I shrugged. “Will it lay there like that all day?” Shrug. “Won’t any of you kids take it?” No, why would we take it? “Let’s take it!” Uh, no, it’s my dad’s.
This was 35 years ago or more and I remember it clearly. That money could have been dust to me…it was that insignificant. Yet she was galvanized by it. I was 10 or less and I remember being struck by how differently we reacted to the same thing.
Many years later, as an adult, I told the story to two of my three adult siblings. They both shrugged about the coins, too! They said they wouldn’t have noticed them and certainly wouldn’t have helped themselves. We all agreed that a pile of M&Ms would have been in greater danger.
Clearly, I already had some established money attitudes at the time of the coin incident. But I do think Suze might be on to something. As adults, my siblings and I have discussed how differently all four of us handle money. There were no major upheavals in our childhoods and there are only seven years between the oldest and youngest. There’s nothing I can think of to explain the disparities. Are we born this way? Or, as Suze believes, could a single random event form our money personality?
So, c’mon. Any good early money memories to share? Is it just interesting or funny? Or do you feel it had a lasting impact on you?