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Some stupid kid gets my stupid quarter
Posted by: Kemper2
Date: September 05, 2016 03:17PM
Some of you may have seen where I posted this before and some may think it a bit long but here is a true story of mine.

Here is a true story of mine. Sorry about the length of it but hope you find it interesting.

I can clearly remember standing there,looking stupid as always, in the dinner line at the parish picnic. The wealthier kids were flying their balsa wood airplane prizes showing off in front of the biggest crowd they could find. As probably the poorest kid of the parish,I'm standing there in anticipation of all that great food coming from the kitchen. I don't think I was fully appreciating the fact that my Mother was working there and was the reason I had that dinner ticket as a reward of her labor.

I also clearly remember looking at the ground,as I usually did when I was anywhere I thought I might find a coin. And there it was-a Mercury dime waiting for me to pluck it from the ground,and I did. The exact age of the coin or me for that matter,I can't recall but we were both somewhat rare.I would have been somewhere around 8 years old and this took place around 1965.

So there I was standing in line with money in my pocket and feeling good as I already spent my $1.00 I was allotted for the day and knowing my wealthy aunt would be showing up with matching funds. After dinner I would go to the soda stand and get a wood crate and start earning 10 cents a case for returning empties.It was the annual picnic and it was "game on" No bottle was safe whether it were in the wood line,behind a bush or the floorboard of an unlocked car.

I remember standing and staring at some people waiting for them to finish that last drink of soda so I could ask them for the bottle. Some were annoyed at my tactics but more often than not they were courteous. Occasionally (especially if they were trying to impress relatives they hadn't seen in a while) they would see me sweating and give me a dime for a soda. Had I been a little smarter I could have drenched my shirt with water and capitalized on the situation. But I was just a stupid little kid and life was fine,especially that day.

Looking back,the majority of the coins were silver then.The beer and soda stand, the poker stand and the bingo stand all had people working there with nail aprons full of them. And the beer stand was the best place for some of them to get lost because it had sawdust covering the ground and it was a huge area.

I also recall cleaning up the ground the next day. We would gather enough Of those balsa wood airplane parts to assemble a squadron of fighters. We would have rained Holy terror on those wealthy kids from the dinner line had they been poor enough to be part of the clean-up. I would find a few coins as the day progressed,but I really wasn't smart enough till a couple years later to go after the mother load.

I know,and can clearly verify,I was getting a little smarter,as my 4th grade report card clearly reflects that I was going to the 5th grade with high standings of four Fs and one D on my resume.(My memory's sharper than your Honor Roll student)

It wouldn't be till a couple years later that my Brother and I would be brave enough and smart enough to venture up to that beer stand on our parish mission.No one else would be there. No nail aprons full of coins to torture us. No parishioners to ease our pain ("Give that kid a beer,one won't hurt him,hell look at me") So we start sifting through the sawdust with our grubby little hands and couldn't believe the amount of coins we were plucking out of there. It wasn't long before we had hands full and had to make a tough decision. The pinball machine at the closest tavern or My Aunt and Uncle's tavern right down the road. I don't recall in which order we went but we had a great day.

I wasn't smart enough to take a piece of quarter inch screen material up there and clean that place out and didn't really give it much though as there were other ways to enrich myself. Metal detectors were not even considered at the time as the only ones I remember were advertised in a discarded magazine or comic book. I never thought I would be rich enough to own one of those thing and knew I would not be smart enough to operate it if I did.

The idea of retrieving those coins did not become an issue again till after I returned from the Service at the beginning of 1977. It wasn't the first topic of discussion but it did raise it's ugly little head on occasion. While my Brother and I were off volunteering our Service,some enterprising young men got out of Spaceships I guess, and supposedly cleaned the place out.

Not that I blame them. They weren't local so I guess they felt the need to ask. Had they been familiar with the area they would have known we were a pretty loose crew. Anything short of falling asleep on the track causing someone to have to remove you before the afternoon train went through was pretty much cool. If they asked permission to make themselves feel better they did it at the expense of my me and my brother as we were devastated when we found out. No one other than us seemed to mind. They split the dollar amount with the parish and it was proudly announced at a Sunday service. Probably much to the relief of at least a couple parishioners looking for an excuse to reduce their donation for the week.

So the mother load of coins were apparently gone. We would talk about it many times. Those rotten scoundrels with their funny machines got the goods. And us stupid people that didn't take advantage of the situation were left crying in our beer. How could they do it? What would posses them to do such a thing? But we always got to the point of stating how we really felt. We never could talk about it without laughing and coming to the conclusion we would have done the same thing.

So not long ago I decided to revisit the area.I was sure it was well searched by various detectors since my last visit,if you can call it that years ago. I found myself standing in that beer stand looking at the Church.,the kitchen,the poker and bingo stands. The religion,the food,the booze,the gambling,all things worthy of a permanent structure. There was no smell of fried chicken and kettle beef coming from the kitchen. I would have to rely on the pack of cheese crackers in my jacket pocket and unless i would find a sharp object with my detector I would not try to open them and hurt my back again. There were no ice cold bottles of soda floating in ice water in a stock tank. Just a green plastic bottle of liquid in my jacket pocket that I don't believe is allowed to be called soda.

I decide to detect what is left of the sawdust where I was standing. I might as well have just used my hand as my detector was not making a sound. And I was so proud of myself for remembering to put the batteries in. This place was picked clean. I even tried removing inches of sawdust to get extra depth. I tried all metal mode and came to the realization that those cheese crackers were probably going back in the munchie jar at home.

I ventured out to the open areas and could tell more than one sinner passed this way. No one could have laid down that much gravel by themselves. How could anyone do that? I was getting nowhere and knew if something didn't happen soon I would have to take a drink out of that green bottle. And perhaps turn my detector on,But I checked and I was okay on that so it wasn't a complete mistake passing me on to the 5th grade.

Having no luck I decided to check a treeline and swing the coil under a foot of leaves. I was getting hungry and thirsty and desperate.Then I got that sweet sound of a major hit.Could it be? Is my coil too close to my steel toe boots? I take a step back and Geez, It's still ringing. Could this be that silver I am after? I'm not asking for much. Just one thin dime. A Rosie will do. Anything to take me back to my stupid glory days.

I kick the leaves out of the way and start digging.There it was,shining,roundness in the hole,sticking out of the dirt. It was the tip of a spoon,a complete spoon,a coin silver spoon from the early 1800's. Fifty bucks worth of melt value. No little thin dime but a fairly large hunk of silver.

A stupid lousy spoon that does no good in fulfilling my mission. A nice find to be appreciated at a later date. And who cares where it came from! Whether it fell out of aunt Tillie's potato salad or the mouth of those wealthy kids we really don't give a flying frisbee do we? Not today folks,not today.

I make a return trip and have a feeling that his time it is going to happen. Just one coin,that's all I'm asking.I decide to detect where I recall one temporary stand being and I get a faint signal. I know not to get too excited especially after my last failed mission. I'm sure some of the better detectors have been over this area. Detectors a lot smarter than any old coin or me. But I'm too stupid to be detecting on that manicured rental lot back in the city and find myself here today.

I start to dig and those sweet memories are coming back. I can hear that familiar phrase associated with me on several occasions . Today it's going to happen. My detector is listening,I'm listening. I dig the signal and out comes a silver coin. Those jolly farmers and mine workers from the tavern really did know their stuff when they so eloquently put it. "Give that stupid kid a stupid quarter so he shuts up"

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/05/2016 03:25PM by Kemper.

Hahahaha! Great story and
Posted by: Wayne in BC
Date: September 05, 2016 07:47PM
you sound like me.

A liar will assume you are lying

Now that brings back some memories
Posted by: Royal
Date: September 05, 2016 08:47PM
I have so many memories from the late 40's and 50's that came to me when reading your story. There was an amusement park in Walled Lake Mi, with a ferris wheel and Rolly Coaster that is just an empty lot now, at least the last time I was there. I am sure the place was covered with silver at one time. Thanks for the story and memories :D


58 reads and two replys :(N/T
Posted by: Royal
Date: September 05, 2016 08:55PM

(This message does not contain any text.)

Kemper, Great memories stay with us forever!
Posted by: Ron J
Date: September 06, 2016 01:49PM
At least you have that. :thumbup:

I well remember those days too Kemp..
Posted by: Mikie
Date: September 07, 2016 02:37AM
When I was a lad in Courtenay, there was the annual fall fair at the grounds. I can remember losing a lot of money in a game. It was a crane type of thing with a claw bucket on a chain.

You deposited a nickel into the slot and turned the handle almost as fast as you could to try to get that claw bucket swung over and onto a wrapped pile of nickels.

Well, almost needless to say, I did not get many prizes off the machines.

But after the fair packed up and left, I went there and found a huge amount of money in the sawdust that was the 'floor'

Made up for my losses at the machine anyway.

Many thanks for a great trip down memory lane

Calm seas


"There's no present like the time"

"A dog is better than me, for she has love and does not judge"

"Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most; That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love... true love never dies. You remember that. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in"

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