Tag Archives: grandma

What a difference a penny makes

19 Apr

1943 pennyIt’s time to put all of my nerdiness on the table: I collect coins. I don’t have anything valuable, but they interest me. So it’s a 20-lb. box that gets moved every year or so.

Last weekend I went with my mother to north central Missouri so she, her sister and her brother could start cleaning out my grandmother’s house. Day One had its drama as they went through jewelry, argued about crystal and made a list of what was going to an appraiser.

Day Two was much the same. They found even more jewelry in Grandma’s dresser drawers, along with some small, aged envelopes. While going through the jewelry, my cousin Katie began going through the envelopes, which had loose change in them. I was excited — I’m sure I’ll never see those coins again, but like I said, this is something that interests me. Katie also found a note in one of the envelopes: “1943 penny worth 12,000.”

My aunt promptly jumped up and practically yelled, “Forget about the jewelry! Find the pennies!” Clearly, not a greedy woman.

For the record, 1943 was the only year pennies were made of steel. A lot of people mistakenly think they’re silver. (Copper was needed for other things during World War II.) But there were a few pennies that were accidentally made of copper that year. Those are the ones (from that year) that are actually worth more than a couple of cents.

I cataloged the coins in the envelope — mostly American, but there were a few foreign coins — so they could be sent to an appraiser. There wasn’t a 1943 penny in there.

(Fun enough, the three kids had decided to split everything three ways. So the spare change found in coffee mugs and cups and on counters was evenly split among the three of them. Mom picked well: Her pile of change had two wheat pennies, one from 1943 — steel not copper — the other from 1956. She let me have them.)

Don’t use ‘fancy’ towels to clean your gun

12 Apr

As previously mentioned, I’ve made the trip to north-central Missouri with my mother so she, my aunt and my uncle can start going through my grandmother’s house. After checking in to a hotel, Mom and I found this sign in an ice bucket with a few small towels:


In an effort to keep our towel supply looking its best, we have placed these pieces of stained, but laundry clean, toweling here for your use in cleaning guns, fishing equipment, boats, autos, shoes or any other use needed.


Mac vs. PC

18 Mar

My grandmother switched to a Mac when she was 84.

It was at least her third computer, and her first laptop. The house that she and my grandfather built in 1963 has wireless internet access. In fact, last Wednesday night we had a laptop party at the kitchen table: I had my laptop, my mother had hers and my brother used my grandmother’s.

My grandmother was known to open nearly every e-mail she got. Especially forwards from friends, which, of course, are rife with viruses and annoyances. I told her Macs don’t have the same virus problems that PCs do. Several months ago I got an early-morning phone call — the time of day that usually means bad news, or that the caller does not know me — from my aunt asking about Macs, where to get them and what software would be needed. Grandma called me maybe twice with questions; she might’ve asked others more. (She had eight grandchildren. I’m the only Mac user, but my brother and I live the farthest away.) The preacher at her funeral brought up that she’d switched computer platforms in the last year. He’s in his 50s, and didn’t sound up to the “challenge.”

Still, it’s proof you’re never too old to switch to a Mac.

Rocky times from the past

17 Mar

I had to take “personal” days to get time off for my grandmother’s funeral/the family circus. It’s not a big deal; I had the time. But the guild contract says bereavement pay is only for immediate family members, and is three days.

My brother and I discussed that when Eric (our father) dies, we’re using those three days for a big celebration.

When I was in the fifth grade, my sister, Monica, and brother, Adam, and I went to visit my father and stepmother in Loveland, Colo. We were staying for a week, I think, and had to be back in time for the Missouri State Fair where Monica was competing in a piano contest. Eric took us to Colorado, picking us up from his mother’s house in Trenton, Mo. The visit was … OK. I remember watching shooting stars one night from the front yard; riding a bike around the subdivision, mostly out of boredom; playing Super Mario Bros. (which was fun — we didn’t have a TV or video games at home); a trip to meet my stepmother’s relatives; a trip to Pike’s Peak; a trip to an aquatic center; and getting in trouble for telling my stepbrother than Eric had been investigated by the FDIC, which was true.

After all of that fun and games, it was time to go home. But Eric wouldn’t take us home.

Now that would be called kidnapping — he was a noncustodial parent and was refusing to return us to our custodial parent, and we wanted to go home. For some reason, it wasn’t seen that way then. Eric wasn’t even willing to meet my mother somewhere half-way. My grandmother met my mother in our hometown of Marshall, Mo., and they drove to Colorado — more than 700 miles one-way. They drove overnight, nonstop, picked us up, and drove back home. I’m sure we stopped on the way home, but I don’t really remember.

That was the last time I really spent any time with my father. He came to visit when I started college in Maryville (by then he lived in Omaha, Neb., about 100 miles away). My stepmother sent cookies. I don’t think we spoke more than five words at my sister’s wedding in 2005 (she is closer to Eric than Adam or I am, but still not very close). I’d be disappointed if he knew what city I live in now.

I’ll keep you posted on those party plans.

The obituary

16 Mar

Celia Bernice Fulkerson Spillman, 85, of Jamesport, Mo., died Sunday, March 9, 2008, at Wright Memorial Hospital in Trenton, Mo.Mrs. Spillman was born Feb. 22, 1923, in Grundy County, Mo., the daughter of Clarence and Bessie Hoskins Fulkerson. She graduated from Trenton High School and the Platte-Guard Business School in St. Joseph, Mo. She married Woodford Grimes Spillman on Dec. 13, 1948, and has lived at her present address since 1963.

Mrs. Spillman was a member of the Jamesport Methodist Church and the Cloverleaf Club, both in Jamesport.

She is survived by three children, Barbara Smith of Blackwater, Mo., Sherry Whitt and her husband, K.D., of Princeton, Mo., and Terry Spillman and his wife, Cindy, of Trenton; eight grandchildren, Erica Smith, Monica Beauchamp and her husband, Marc, Adam Smith, Graham Whitt and his wife, Christina, Phillip Whitt, Katie Whitt, Josh Eaton and his wife, Jill, and Jacob Spillman; one great-granddaughter, Riley Whitt; a sister, Lucille Smith of Brimson, Mo.; a brother, Donald Ray Fulkerson and his wife, Mary Louise, of Newton, Iowa; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Lowell Bond Fulkerson.

A family visitation will be from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, 2008, at Resthaven Mortuary, north of Trenton. Funeral services will be at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, March 13, 2008, at Jamesport Methodist Church; the Rev. Richard Key will officiate. Burial will follow at Edinburg IOOF Cemetery at Edinburg, Mo. Memorial donations are suggested to the Jamesport Methodist Church or the Edinburg cemetery.

I didn’t write it with courtesy titles, but other than that and missing half a sentence about my grandparents being divorced, it’s pretty much unchanged and very straight-forward. (OK, I did have to fix some punctuation things that the paper had wrong, but I’d written correctly.)