Friday, July 10, 2015

My Mother the CFO

Mother's Big Apple
My parents never went to New York. I doubt they even knew the city's nickname was the big apple. In our house, The Big Apple meant financial management. My parents worked hard in blue-collar jobs to make ends meet. Somehow they kept the bills paid and their spoiled-rotten daughter in Bobbie Brooks clothes and Bass Weejuns.

My earliest memories of payday found my mother at the kitchen table with The Big Apple. Inside were mysterious pieces of paper and the checkbook. I later learned the pieces of paper were bills to be paid or receipts saved for income tax filing. I knew The Big Apple was important because she kept it high on top the refrigerator out of my reach. 

As I grew older, I was trusted with The Big Apple. Mother would say "Get me The Big Apple." I knew that meant she had financial business. Either she needed to pay bills or organize receipts for our income taxes. Daddy deferred all financial responsibilities to Mother. He'd bring in a receipt and ask, "Want me to put this in The Big Apple?"

Years later, after I'd married and moved away, Mother and Daddy maintained The Big Apple method of financial management, and it apparently worked for them. With their spoiled-rotten daughter gone, they emerged from debt and even managed to save enough to retire. It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I saw another big apple at an antique store and learned it was a semi-valuable collectible cookie jar. Cookie jar? I doubt Mother's big apple ever held a cookie in its life. 

Both my parents are gone and my family has divided their few possessions. I am now the proud owner of The Big Apple. I don't use it for a cookie jar or a file cabinet. It sits empty in a place of honor in my own kitchen to remind me of my family "riches." Mother and Daddy may not have had financial wealth, but they gave my sister and me a secure, loving childhood that's worth more than gold.

Do you have something displayed in your home to remind you of your childhood? Do share.