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Family lore, long-revered as an archive of our proudest moments and our most insufferable quirks, is one of my favorite genres. It’s also one I’ve regrettably kept off the internet. Let’s get into my family’s shit, shall we? One of our most beloved tales, and read into that what you will, is the story of Two Pennies. More specifically, the two pennies a grocery store forgot to give my Great-Grandmother as part of her change after a transaction. Upon realizing the mistake, because you know she counted coins and read receipts, Grama Rose swiftly grabbed Aunt Cari, then a child, by the wrist and marched her back into the store to claim what was hers. Most people, reader, wouldn’t bother.
Two pennies. When told to me, the tale was supposed to educate my childhood brain on the outrage of waste and dedication to frugality, a long-running theme with Grama Rose. (No one could scrape a baking bowl like this woman, not even the dishwasher.) When I was a child, I suppose the lesson was absorbed at face value, because at that point you don’t have a ton of other values available. Nuance, layered lessons, and the ability to discern what will later form your limiting beliefs—that stuff you don’t really acquire until you’ve kept a roof over your own head for five or more Presidential terms. So I was already a grown-ass woman when I discovered that I’d been groomed to be cheap.