The Letter: Part 6

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Did you want to start the series from the beginning? The Letter: Part 1

OCTOBER 1948

“Mr. Thomas paid us to rake his leaves!” Sam said, running through the front door holding up a quarter, a giant grin on his face.

“You shouldn’t have taken his money, Sam.” Rosemary, their dad’s sister said, frowning at him. “And take your boots off. You know better than to wear them in the house.”

For the past month and a half she had been helping with cleaning and cooking while Alice was away in the sanitorium.

“I didn’t steal it! I earned it,” Charlie said, clutching it tightly in his fist. “Victor and I are saving up to visit Mom!”

“Really?” she said, turning around to face him. “How much have you saved up so far?”

“Uhh?” Sam looked back at Victor who had walked in behind him.

“Let’s count it,” Victor said, racing up the stairs and down the hall to their bedroom. Sam was hot on his heels. Victor grabbed the coffee can from underneath the bed and it jangled as he raced back to the kitchen. He stretched out his hand to Sam for the coin.

“No, I want to put it in,” Sam said, still clutching it tight. “Ok fine.” Victor peeled the lid off and Sam dropped the quarter in with a clang. Then he dumped the contents out onto the table. The coins skittered about and Sam quickly clamped his hands down one a couple that were trying to roll away. Once they’d settled, Victor began to count and sort the change.

Rosemary stood over them watching, looking heartbroken.

“How much do we have?” Sam asked.

After a moment, Victor said, “8 dollars and 46 cents.”

“Is that enough?” Sam asked.

Victor frowned and looked at Rosemary.

“No,” she said, her voice cracking. “Not quite.”

* * *

The next day, Rosemary had a surprise for the boys when they came home from school. On the table she had brought over her husband’s coin collection.

“What’s this?” Victor asked, dropping his coat on the floor.

“Not where that belongs,” Rosemary said.

“Sorry,” he picked it up and put it away.

“Have a seat,” she said, when both boys were back in the kitchen.

“This is your Uncle Bob’s coin collection.” She took one of the coins out of the tissue.

“Neat,” Sam said, reaching for it, but Dorothy pulled it away.

Victor frowned. “Why are they all wrapped up?”

Rosemary sat down beside them. “Here, look at this.” She held out the coin and pointed at the writing. “The coin was double-printed.”

“It’s still worth money though, right?” Sam asked.

“Definitely, in fact, if you can find one like this, it could actually be worth a lot more.”

Both boys looked up at her. “Your Uncle Bob likes to collect rare coins. Every day, he takes the change out of his pocket and carefully goes through each of them.”

“And he found all of these?” Victor asked, his eyes scanning the tissue wrapped coins that Dorothy was unwrapping.

“Yup. None of them are worth much yet, but maybe one day. I thought maybe you’d like to start going through your own collection. Maybe you’ll find something.” She smiled at them and handed them one of Bob’s old coin collecting books. The pages were yellowing and starting fall out, but hopefully they’d still find it interesting.

The boys grinned at each other and raced to their room. Dorothy could hear the sound of coins being dumped out on the hardwood floor. She wrapped the coins that were on the table again and put them back into the box. But she left the book on the table for them to look through later.

If she had the money to give them, she would have, but maybe keeping them distracted with a hobby was better for now.

Part 7

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