Saturday, December 3, 2016


It was my freshman year in college when, forced to do laundry on my own for the first time, I started making change for quarters.  What good will two dimes and a few pennies do when your weekly budget is somewhere around eight dollars and your bank balance is just under forty?  You need quarters and so you make change for them. 

Fast forward a few years to living on my own in Denver and the challenge was the same: things were tight; I needed quarters.  Whenever I bought something at the local Safeway, I'd pay in cash and add in the extra 13 cents in order to get quarters back.

Along the way, I developed a habit of checking the quarters I received.  In 1976 they coined a bicentennial quarter and they were conspicuous by their difference from all the others.  Easy enough to do: take the quarters in your hand, flip them over and glace at the back-sides.  Drummer-Patriot image?  Fantastic!  A smile on your face.

Over the last decade or so, whenever I've come across one, I've set it aside in a drawer, doing my little part to deflate the currency by slowly take them out of circulation.  I come across one or two a year.  2016 has been a bumper crop.  I've probably received five of them in change. 

Some habits are hard to break.  I still find myself making change for quarters.  It's a satisfying little obsessive-compulsive thing to do.  There's something proper about getting three quarters back from a purchase.  But these days I drop the quarters from my pocket into a big old jar.  Who knows what we'll do with that?  Or when? 

Mrs. Toadroller's mother was diligent about putting quarters into her own (rather large!) piggy bank every week, regularly, for years.  One for each child and maybe one for the coffee pot as well.  As we went through her things, we all had fun stacking, sorting, counting, and finding the occasional rare pre-1965 quarter.  And that fun may have been worth more than the monetary value of the collection.

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