The Autobiography of a Quarter

Strong family resemblance. I know. They never changed the look after I was born!

Strong family resemblance. I know. They never changed the look after I was born!

I came from a big family of around 408,000. Born in 1932 we were the new batch, we had a ‘fresh’ redesigned look and I was proud to be part of the family. Of course, I was nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, looked just like each and every one of my 408,000 brothers.

For many years I lived my life like any quarter, going from pocket to register. I remember one of my brothers and I, being used to buy a movie ticket for a young man and his date.

Moving by pocket made for a interesting life that I would not come to appreciate until much later on. Long after the odd turn of events that occurred during the first years after I was minted. Shiny and new I had not a care in the world. I met new people and traveled cross country multiple times, mostly due to the way things were back then, there was no debit cards, or credit cards, so cash was the only way to pay for things back then.

Life was pretty standard for me and you wouldn’t have anything that separates me from my brothers until around 1939, that was when the second great war started. I sat in a register at the movie theater, the one that the couple I was talking about earlier bought their tickets from. Soon, I was handed to a young man as his change, that was when I finally got to travel outside the country.

This young man enlisted into the Army and was on leave, when he decided to go to the movies. I still remember the uniform pocket he put me in vividly. At the end of 1941, the U.S. was attacked at Pearl Harbor and he was going to war; unbeknownst to him so was I.

I had fallen out of his comfortable uniform pocket and into the bottom of the Sea bag he was packing. That was how I was taken into war and subsequently combat, but at the time I didn’t know that part.

I didn’t see much… at first. At the bottom of that Sea bag I was all but forgotten. As the war raged on, hearing first hand in the bag, I was left to wonder what was going on but one day, by and by he would go into his bag and take something out or just rearrange things, this happened every few hours. Soon the bag was looking almost empty.

Shortly after that day I could see the light, literally, I could see the top of the bag, which when emptied, looked a lot larger than it did when it was full. In the mid afternoon I was finally fished out from the bottom of that bag when he glanced in and, to his surprise, found me again.

With a ‘How did you get in here?’ I was placed into his pocket, where I got to see everything he did thanks to a hole that was large enough for me to see out, but not to fall out.

The young man that I had the pleasure of traveling with fought hard, and was quite brave! There were many times I wished I could close my eyes and hope for the best. Yet, he ran forward when I was trying to shout, ‘turn around’!

I had been a bystander for most of the war, until he needed to come up with a way to remove a screw from an ominous looking air vent. With no tools around, in a moment of genius. I was fished out and was privileged enough to actually take part in the war.

There I am! If you look closely at the front gentleman on the left you can almost see me!!

There I am! If you look closely at the front gentleman on the left you can almost see me!! No, really, look!!

At the end of the tunnel we found a lot of different paintings and some of my foreign brothers that I had heard stories about, but had never actually met in person! Soon after, the war came to an end, partially thanks to the drop of the atomic bomb.

Thankfully, I found my way home and was quickly spent in the celebrations that followed. I miss him, since I had spent years getting to know him and all. However, I am certain he remembered me after the war.

It was then that I went back to my regular life as a quarter, during which, I got into the habit of sharing my adventures with my brothers. Although most thought I was making it up… but they were typically much, much younger than I was, and had never even been minted until after the war had ended.

I had hoped that wars would be over for a while, but soon after the Korean war started and without even missing a beat the Vietnam war came and went.

I met some interesting people in that time, protesters were an odd quark that came about. You see, during the second great war everyone came together and fought, there were no protester. Then Vietnam brought with it a new age of people, the kind that had a differing opinion about wars.

In the pocket of an older man I got to watch the protests in Washington DC, I learned the slogan peace and love, and I watched the world change even more when the war ended.

I listened to the fall of the Berlin wall in the pocket of an engineer at Ford Aerospace, this was, of course, before the company shut down the aerospace division.

The late 1990’s brought the debt card and credit card. Hard currency started to fall out of favor, I was old and my age was showing more and more so no one wanted to keep me.

For years, I was at the bottom of a pile of change, in the cup holder of a car. The world was ever changing, but I was not. So, over time, I accepted my fate, I was going to be obsolete.

I had survived much longer than many of my brothers born the same year. Of whom, were one by one returned to the place they had been born in order to be made into something new. Staying in circulation for as long as I have is quite rare. But it is this fact that I am incredibly grateful for, since it has allowed me to see all that I have.

I have no delusions that I will return to that place myself, but not before I had a chance to tell my story.

This is my autobiography, I was one of many, I looked no different than any of my other, many brothers, I didn’t have any special talents or features about me, that separated me from them, but I still had quite an adventure to tell.

So while we all might feel like nothing special, or unique. We all have our own stories that happened to no one else but you. Each and every one is incredible, no matter how common we think we are.

Than again, what do I know, I am only a quarter.

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