… free money?
So, writing a post about whatever happened to pay telephones would have been like shooting fish in a barrel. But, there was more to it than that.
There were actually a couple of pay phones in our town, growing up. After school, on our bikes, we would pass by them on the way to who knows where. But, there would be an unexpected stop at the candy store if we were lucky.
You see, the ground around a pay phone on the street was often a place to find coins that might have dropped from someone’s hands as they were paying for a phone call. And, of course, we would always stop and check the coin return to see if there was some change that hadn’t been picked up.
Silly, perhaps, but it was easier money than getting our allowance where we actually had to do some work to get.
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to find bits and pieces of change here and there. But, the phone booth was definitely the place to find things. It’s something that today’s youth may not experience for a couple of reasons…
- where are pay phones anyway? My wife and I were doing a visual walk through of town and could only think of the one at the Walmart store
- as pay phones were on their way out, they had modernized and started accepting plastic instead of the traditional coin
I think the biggest score that I ever found was at the Western Fair in London as a youth. I found a two dollar bill on the ground. (Does anyone remember the two dollar bill?) Unlike finding a dime or a nickel in a phone booth, this was significant money at the time. My parents convinced me that I should turn it in to the lost and found and so we did. We did provide our name and address unless it wasn’t claimed. That was the last I heard of it.
I like to think that I did benefit from that karma though. A couple of years ago, we were touring the Canadian Museum of Civilization and I lost my wedding band. I have no idea how but it was only later that I looked at my hand to see it was gone. On a whim, I reached out to the Museum via email and someone had indeed turned it in to their lost and found. After I gave a good description, they sent it back to me through the mail. My marriage is still intact.
For a Sunday, your thoughts…
- as a child, did you go looking through the change slot of a phone or perhaps a pop machine looking for change?
- how about keeping your eyes on the ground. Any luck there?
- was there a lucky spot in town to find lost change?
- have you ever lost something significant? Did you get it back?
- think now of your community. How many pay telephone booths can you think of?
Let’s have some fond memories of money, lost and found. Please share your thoughts in the comments.
This is part of an ongoing series for Sunday mornings. All of the past posts are here.