Thursday, February 21, 2013

Penny for Your Thoughts



Yesterday was Wednesday. Oops, I'm just now remembering that was supposed to mean a post here on One Writer's Journal. So here I am a day late and a dollar short. Well, you never get a dollar's worth anyway, but maybe a penny's worth of this and that. A penny might not entice you to read on since a penny is so worthless these days that some people won't even lean down to pick one up off the ground and clerks wave you out the door if you start digging in your change purse for that one penny extra you owe.

Once upon a time, a penny was worth something. It was actually made out of copper as early as 1793, but over the years the copper content kept shrinking until it has almost  disappeared. A penny contains 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper to give them their distinctive copper color. It isn’t only the copper content that has shrunk since the early pennies, but the whole penny. The original one-cent coin was five times heavier and almost half again as large as our pennies today.  
 


Of course, a penny probably could buy something back when it was the first currency of any type authorized by the U.S. government. And at the risk of all of you deciding I’m ancient, I admit that I remember when a penny could buy something. A piece of Double Bubble gum. A Dum Dum sucker. Some time on the parking meter. Five pennies would get you a pretty big candy bar if you had a sweet tooth. Twenty-six of them would buy a gallon of gas.  

Some think the penny has played its role and should be phased out, but an overwhelming majority of Americans want to keep the penny. A 2012 poll found over two-thirds of those surveyed wanted to keep the penny even if it has cost more to produce it than its face value since 2006. In 2011, it cost 2.41 cents to make a penny. That’s probably gone up now. But we love our pennies. 

We even think finding a penny is lucky. Did you ever hear "Find a penny, pick it up, and all the day you'll have good luck?" Then there’s the phrase “a penny for your thoughts.” That was first found in a 1547 collection of contemporary English phrases compiled by John Heywood. And don't forget about giving people your “two cents” worth - advice or opinion. Double that penny for your thoughts. 

Now some claim to find pennies from heaven. It’s a comfort to them after someone they love dies when they find pennies in unusual places as though the coin was planted there just for them. Pennies from heaven. 



Pennies are part of our history. For over two centuries, the penny’s design has symbolized the spirit of the nation, from Liberty to Lincoln. Since 1787, over 300 billion pennies with eleven different designs have been minted. Now the 2010 Lincoln penny symbolizes President Lincoln’s preservation of the United States as a single and united country.
So thanks for reading and maybe I’ll remember it’s Wednesday next week. Meanwhile, if you find a penny, you better pick it up and put it in your pocket. You give it to someone like me and you might get more than your penny's worth of thoughts.

How do you feel about the penny? Is it here to stay? Have you found pennies from heaven?

Remember, leave a comment before March 1 to be entered into the drawing for Scent of Lilacs.

17 comments:

  1. I have always bent over to ick up pennies that I have found. It probably goes back to my childhood when you could actually still buy penny candy for a penny. I do think that we will see the end of the penny in the not to distant future. It will be interesting to see how that works out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Betty, I pick up pennies too. I mean if you pick up 385 of them, you can still almost buy that gallon of gasoline. I don't know if the penny is on the way out or not. Some of the things I read to get the info for my penny history thought that eliminating the penny would cause inflation problems and all the prices to go up. So who knows?

      Delete
  2. Ann, some good memories was having small change and trying to decide what to buy from the candy counter. Kids today get what they want, but they miss the feeling of going up and down the candy shelves, over and over. I wouldn't take anything for the memory of that. And, keep the penny, I say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you, Loretta. Keep the penny. Of course, that's what a lot of us do. Keep those pennies in a jar on our bureaus. But back in the day kids picked up bottles and got 2 cents for their return. Then they could buy that candy or gas for their cars. Even take a girl out on a date, maybe.

      Delete
  3. Monday, Feb 4/13 was the last day of our penny being recirculated in Canada. Now they round it (up or down to nearest five cents) for cash purchases. It's exact for debit/credit purchases. Apparently other countries have been doing this for ages.
    I will still pick one up on the street. A penny saved is a penny earned. It does add up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laney, guess that makes bookkeeping easier. Or does it? I did see where several countries had already eliminated the penny when I was looking up my penny history on-line. Some thought that caused prices to go up. So what do you do with the pennies you still have? Are they just souvenirs now or can you turn them in for larger coins if you have enough for the exchange?

      Delete
    2. You can still pay with them until you run out (presumably to the penny or handing in five at a time?). I know charities are accepting them.
      I guess I should check into this, as I still have some in my wallet....

      Delete
  4. During the course of raising my children, I lamented the loss of penny candy. The realization of losing the first introduction of finance to our youngsters altered their ability to figure so many aspects of everyday commerce. Not only did the basic task of learning the value of coinage and making change hinder the eventual mathematical advances they could achieve in school but the essence of trading earned income for goods lead to an unrealistic expectation of where funding originates and that monies are not just figures on paper that mom and dad ultimately govern. It tickles me that my girls, at the ages of 16 and 20, will still turn a penny over for the next person to find one "heads up for good luck!" I remember my youngest daughter ALWAYS picking up any coins and she would find so much money she could buy a candy a week. It was a delight to see them stop to pick up what so many couldn't be bothered with nowadays. I still can not believe that we not only waste our resources but our finances as well. MORE FOR ME!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting comment, Judith, about teaching your children about finance by using penny candy. Now it's hard to even find nickel candy. Sounds as if your girls have gotten the message anyway, and it's so sweet that they turn pennies over so the next person along will feel lucky. And your youngest daughter must have sharp eyes to find so many lost coins. :)

      Delete
  5. Do we see very many other coins to pick up??
    Only pennies. I pick them up. It is like God saying, "I see you, Kathleen." I remember the cigar box my father had under his bedroom chest that I counted out to buy those big fat coloring books. There were grey ones, and ones with little leaves on the back ~*~ maybe that is why they were there!
    I'm all for the pennies! [And I still look for the leaves on the back.]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leaves on the back are good. I can remember Howdy Dowdy shows where kids were allowed to reach into a fishbowl full of pennies and keep all they could hold. I used to think I would practice if I ever got that chance. I barely remember the Howdy Dowdy show, but I remember those bowls of pennies. LOL

      Delete
  6. I am thinking the time will come when there wont be coins period, everything cost so much now...I still pick up the pennies on a street and repeat that little phrase as I do. I have even thrown some down thinking someone will get a good feeling finding them, usually a kid.
    Times are a changing and I am not so sure they are for the best.
    thanks for your comments.
    Paula O

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paula, you could be right about the coins, but for sure, if they started rounding prices off, they'll round them up. So maybe we can keep our change for a while. I pick up pennies too, but not as eagerly as I would have when I was a kid. :)

      Delete
  7. Hi Ann, Thinking about pennies reminded me of story I heard about a millionaire who always stopped to pick up a penny. Needless to say, he didn't need that penny but he said that picking up that penny with the phrase "In God We Trust" always reminded him to stop & be thankful to the One who gave him so much! Puts a new spin on the penny I think! Have a blessed week! (I did miss you on Wed.!) Linda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lesson of thankfulness from a penny. Great story, Linda. And I'm sort of glad you missed me on Wednesday. Let's see. Now is that tomorrow? LOL.

      Delete
  8. Loved this post and I may even borrow part of it for an "In the Bag" message that I do for the children on Sunday mornings. As old as I am, I had never heard about pennies from heaven until 2 weeks ago. One of our church members is in St. Louis with her 13 year old daughter, who suffers with cystic fibrosis and is awaiting a double lung transplant. This young Christian mother has already gone through this before and Kaylee passed away a few years ago. She wrote me that after Kaylee died, she and other family members would often find pennies in unusual places and they thought they were from Kaylee. Two weeks ago, after her younger daughter had gone through a liver biopsy, the nurse remarked that she had found a penny in her bed after she returned from the recovery room. Both Sandy and Kenedy felt that this was Kaylee reassuring them. What a wonderful blessing for them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Help yourself, Connie. The stories about pennies from heaven are amazing. Makes you wonder and if I had lost a child te way this mother had and then found the pennies, I would be comforted. Yes indeed, a wonderful blessing.

      Always fun to read your comments.

      Delete

Thanks for joining the conversation. I like hearing what you have to say. Thanks for dropping by.