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"Birthday Story" posted June 18, 2007 at 05:06 PM

I just celebrated my 69th birthday, and of course I started thinking about my Mother, and the story she told me about the day I was born.

The year was 1938. My father owned a large truck which he used for whatever job could earn him some money. It seems that a family was moving to Baltimore, Maryland, and they offered papa $50.00 to move their household belongings. That was an extravagant amount in 1938, and although Mama was due any day, he agreed to go. Before leaving, he told Mama he had a dream that she gave birth to a son, and so he gave $1.00 to play on the numbers game, referred to locally as "the bug". I'm not sure of this, but the payoff if the number was drawn would net him $50.00!

Keep in mind the year, when I tell you that Mama was appalled that he would spend a whole dollar on gambling! However, she said she would place the bet with the local "Bug" lady, and so Papa went off to Baltimore.

Mama had second thoughts, and reasoned that with a dollar she could probably buy enough food for the family for at least 2 days; and so, she placed a nickle bet on the number papa had chosen, and put 95 cents into her small coin purse to use at the grocery store. She never made it to the store, because she went into labor, and within hours was in the hospital, giving birth to a son (namely, me).

Papa came home, to learn that he had a new son, and that his number had been picked for that date, May 3, 1938. After visiting Mama and seeing his new son, he looked forward to collecting his big winnings. Imagine how rich he felt, having earned $100.00 between the job and the bet! Mama said she trembled at the thought of having to tell him she had only placed a nickle bet, which paid off a dollar, She said Papa was angry, but not for long; he said a son was also good payoff!

Happy Birthday to my Frugal Mama!


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