A few days ago, I received a wheat penny in my change. I love wheat pennies (if that wasn't already obvious), but I haven't been up on the value of coins since I was in the fourth grade, so I decided to look it up. Apparently, they are not worth much, though one site has my 1953 wheat penny listed as worth a whole 20 cents. Some sell for much more. I'm tempted to go back and give the cashier 19 regular pennies, but I don't think they'll notice the difference. To them, it was just a penny.
To me, it is the history of thousands of people who had held it in their hands at one point in time over the last fifty-three years. Hundreds of fountain wishes. Hundreds of lucky days. Maybe even some penny candy for one of my own parents, six years old and swinging their tiny legs on a stool at the drug store counter. Or even part of the collective change jangling in their pocket, ten years later, as they walked along a country/city road on the way home from school. Someone's pocket, anyway.
Some context for my little penny: When she was first introduced to the world...
...Harry S. Truman was president.
...Salk came up with the polio vaccine.
...the first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, was published.
...Princess Elizabeth Windsor became Queen Elizabeth II.
...Lucy gave birth on television.
...Sergei Prokofiev, composer of "Peter and the Wolf" died.