Saturday, April 12, 2014
My grandmother hid savings bonds. I don't know why. Maybe because she lived through the Great Depression, maybe because she didn't trust Grampa not to drink or gamble it away (Grampa had some serious faults, but drink and gambling wasn't among them), maybe it was just packrat tendencies.
On several occasions in my childhood, teens, and young adulthood, she took me around her home and showed me where it was all hidden. Most of it was in envelopes taped to the underside of drawers, in her dining room and bedroom. There must have been tens of thousands of dolllars, especially given that most of the bonds were old, well past maturity and still gathering interest.
She impressed upon me the bonds and their locations were a secret, and that I was the only person who knew this secret. That if anything ever happened to her, I was to swoop in and gather it all up. I don't know what I was supposed to do with it except to make sure it wasn't lost or stolen, I guess.
Well, in my late 20s and especially my 30s I was dealing with mental and emotional issues, and not keeping in very good touch with family. I depended on my mother to keep me posted, which I guess wasn't the best idea. When my father died, nobody thought to inform me until long after the funeral. Same when Grampa died. I found out he'd died when I happened to call Gramma a few weeks after the funeral. I went to visit her, and that's the last time I saw her. Nobody told me when Gramma died, again not until long after the funeral. (I've often wondered - if I hadn't been there when Mom died, would anyone have told me?)
Anyway, several years after Grampa died, Gramma, in her late 80s I guess, had to vacate her apartment, and she moved into one of those senior complexes, you know, with her own apartment and her own familiar furniture, a kitchen but also a dining hall downstairs, nurses available 24 hours, and so on. Mom said she was very happy there, was still taking the city bus into town to shop, and so on.
I asked if Gramma had taken her bedroom set and dining room set with her, and Mom said yes, except for the dining table, that was too big. But she sill had the buffet, server, and china cabinet.
Gramma died in her mid-90s. As I said, no one told me until Mom called one day to complain that Mom's brother's bossy wife had cleaned out the apartment something like the day after Gramma'd died, before the funeral even, and there was nothing left of anything besides a few photo albums.
I was aghast, but for an entirely different reason from my mother! What about the dining room set (which I had always loved)? Oh, they threw it all out. They had a company come in and everything in the apartment went to the dump.
Well, I never said anything to anyone about Gramma's bond stash. I don't know if it was still there, taped to the bottoms of drawers, but it wouldn't have done anyone any good to know at that point. There was enough bad feeling floating around.
I still wonder, though.