The gray chill of November had settled into our literal “neck” of the woods; Little Neck to be exact. I wore a Brownie’s uniform, braided hair twisting down on two sides from under the brown beanie cap with the orange logo on front. My companion, Susan B. and I, cut through the Howard Johnson’s restaurant parking lot. We were zigzagging through the slanted driveway to walk home down one of the streets to our houses.
As we walked up the slope, Susan let out a whoop of joy, “Look!” she pointed excitedly. I followed her gaze straight down to where the treasure lay. A silver dollar was resting on the asphalt, just waiting to be plucked off the ground by a lucky recipient. Susan was it.
One of our silly childhood taunts was “finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers”. As Susan grabbed up her find, I didn’t feel like a loser but conceded victory to her. There was no doubt in my mind that Susan would pocket her bounty.
But I was wrong. She didn’t. Susan wanted to spend the dollar, and not just on herself, but to split it with me, fifty-fifty at the candy store! Though I was only about eight or nine then, Susan’s complete act of utter unselfishness was not lost on me.
Had I been in Susan’s position, I’m not sure I’d have been of the mindset that ” caring was sharing “. You see, Susan was part of a large family which at that time numbered seven children. She had to constantly share things. Why not take that dollar and buy more things for herself than share it with me?
Instead, Susan divvied up the money with me. My mother restricted me from spending money on frivolous things, especially candy, and I know Susan didn’t have easy access to money either. So her act of kindness at such a young age touched my heart back then and still resonates with me today when I think back to that time.
We had great fun picking out a bunch of candy because in the 60’s, you could buy a lot with fifty cents. Even though it was cold outside, we sat behind the candy store and happily ate the loot. I know I thanked Susan. It was really pretty cool that she shared that money with me. If anyone had a reason to take the money and run, it was definitely she. So, here’s to a most unselfish act all these years later: raising a glass to Susan wherever she may be.