Sunday, January 13, 2013
My Father's Wallet
Life is full of surprises. As a consequence of inheriting the family farmland, I am about to be the recipient of a settlement in a class action lawsuit. In the 1980s, various telecommunications companies started laying fiber-optic cable along railroad rights of way. Apparently, some clever lawyers figured out that the companies laying the cable should have gotten permission from landowners along the railroads. As luck would have it, CSX (formerly B&O) tracks run along the north border of our farm. Now that the case has been settled, I'm eligible to get a few hundred bucks. The catch is I have to provide documentation of ownership of the land, which I inherited from Mom in 1995, as well my parents' ownership of the land before that.
Digging through records in the basement, I was able to locate a copy of the deed recorded when my parents bought the property in 1953.
I also found the contents of my father's wallet, which were in an envelope with his estate papers. The wallet itself, and any cash that may have been in there when he died on October 5, 1989, were not in the envelope. What I found were the plastic inserts containing cards, photos, and so forth.
He carried school pictures of his grandchildren, and my mom, taken when she was a cook at the school.
He was a long-time State Farm customer, as am I, and he carried insurance cards for the cars he kept running against all odds--a '69 VW Fastback and a '78 VW Rabbit.
On a small slip of paper, he wrote reminders, some of which are obvious, like the church tax number (I think he was treasurer of the men's group at some point) and our zip code. I'm guessing the slip of paper dates back to the sixties, when zip codes were introduced. Other numbers are more cryptic:
E 28 38 24
W 17 27 5
N 10 16 26
S 22 8 2
His Medicare Card was activated on 4-1-84.
His blood donor card showed he was Type O, and recorded only two donations, on 12-4-53 and 8-31-60.
He graduated high school in 1937, the same year Social Security taxes began, but the card in his wallet was printed sometime in 1961 or later, so it was probably a replacement.
He carried a discount card for Perry Drug Stores, which have since been acquired by Rite Aid.
Neither of my parents carried credit or debit cards. The only plastic card Dad carried was his driver's license. It reminds me of a poignant moment when I was riding with him at night and it became obvious that he couldn't see the road. He had become diabetic in middle age, and the disease was taking a toll on his vision in his sixties. I had to ask him to pull over and let me drive, and it wasn't an easy thing to do.