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Kathy Onsum, Published December 19 2010

Theft of cherished quarters was stealing from children

Back around 1960, when I was a young girl, my father, Louie Reiter, gave me a 1909 penny with instructions to save it, and anytime he asked to see it, I would need to show it to him. He told me it was a special penny because of the date, and if I spent it, I couldn’t replace it with just any other penny.

That gift kept giving back to me. My dad taught me so many things, such as responsibility; saving; geography – the United States had three locations of mints; history – Honest Abe was on that penny – who was he?; math – they, the government, made certain amounts in certain mints each year.

Then there’s a grading system – a coin would be graded, and that 1909 penny could be valued anywhere from 50 cents to $25.

When the state quarters came out, I thought of my dad and four grandchildren. This Christmas, I would like to honor my father’s memory and pass a tradition to them. They never got to meet Great-Grandpa Louie, but they will learn about him.

So with every new state quarter out, I set aside four, with a smile and glee in my heart.

My beloved pet companion, Miss Chloe, got sick and passed away the day after Veterans Day. I had just put a quarter away three days before, and two days later, I went to see how to divide them up. With great horror and shock, every single quarter was gone – stolen.

I want you to know that you didn’t just steal lots of shiny quarters from an old lady – you stole my dream and worse, you stole from children. You stole a legacy that was going to be passed down. You stole Christmas gifts that I’ll never be able to replace.

I live on $694.02 a month. I won’t be able to give my grandchildren Christmas gifts.

I’m so sad, but I feel sadder for you. I hope those shiny state quarters meant a lot to you. And in 40 years, that you’ll show and tell everyone the lessons you learned. Stealing hurts. If it’s not yours, leave it alone.