“Fear of economic insecurity; they had it. That’s for sure,” the Geezer said yesterday.
When I met the Geezers parents, they were selling pet rocks at the swap meet. They were children of the depression, and they had once been very well off. Now they were working as apartment managers. He once drank and gambled until bankruptcy, and now in fear and panic she was caretaking the two of them into a series of “get rich quick schemes.”
On the surface, they were the nicest folks you would ever meet. Even though they didn’t like or accept me for many years, I was fond of them though often amazed at what they got themselves into.
Kimono’s. They would drive to LA and buy kimonos by the bale. They hauled them down here and tried to sell them at the swap meet. The bright and pretty ones sold right away. We discovered after her death that there were still vast numbers of unsold heavy, black, silk kimonos in garbage bags deep in basements around the complex she lived in. Even quilters didn’t want the things.
They bought gold. They tried penny stocks. They bought storage auction lots often getting the family silver or the family cameras. Anything they thought they could make money on, they tried.
As G’s dad’s eyesight worsened, G’s mom, Ruby, began making teddy bears. It was something she could do by herself. She made all types of bears each with a ruby earring in its ear. Costumed, dressed up, and fanciful, these sold quite well at the swapmeet for a while and even in the malls. When she died, there was a whole room literally full of half finished bears in plastic bins just waiting for her to take them in hand.
When cleaning out the garage this weekend, G found a binder filled with 24 carat gold stamp replicas. He had tried to sell them once before. The jeweler didn’t want them, and they went for nothing at all on eBay. Nada anywhere in any market. Sunday he set this thick binder aside to deal with later…and later was yesterday afternoon.
Again, our favorite jeweler wasn’t interested. But he did pull one of the envelopes out of its plastic casing to look at it a little closer. When he started to hand the whole thing back to G, I said, “Oh, just take one of them apart.” What would it hurt anyway.
I must say, each gold stamp was thoroly sealed first in paper, then felt, then in a plastic container that suggested what was inside was thick and valuable. Ripping it open layer by layer revealed, voila, a pressed, cutout stamp on very thin paper with an even thinner overlay of gold foil. Trash. Garbage. Again, a nada that we think his folks spent real money on…at least twenty bucks a stamp.
Perhaps I am no better in my own way. With my severe numerical learning disabilities, I let a broker handle my money. Who am I to say that pet rocks or cardboard gold weren’t a better way to get rich in any market.