Memories of “Funny Money”

Dear Reader:

Some memories from the past come floating back so easily with just a few words…actually two… “Funny Money.”

Mother was able to put three children through college because of daddy’s pension which she never touched…and believe me…there were several occasions (that I can recall) when she sure could have used that money.

So basically myself and my siblings’ college tuition was paid…but we were all on work scholarship to earn our spending money during our college years.

I didn’t have a car in college so I had no insurance or taxes or monthly payments until I graduated and finally got an old used car from mother for that special occasion. I was thrilled…that old car made many trips between Laurens (upstate) and Charleston (lowcountry) in those first few teaching years following graduation.

However, when least expected, a letter would arrive from home to Erskine and mother would have cold cash inside…it always warmed my heart and miraculously arrived when most needed…or simply most wanted!

I remember one day I was opening my mail in the canteen and waving the letter with joy…mom had sent me her special treat of money. Libby stopped by and sat down and told me that in her family…they called that kind of unexpected cash “celebration” … “funny money!

This immediately caught my curiosity…and I wanted to know the reason why. Libby said her mother (“Miss Nell” as she was known affectionately in her hometown- she was “Queen of the World’s Grits Festival” in St. George, SC) thought everybody needed to be surprised with some unexpected money, occasionally, that was theirs simply to enjoy…to spend with abandonment. To just have fun with…

“Funny Money” just adds a little pizazz to life and everyone deserves a little pizazz in their lives! Miss Nell said that she enjoyed sending it even more than her college age children loved receiving it. Because it was simply “I love you” money…go have fun!

To this day…I still send my children (and their spouses) some “funny money” to spend on themselves or take the grandchildren all out to the movies or do something fun…it really is more fun to send it …Miss Nell was right!

As the grandchildren get older…I hope I will still be around to continue the tradition…it is a good one! Thanks Libby…Thanks Miss Nell!

So until tomorrow

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

John and Mandy are back with fun memories from their mini-get-away…it is amazing how many memories can be packed into a small amount of time…they are called moments...the most special element of time.

I was able to follow a busy bumblebee around the newly opened blooms on the old-fashioned narrow-leaf sunflowers…there were three blooms and the bee hit all three while I took photos.

This tiniest little geranium has an even smaller bloom but it lives up to its name…Rose Splash… (especially after a night rain)


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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8 Responses to Memories of “Funny Money”

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    When Fred and I were in college we both had student loans plus small scholarships and we worked every summer and all through each semester of our 4 yrs on a work/study plan where all our earnings went straight to the college so we did the weekly pick the team to win in local football teams sponsored by the lical newspaper and when we won we would use our Funny Money to go on a real date..otherwise we would buy some hamburger meat and a Sundrop and watvh “The Young and the Restless”on tv…funny money was hard to come by even after we were married but now we will slip our kids money to buy something for themselves…


    • Becky Dingle says:

      The most wonderful thing about “Funny Money” is that it is never about the amount…because honestly it didn’t amount to much….but it was the idea that money just appeared like some wonderful magical trick and the image in my mind of mother getting the cash from the bank or store…putting it in a card with a sweet note…was what meant the most to me…the unexpected really does add such happiness to an otherwise mundane routine in life.


  2. Becky Hogan says:

    I just realized that you and I both knew Mrs. Nell… sweet lady! Small world……I grew up with Libby and Eddie so I really enjoyed hearing about Mrs. Nell’s gift of “funny money.” Thank you for sharing….hope you’re doing well and keeping a song in your heart!


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I love our connection! What a great one! Met Libby at Erskine and we have been best “buds” ever since. I can hardly wait to tell her about your response if she doesn’t see it! Hope you are doing well Becky…we still need to meet once this “forever” virus goes away…would love to see you again!


  3. Joan semle says:

    That reminds me when my brother had some financial difficulty. He is deaf and needed a little more guidance. My father asked him to show him a budget. He wanted to know what he did with money that was left over after paying his bills. “What did you do with your extra money?” Dick replied “that is my fun money,”


  4. Joan Semle says:

    Bob had his inc


  5. Joan Semle says:

    Bob is doing a little better but slowly. Thanks for asking.


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