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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2154374
by Gita
Rated: E · Short Story · Other · #2154374
Prompt: An old man finds a coin and it brings back a memory ...


Before South Africa became a Republic in 1961, the country was part of the British empire, and we used British currency - pounds sterling, shillings and pence. There was a very small, light, silver coin worth threepence (three pennies), which we South Africans called a tickey.

My father was born into a poor immigrant family. His parents could barely feed the family - let alone buy them shoes - so he used to go to school barefoot, as did his five siblings. The six children stuck out like a sore thumb, and were largely ignored, even disdained, by their peers and teachers. They were noticed, however, when they competed in running races, and regularly beat all the others, who ran in comfortable shoes.


When Dad was an old man, many decades after South Africa became a republic and our currency had changed to (decimal) rands and cents, he picked up an old, worn, tarnished tickey.

The tickey reminded him of the proudest day of his school years, and he often told me the following story:

"One day the school's telephone was out of order. I was very surprised when the principal came to my classroom and asked to speak to me. 'Bob, my boy, I know you'll be able to do this for us. Here's a tickey. Please run to the Post Office and use the phone booth to report the school's faulty phone.' I did exactly as I was asked, and when I reported back to him, Mr Booysens patted me on the head and smiled!"

My Dad remembered this incident with immense pride. The principal had singled him out to run a very important errand!
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