They’d run full tilt to the booth for goodies

From our March 2012 issue

By James Ruzicka Viking, Alta.

I entered this world just before the Dirty ‘30s. Money was scarce so one had to keep track of every cent.

I remember my mom saying “a penny saved is a penny earned.” That was fine but how could a kid earn money when there wasn’t much around.

We lived in a small community called Prague, Alta. As tough as times were, the people always held an event known as the Prague Picnic.

The ladies brought food and the men organized the food booth, ball games, and kids races, etc. The little ones were each given 5¢ as long as they ran in their own race. A grand time was had by everyone!

In our family, each of us were given a quarter. Back then we could get a double-headed ice cream cone for only 5¢ and the same for a glass of lemonade.

It didn’t take long before all our loot was gone. How can one save money with all those goodies around?

The day after the picnic was the day we went to work. There were a lot of small children at the picnic who went to their grandmothers and asked for money.

When they received some, they’d run full tilt toward the food booth with money in hand. By the time they arrived, a few coins were lost.

The next day our job was to search in the tall grass for those lost coins. I was fascinated with the coins I found.

I started collecting pennies with a date stamped on them for each year. I went back as far as the year 1900 and in the year 2000, after all that time, I’d had finally save a dollar!

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