We Both Found What We Were Looking For

, , , , , , , | Right | August 13, 2017

My sister and I were deeply in love with Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 from the first time we saw them on the Ed Sullivan Show, Thanksgiving, 1969. She was six and I was nine.

Fast forward to Christmas, 1971. Our parents give us a portable record player. Our parents had a couple of Jackson 5 records and we played them over and over, ad nauseam.

In August, 1972, Michael Jackson released the album Ben. Oh, we wanted that album so badly; oh, so badly. So we started saving; all of our Sunday school money, all of our candy money, any money we found anywhere went into the Ben Bank. After about two months we had enough for the album. We hounded our mother unmercifully to please take us to the department store so that we could buy the album.

Finally, late on a Sunday, she takes us there, does her shopping, and then she leads us around to where the albums are sold. Now mind you this is a Sunday in the 1970s. All stores close at 5:00 pm and it’s 4:45. My sister is the keeper of the bank, so she is walking in front.

We walk to the counter and politely ask the young lady working there if there is a copy of Michael Jackson’s Ben. She goes and gets it. Oh, my, we are so happy, practically vibrating with excitement. The young lady is smiling, too; she can see we are so happy.

She says that will be $5.45. My sister puts the paper bag that holds all the money we saved for this album on the counter and upends it. Five dollars and fifty cents worth of dimes, nickels, and pennies roll out and we start counting. My mom walks away at that point. After about 10 minutes of us going 1,2,3,4,5, because by that time we have given her all the silver and we are into the 300 pennies that are included, the young lady just starts sweeping it off the counter and throwing them into the register.

My sister and I say, “But we didn’t count it for you.” The young lady says, “That’s okay; I can see that it’s enough.”

That happened 45 years ago and yet I can still see that young lady’s face fall as all those coins rolled across the counter. To the young lady I wish to say, “I’m so so sorry we did that to you. Thank you for being a kind soul to two little girls ten minutes before closing.”

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