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Loose Change

by Bellarke

My PawPaw Ronald always keeps his change in the pocket of his worn down light washed blue jeans, the holey, rough fabric covered in stains telling a whole different story of its own.

He would always reach into the front pocket, and pull his dark, leathery, work-worn hand back out filled with several different coins. The Copper pennies clinking with the spareling with the silver of nickels, dimes, or quarters.

He never bothered to put the random coins in a piggy bank, or even in a bag to keep up with them. He left so much around that when I need some lunch money, I could always just ask him and he would go and grab his old jeans. If PawPaw was washing his main jeans, he would go to the bathroom, and grab a handful of stray coins out of the box that was kept for his stuff on the top shelf on the vanity.

Everytime I would suggest that he let me count out all of his money so that he can take it all to the bank to cash in, he would only put his hand on his hip, and cocked an eyebrow. “Why would I want to do that? What if I need only a few coins and all I have on me is bills? I would just be collecting more coins. Back to where we came from.”

One time, when I was younger, around the age of fourteen, my Pawpaw got an old cigar box. The box was yellow on the sides, and had stains on it from the years it has been sitting in an old room. All four sides of the box were embossed with swirls, and the brand of the cigar. Pawpaw put pennies only inside of this box, because he called pennies a waste of space because that is what the majority of the change was.

He put the old box in the floorboard of his old red Ford F-150, slightly hidden underneath the one row seat. This box only took care of about two thirds of the problem with all of his spare change.

He still had hundreds of coins weight down his pockets. I kept waiting for all of the change to just wear a hole into the pocket, and all of the money to fall out. At least if this happened, we would not have to deal with it all.

Everytime Pawpaw would take a step, his pockets would jingle like christmas bells in december.

Last year, I finally got him to sort out all of the change, and let me and my little sister count it out for him. It took us a full three days, because someone kept getting us distracted and we would lose count and have to start all over again, painfully enough.

We got up at seven in the morning, ate our breakfast, and got back to work on counting.

We both had a stack of coins, and we had to keep them seperate in fear of having to start over.

We both think that PawPaw kept messing us on purpose, because he would walk over to the table, and accidentally bump it, knocking over all of the pills of change, both counted, and not counted ones.

After counting it over twice, just to be sure, Pawpaw had around sixty dollars. I was honestly surprised, I thought there would have been more money than only sixty dollars, after all the years of collecting, and my time spent counting.

We finally got it all taken to the bank the day after we got it all added up, and Pawpaw got his cash handed right to him.

But I think it was just a waste of time now. Because he is back up to pocketfuls of coins again. All he ever has now is his pockets full of loose change. 

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100 Reviews

Points: 5531
Reviews: 100

Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:01 pm
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WinnyWriter wrote a review...

Hey! Nice story. It keeps the reader in the suspense of the question, "Why did Pawpaw keep all this change?" I like how you show in the end that the amount of money it added up to didn't really matter that much. The memories of the kid's grandparent was really more valuable in the long run than the amount of money.

I agree with what others have written about adjective clumping. Keep an eye out for that. I'm personally a capitalization and punctuation geek of sorts, so I notice when those take the back burner. Your ideas will be clearer if you take time to polish those up.

Well, keep up the good work!

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57 Reviews

Points: 3893
Reviews: 57

Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:46 pm
Stellarjay wrote a review...

Hello Bellarke!

Your story was really nice! It was very smooth and well written. There are a few things you could improve on. I have to agree with Flyingsquirrel42 on your use of adverbs and descriptive words. I would space out the descriptive sentences and leave some room for the readers imagination. If you get to descriptive and add in words or even sentences with the same meaning you can lose the readers attention really quickly. For example, in "Anne Of Green Gables" The author describes what Anne is seeing for an entire paragraph. But the thing is, she spaces out the descriptive sentences with verb sentences. And trust me, I never got bored and she never lost my attention. (You should read it! It's the best book ever!)

One last thing before I go! I noticed you had a lot of spaces between sentences. For example, at the very end of the story the fourth sentence was put apart from the last sentences. I think if you kept them all together it would be a lot smoother. They are about the same subject so it would work out fine. I just felt like it made your story a little jumpy.

Overall the story was really good! I hope you keep writing!

- Stellar Jay

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17 Reviews

Points: 1887
Reviews: 17

Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:16 am
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Flyingsquirrel42 wrote a review...

Hi Bellarke!

First off, this is a really great piece. There are just a couple things I would change.

The main issue in terms of word choice is concentrated at the beginning. There's a lot of descriptive words - maybe even too much. It's important not to describe *everything* in as much detail as possible because while it's good to know what something looks like, you have to trust the reader to fill in the gaps by themselves. Plus, getting too wordy can bog down your writing. So when you're saying, "his worn down light washed blue jeans" or "his dark, leathery, work-worn hand", it's a lot of adjectives to swim through. I would consider cutting out at least one of them. Maybe "leathery" and "work-worn" convey the same message. Maybe the word "down" in "worn down" can be cut. Doing this improves overall readability.

Same concept with the adverbs - doing a search for all the words ending in "ly" can help. You can find stronger verbs to use instead, or maybe you don't need them at all. Words like "honestly" aren't always necessary. When you say Pawpaw's box is "slightly hidden" under the one-row seat, you could replace it with something about a corner of the box peeking out, which is more descriptive. Other filler words to check for include "just" and "now". You can do a quick internet search for filler words; I believe Diana Urban's website has a great list of words to watch out for. This is not to say that you should never use these words, but removing some of them can tighten up your writing.

Make sure you're using the right words: "He still had hundreds of coins weight down his pockets" should be "He still had hundreds of coins weighing down his pockets".

Your final paragraph is an important one, so it's good to start off on the right foot. You're using short, impactful sentences in your conclusion, and some words don't need to be there either. "But I think it was just a waste of time now" can be "But it was a waste of time." You don't need the second sentence either - it conveys the same message as the third sentence and in my opinion, the third sentence is better written.

From a grammatical standpoint, this is a great piece! Make sure you're not overusing commas, though. Try reading it out loud and seeing if you would stop for a breath where all your commas are currently. Remember, you don't need a comma before every "and".

Also, make sure you're capitalizing everything correctly. "Christmas" and "December" should be capitalized, and "Copper" should be "copper" since it's not at the beginning of a sentence nor is it a proper noun. Related note: "everytime" should be spelled "every time".

I know this seems like a lot, but it's more diction- and grammar-related. You have a solid story structure and I loved reading this piece. It's definitely out of the ordinary.

Great job!

Bellarke says...

Thank you :)

The mind of man is capable of anything - because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future.
— Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness