Found: Big Bucks in My Sock Drawer. Lost: My Mother

Tinka Falconer's gravesite. Photo by Barbara Falconer Newhall

Buried in the sandy soil along Lake Michigan. Photo by Barbara Falconer Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Wow. The other day I found four – count ’em four – brand new hundred-dollar bills in my sock drawer. They were tucked in an envelope with a note from my husband in bold red and green letters, “Merry Christmas, Barbara.”

How in the world did that money get in my sock drawer?

The bills were nice and crisp. Jon had obviously made a special trip to the bank to procure them for me.

But I had to wonder, how long had that envelope full of cash been lying  in that drawer? Since Christmas 2010?

Cash windfall in my sock drawer. Photo by Barbara Falconer NewhallI had no memory of getting money for Christmas, let alone squirreling it away under my socks.

I tried to visualize last Christmas, but I could pull up no memories. Christmas 2010 fell seven days after my mother died. My guess is, I was in no mood to celebrate my little cash windfall, let alone go out and spend it.

I had to put it out of sight. There was too much joy in it.

We buried my mother in Michigan last summer next to my father, my grandmother, my aunt, my grand-aunt and my great-grandmother. I cried when I left her there, buried in the sandy soil along Lake Michigan.

She’s there. I’m here. And I’ve got $400 to spend.

When I’m ready.

Another story about grief: “My Mother’s Goneness.”



  1. Anne B Wright says:

    Followed your link to Pentwater…..enjoyed your comments and photos. My early summers were at Torch Lake…north end at Eastport then Camp Maqua at Hale and Camp Huntingdon on Walloon.

    Then your link to the $400 and your mother’s death just before Christmas 2010….. She was such a pleasant, fun lady to play golf with, and of course, we had you in common.

    Keep me posted with your writings, very pleasant reading. I too am an avid book reader now that I am a widow. Doug would be delighted that I went from a book a month to 70 or more per year. He was a book-a-holic though I felt he would have benefitted reading more widely than Clive Cussler, Dick Francis, Robert Parker, etc.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Barbara Falconer Newhall says:

      Ah, yes. Michigan has so many beautiful, swimmable lakes. My California family has no idea how deprived they are; all we have is big rivers and freezing cold mountain lakes.

      My mom loved her golf — a sport she first, very bravely, I thought, took up when she was 40.

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