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Every Penny Counts

by R. L. LASTER 9 months ago in happiness

Little Black Book and the Spirit of Hawaii

custom animation courtesy of: R. L. Laster

By Channey on Unsplash

Modest Desires, a Deserving Beauty

2015 is a great year to vast in the ALOHA city of Honolulu. Hawaiian culture is at its peak of intermingling ripeness. The scene is saturated with a wide variety of fast-food chains where celebrity concerts are periodically held at the nationally recognized American football stadium. Although there`s a mixture of mingling cultures cohabitating here, the sound of ukulele struts sound across beach sands louder than any portable radio. The air is crisp and gives host to constant traffic of passenger planes. The tourist-filled behemoths seem to fly unreasonably low and oddly close enough for the logos on their tails to be easily identified. Small and big motor vehicle types frequent [both] the newly paved streets and daintily paved pathways. Most of the vehicles in this area host engines that putt-putt along slightly louder than when they rolled off their mainland assembly lines. KALUA PORK is pork that has been slow roasted under banana leaves left underground. It contends with CHICKEN KATSU pairing with sticky rice. Both are among the most desired dishes on local dining tables.

By Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

We begin amidst a utopia of aloha sea breezes, plush vegetation and tall coconut trees that sway at free will. Geckos are everywhere and have proven to be a welcomed nuisance. The local children seem to invite them onto any indoor/outdoor surface they could cling to. Kids enjoy the harmless, little lizards because they'd figured out how to cause them to bite and clamp down on their earlobes. This causes the geckos to dangle (heroically) from pinched earlobes—reminiscent of green jewelry.

Here we meet a young, wide-eyed woman by the name of Anna Pilkington. The Hawaiian beauty is a smiley, jovial type that stands about 5feet, 9inches tall. She has an exceptionally clear walnut-colored complexion that enjoys being kissed by the sun. Anna’s slender physique begs for affection. She’s a beautiful, young local who had previously been a proud “B” student where she attended Waipahu Community High School. The pride of her accomplishment is still with her. She’s always wanted to attend University, but Anna’s family has no way of summoning the tuition-admittance and administration fees. Still yet, Anna smiles through her discontentment because she’s a happy type. Her dark brown hair is often pulled tight and collects into a large, brown, banana clamp. This allows its natural, deep waves to free fall down through the small of her back. Anna has never experimented with makeup. She only relies on neutral-colored lip balms to satisfy her desire for feeling “girly”. Anna's a simple ‘gal’ by most reasonable standards. One of her most compelling characteristics is how content she is with not knowing ‘who’s who’ on popular television. Anna is her own starlet. No one has ever heard the Hawaiian pride raise her voice—especially not to defend any argument. She’s naturally quiet and reserved. The gorgeously bronze beauty is a dreamer who spends a lot of her leisure time on a small bed with a book to read. Anna' is content and has yet to explore too far from her comfort zone. During her alone time, she ponders fictional characters for every facet of a life she dreams about. There’s no doubt about the measure of aloha coursing through her veins.

By Braden Jarvis on Unsplash

Hawaii is an exciting corner of the world. Brisk winds plow over fast-food eateries, motorized toys and handheld gadgets. There’s an array of young people who wear flip-flops and hair coloring for self-expressions. Anna appreciates people for being original because she understands the freedom of being your own movie star. The Hawaiian teen had visited a popular *UNDER21 dance club. Two of her friends from high school (at the time) accompanied her. Anna' dreadfully recalls that night by explaining how the loud music, cigarette smoke and constant ‘bumping into the shoulders of strangers’ only made her wish for her quiet bed. As it turned out, party scenes are not her idea of “time well spent”. Anna' gets along wonderfully with her mother. She doesn’t remember her father, though. This is (mostly) due to her mother being disgruntled with divorcing Erick when Anna was only 2 years of age. Life went on. Anna has been coming into her own opinion of the world. She’s unaffected about being fatherless, but she’s optimistic she’ll find him someday.

She utilizes public transportation to visit her aunt in Honolulu where she helps out at a swap meet—hosted by the ALOHA STADIUM. While she’s recently visiting, Anna amuses herself to apply for a small job as a hostess. The pancake house is down the street from where her Aunt lives. She'd only recently graduated from high school, so the idea of earning any wage, self-dependency and a chance to save up for college was too much of a big deal to pass by. The pancake house is a distance from her high school community.

“…Aunty? May I move in with you? It’s so much closer to my job.”

“You sure can, sweetie.”

Before long, Anna' finds herself estranged from her normal routines that included frequent beach gatherings and mall hopping with her girlfriends—one of which works at a collectables business. Kapolei is a new community for her. Friends would have to be made all over again—aside from a few co-workers she enjoys at work.

Her new life is shaping up and it`s much easier now to help her aunt at the local swap meet. It`s conveniently located just walking distance from their small apartment building. Her aunt faithfully rents a space on Saturdays to sell handmade Polynesian style jewelry and trinkets of sorts. They both have an appreciation for watching pedestrian foot traffic visiting the venues.

Most Saturday's; after Anna finishes helping Auntie, she stops to visit a fruit stand. It`s a larger lot that uses a series of blue tarps as a roof. Vast rows of organically grown produce are protected from the sun. The wide-eyed islander has never had a problem spending 30-45minutes browsing for her weekly supply of juicing and smoothie ingredients. Anna enjoys carefully picking through the fresh fruits and vegetables—squeezing and nurturing her selections.

“I’d sure love to attend college. It just seems so impossible to pay for. I tried to earn scholarships, but nothing, or should I say, NO COLLEGE was interested in me. There’s got to be a way.” she assures herself.

The Antique Lot

“…Antiques? …Interesting. Why not? One mans’ hot dog is another mans’ steak. I wonder what kind of steaks I can find for pennies?” she asks herself.

As she browses the lot, she comes across a mysterious, little black book. It’s a quarter of the size of normal books.

“I’ve never seen a little, black book like this. It’s mysteriously cute. It’s small enough to keep in my handbag! That’s cool. MOLESKINE? That must be the manufacturer. Oh wow! It’s someone’s journal. …And there’s writing in it. I wonder how much. …Sir? Excuse me! …Sir? How much?” she asks gently.

“That came as contents of a grab bag that I purchased from a thrift store. You can have it for any donation.”

“…Yes, of course. How does $2.00 sound?” she offers.

“I would’ve given it to you for half of a nickel. It’s yours.”

As Anna begins her trip home, Anna delights in her little purchase.

“Reading someone’s journal has to be as interesting as reading anything else. I plan on getting to know this person very well.” she says, laughing to herself.

It’s Anna's anniversary at the local pancake house. She figures a year has served her well enough while living with her aunt. It`s a great year to try something new. Why not have 2 jobs? A young woman with two jobs and her own apartment could help her save for college and have more friends.

“Aunty, I'd like to have a second job and get my own apartment. It`s nothing personal. It’s a long shot, but I may be able to save up $20,000.00 I need for college. Is that o.k.?”

“Of course it`s ok, my dear. You have the desires of a reasonable young woman burning inside you. I only wish I could help. If you have a plan for making $20,000.00 happen, I would never want to hold you back. You deserve it.”

“Thank you Auntie. I do deserve it. Don’t worry. God hears my prayer.”

Anna has almost forgotten that she had planned on reading the mysterious, little black book that she purchased (three days earlier) for $2.00.

“There you are. I’ve been so busy at with life that I’ve been neglecting you. Let’s see what secrets you harbor.”

Several pages into the small journal, Anna notices something interesting.

“Oh how cute. There’s a penny tapped to the back of the bookmark. Aunty! Look what I found.”

“It’s a penny, my dear. If it was $20,000.00, we’d have a little more to be excited about.” she scoffs.

“I have a friend that works at a collectables store. There must be something about this penny that made it worth saving. I’ll be back, Auntie. Love you!”

Divine Intervention

“Hey! Anna! What brings you in? Neither of us can afford any of this stuff.”

“I’m not here to buy anything, Sarah. I need your boss to take a look at this penny. It was tapped to a bookmark.”

The shop owner is an avid collector of rare coins and U.S. Mints.

“Let’s see what we got here. Wait a second! I think we have something here. No Way! I’ll be right back.”

“I hope that’s a good sign.” Anna says in slight participation.

“Anna? You might want to take a seat. This is an extremely rare 1983-D penny. It's unlike any other cooper penny the US Mint ever produced. The 1983-D copper PLANCHET cents changed from the old tenor copper (also known as bronze or brass) PLANCHETS to the new 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper PLANCHETS. This occurred in October of 1982 at the Denver Mint—at least two months before 1983-D cents were struck. What makes this penny more valuable is how it contains a wide AM reverse. This is an amazing find.”

“I’d really love to attend college. Could it fetch enough?”

“Sweet heart, you can easily fetch $23,000.00 for this right now. I know plenty of…”

Before the store owner could finish his summary, Anna collapses’ into her friends arms.

A Beautiful Aftermath

Today is an exciting day. Anna' gets to move into a small, 2nd floor abode that’s situated directly across from the University of Hawaii. Like most anywhere on this part of the island, it has a beautiful view. After setting a knick-knack here and placing some decor there, Anna' is settles in within hours of being handed her first set of keys. She’s finding all the elbow room she needs in her kitchenette—for her swap-meet produce and cutting board.

“Isn’t my bedroom awesome, Auntie?”

A queen size bed sits between a set of sturdy night stands. One of the end tables has a simple alarm clock on it. The other showcases a large pink crystal. It’s a rose colored, rock that she’d found at the swap meet for $40. After passing this large stone week after week, Anna decided it would be a nice accent to her bedroom.

“You deserve this, my dear. I’m so happy for you.”

“I still can’t believe I start classes next week. My pre-requisites are here—at U.H. After this, I’m flying to Southern New Hampshire to finish my M.A.”

This space is officially her own. Campus is across the street.

“I walk to class with other students who live here, too. God made a way, Auntie.” she admits, tearfully.

First Day of Class

Anna is among 15 others who take front-role seats. A gentleman introduces himself.

“Hello, students. I’m Professor Erick Pilkington…”

Anna can’t control her response.





At the age of 25, I discovered my love of research and the divinity within us. If knowledge precedes empowerment, knowing thyself should be everyone's first priority. Understanding the nature man, woman & their dynamic is gratifying.

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