Vol. 12


A Sweet Treat

1947; Eden, Illinois, USA"A Sweet Treat" illustration: A happy boy holds a tray of five ice cream cones

Growing up poor is never easy, and definitely isn’t fun. In 1947 a quarter was an immense amount of money, especially to a dirt-poor five-year-old boy. It was the month of August 1947, and the hot, humid southern Illinois sun beat down on anyone who dared to step out of the shade. My grandpa Bill, five years old at the time, was walking alone on a dirt road in his messy jeans and T-shirt. His suspenders were too tight, and his thick country accent was as deep as an accent can be for a five-year-old. He walked alone because his mother and siblings were working.

My grandpa Bill was poor growing up, but he and his family worked hard to make ends meet and still put food on the table. Rarely would he see money, especially a big coin such as a quarter. Back when he was a boy, 25 cents was practically worth 25 dollars for anyone now.

My grandpa walked alone on the dirt road, and he was kicking rocks with his feet as he walked. As he looked down at the rocks he displaced, something shimmering caught his eye. He bent down, and sure enough — just lying on the ground was a shining quarter. A whole 25 cents! Ecstatic, my grandpa picked the coin up and pondered what to do with the glistening 25 cents. After a few minutes he decided to go to the general store in his town and get delicious, cool ice cream on a warm summer’s day.

“How many ice cream cones can I buy with a quarter?” he asked the clerk.

“Five — a nickel a cone.”

“I’ll have five then!!” my grandfather said.

He walked out holding a tray — with five vanilla ice cream cones in the tray, and a huge smile on his face. Now normally my grandpa was a kind, generous boy, but the excitement of being able to have five ice cream cones all to himself sounded great to him. So happily he skipped to a ditch, a place where he could eat his ice cream in private.

The ditch he sat near was right next to a dirt road, so every time a car would pass, dirt would fly and his vanilla ice cream would look like chocolate. But nothing could prevent my grandpa from joyfully gobbling down his ice cream. The taste was more than satisfying, as the ice cream was dripping down his cheeks.

But eventually, little by little, drop by drop, his creamy ice cream started to melt more and more. My grandpa could fully devour only two of the five cones he got, before they all melted and he got full. But throughout the entire time he was eating, he was so very thankful for what he had.

The lesson my grandfather learned was that you should never spend all your money at once. However, if you do spend all your money at once, always share what you have!

Isabella Trost; Illinois, USA

Illustrator: Devyn Shelton; Missouri, USA



This copyrighted story may be copied and/or printed for limited classroom or personal use. To reprint this story in an article about The Grannie Annie, please contact The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration for permission.


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