The Golden Medallion or Money?

Looking back upon my childhood years, I can recall that old neighborhood building located in the East New York area of Brooklyn. There were six apartments in that Building Complex. Two on each side one to the right and one to the left. I lived in the third floor on the right side.

As I drove by now been an Adult, I could almost visualize seeing Mom’s Kitchen. I could even hear and smell that Pollo Frito frying away in the frying pan. The neighborhood store was right across the street. You could find all the Spanish Groceries Ingredients that you would need for any meal in the Bodega of Mr. Polo Castro. I used to cross the street with my older brother and older sister to go buy Candy and Soda there in many childhood years.

I could recall being so young, I didn’t have any money with me. So, I went into my grandmothers “Religious Scared Room”, which had a Saint Mary. I snooped around the room and found her Sewing Kit which had all sorts of buttons. I also found that day a Jewelry Box with her Religious Church Medallions in it. I didn’t know what money looked like so, I grabbed the buttons from her Sewing Kit and off I went to Mr. Polo Castro’s Bodega across the street.

I went and grabbed a handful of Candy and gave it to Mr. Castro . I then went into my pocket and gave him all the buttons that I had grabbed from Abuelas Sewing Kit.

This is not Money he yells at me. These are buttons which are made of plastic. These buttons here has two holes and this button here have four. These buttons are use for sewing.

He then grabbed me by my hand and ask me to open my hand so that he could give me back the buttons. “Here feel the buttons, it’s made of Plastic” he looked like he was mad at me. He then explained to me that money was made out of Metal and Dollar Bills were made out of paper.

Once again I crossed the street in search of real money. When I got upstairs to my Grandmother’s Room, I came across a “Gold Medallion made out of Solid Gold”. I ran back to the Bodega to show the Bodeguero. When I got there I took out the Gold Medallion. Mr. Castro reached out and held the gold medallion of the Virgin Mary in his hand. “Wow, a solid gold medallion”. He then looked down at me with a stern frown on his face. “Where did you get this medallion?”and pointed his finger at me like I had done something wrong.

I sheepishly looked down to the floor and said…I got it from Abuelas Jewelry Box.

This time he goes to the Cash Register Box and takes out a Dime. You know what this is?

I answer it’s money.

“You see money is Silver and not Gold” …he had to explain to me again.

As I was leaving, he called me back and said…Here little girl have this Banana Flavored Ice Cream Bar. It’s on the house. He smiles at me. As I bite down on the Banana Ice Cream Bar. I made that funny face when you don’t like something. It was the most awful Ice Cream Bar I had ever tasted. I thought maybe this is God’s way of getting back at me. I dropped it to the floor.

I politely thank Mr. Polo Castro for helping me out on finding out what money really looked like, for I was just five years old, and this was quite an adventure for me. I then waved good-bye to Mr. Castro the bodeguero and rushed home to put the Gold Medallion of the Virgin Mary back before Abuela got home. I learned a valuable lesson on that day from Mr. Polo Castro El Bodeguero which was never take what is not yours and what real money was. A lesson for all to follow.

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