Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Once there was a girl named Coral Graf who lived in the Upper East Side of New York City. She lived with her father and mother in a red brick, high-rise apartment with many neighbors. Her father owned a local deli with Jewish delicacies that all the neighbors loved.
At least three days a week, her mother was a telephone operator at the Empire State Building. Ever since Coral was a baby, The Man Upstairs dropped pennies through the heating vent. “We don’t want your money!” Coral’s father yelled at The Man Upstairs through the ceiling. Her father banged on the ceiling with the broom handle to emphasize his request.
When The Man Upstairs continued to drop pennies, Mrs. Graf set out a tin can, to collect them. “Well, if The Man Upstairs insists on giving us money, then we have to give it away,” Mrs. Graf said. Mr. and Mrs. Graf, with Coral at their side, gave the money to every hungry person on the block.
One day, when the tin can of pennies overflowed, The Man Upstairs stopped dropping the coins. Mr. and Mrs. Graf were tired of giving the money away and thought they would keep it for themselves.
“It’s so much effort to give the money away,” Mr. Graf said, eating a corned beef sandwich and sauerkraut.
“Coral, I thought maybe The Man Upstairs wanted us to keep a little of it,” Mrs. Graf said, enjoying a bagel and lox.
“Mom, you know we have to share the pennies!” Coral said to her mother, counting the remaining money in the tin can.
Nine-year-old Coral walked through the Upper East Side giving every last penny to needy strangers. Later, when Coral placed the tin can under her apartment vent, more pennies came out faster than ever before. The Man Upstairs only dropped pennies when someone from the Graf family gave the coins away.
From that day on, Coral was in charge of the pennies that fell in the tin can from The Man Upstairs.
“I promise to never hoard the pennies for myself,” Coral said, talking to him through the heating vent. “I’ll do as much good with every penny as I possibly can. Thank you for trusting me with your money.”
Over time, Coral had enough pennies from The Man Upstairs to change the entire world. The more pennies he gave her; the more she gave away. She might have even been a millionaire. All because The Man Upstairs knew she would keep her promise.
Copyright 2015 Jennifer Waters
Dedicated to my grandmother, Augusta Renner Graf Waters.