The Penny Shooter

Thank you all so much for your love and support this past week. My family is very touched. We had as good of a time as we could going up to her services and were just floored by the outpouring of friends, family, neighbors, and community members who were touched by Helen’s life. I only hope that when I grow up I can be as kind, thoughtful, and caring as she was. So if you spot me tearing up, it’s only because she’s not around to show me, I have to figure it out for myself.

the penny shooter, grandma helen, jen darling

The past few weeks has definitely brought my cousins and I a bit closer. It was fun to watch my uncle’s first wedding video and spot out different people and try on grandma’s costume jewelry. One of my grandmother’s most fascinating possessions was her antique penny shooter bank.

the penny shooter, grandma helen, jen darling

This guy is guaranteed entertainment for small children and grown ups alike. I don’t remember the whole story, but it’s been passed down through the family for a while. I took some photos of his details to try and track down one similar, though I’m sure I could be hunting a lifetime. (Update: I just spotted this Teddy Roosevelt replica that is pretty similar, but not quite right.)

the penny shooter, grandma helen, jen darling

I had to play with it one last time (he’s going to live with one of my uncles). You load a coin onto the gun, press his right foot, and he shoots it into the tree. Any coin will work. Underneath the tree trunk is a cover that you can open up and empty out your loot. I found lots of pennies from the 1970s, some coins from Canada, and a few other bits and bobs, so no one has bothered to give him new change for a few years. Pretty ingenious for a piggy bank.

Do you have any old family items like this that inspired you as a child?

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