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Saturday, March 29, 2014

The joys of becoming a hundredaire

An old document brings more than the found money....

In its fifth season, our daughter got me to watch “Modern Family,” a television situation comedy, which despite winning Emmys is funny.

One of the keys is Ed O’Neill, who previously played the patriarch of the Bundy family on “Married With Children.”

In his new show, his character is married to a character played by Colombian model-actress Sofia Vergara, who is 26 years his junior. They are a delightful couple.

As our daughter said, you did well, Ed, you did well.

It is nice to see a lovable actor strike television gold twice. And he did do well. Vergara is a very funny lady and it is a good show.

But here in reality, life is different and the money is smaller. One of my sisters, in her retirement quest for more money, discovered that my wife and I have some money being held in unclaimed property by the treasurer of the state of Ohio.

Because of privacy rules, my sister did not know what it was for or how much this mysterious pot of gold was worth.

But she gave me the web address so I could look it up online. I was too busy with my fantasy football team to bother with it. How much could it be?

I made the mistake of telling my wife about the money. She said I should look it up, which I did.

All the web site said was the amount of money was bigger than a breadbox, if by breadbox you mean $100. Finally after 36 years of marriage, our dream of being hundredaires would be realized.
We laughed. She decided, oh, what the heck, check it out.

The state treasurer of the state of Ohio duly mailed me a form informing me that I was entitled to $350 from a rental insurance policy from our first apartment in Berea, Ohio.

All I had to do was prove that my wife and I lived in Berea, Ohio, 36 years ago.

Good luck with that.

Time went by. I placed the application form somewhere in the house and turned to my attention to my fantasy basketball team.

In football, I finished second out of 12 teams despite a very weak beginning.

What with all these dreams of riches, it was difficult to concentrate, right?

Then came the Ides of March weekend, when I decided to file our income tax returns.

Old school. Pen and calculator. No itemized deductions. Straight W-2s and interest from the credit union.

My wife double checked the figures and signed the forms.

Then she asked about the $350 in unclaimed property. Had I filed the claim?


I’ll do it, she said.

I excused my laziness as a division of labor. After all, I had just done the taxes.

Besides, my fantasy baseball league was drafting that very afternoon.

As she took over, I knew she would never be able to prove to the treasurer of the state of Ohio that we lived in Berea, Ohio, in 1978.

But she did.

She found the mortgagee’s copy of our application for a GI Bill-backed mortgage from The Galbreath Mortgage Co.

Ah, the house on West 137th in Cleveland, off Puritan Road.

We had paid $28,500 for a three-bedroom house with a 30-year mortgage at 9.5 percent interest. As I was going through college on the GI Bill, this was my “student loan.”

As I looked at the thin piece of paper a thicket of memories rushed back.

Every one included her.

She kept the paperwork. I wouldn’t have. But I kept the memories and I revisit that home regularly in my dreams.

It was the first home of our daughter. We would live there less than three years before heading to West Virginia, but they were good years because they were spent with my wife.

I needed to notarize the application and I brought the paperwork to work, OK, I showed it off. Several office mates, who were impressed by my wife’s clerical abilities.

Philip Maramba, our managing editor, said, “You did well.”

I did.

Better than Ed O’Neill.


  1. Mrs. Scorekeeper is a keeper, in more than one meaning. (Lucky man!)

  2. A couple of months ago my mother got a letter from an insurance company telling her that my grandfather had bought a life insurance policy on my father in 1926. My father died at age 85. The $47 was an intergenerational love letter.

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  4. It is out of such wonderful small victories that a rich life is made.

  5. My wife loves to look up the escheat roles in California. She's found stuff for us, for my brother and sister in law, for her brother and sister in law etc. Deputy Dawg has nothing on her. I've learned to keep out of her way. But I love her.

  6. I found some money from the Indiana Fund for my 83 year old mother in law a few years back...An old forgotten insurance policy on her father from the 1940s...enough money that she was able to buy her first iPad. It was an event which completely transformed and expanded her world.

  7. What a great story! "Simple" things are not as simple as they seem.

  8. Don I didn't know you were back to blogging until I clicked on the insta-link. I have missed your blog and am happy that I found it again.


    1. Missed you too. Doing this weekdays with the Daily Scoreboard. This was a special column

  9. Puritas Road. His memory is slipping.

    1. Yes, Puritas Road. It was still brick in part 1978-1981. Worked at Phoenix Dye Works on West 150th

  10. My dad was working at NASA (I still call it Lewis Research Center) from 64 to 71 while we lived on West 193rd, near where Puritas Road went down into the park. I went to Saint Patrick's until we moved out of the county to Medina County.