Growing up, my grandparents always sent a check for my birthday. It was for my college fund and I remember my father always taking the check from the card and setting it in a safe place in his office, to be deposited in my own account at the bank, along with all the other checks I’d gotten from them.
When I went off to college at eighteen, my father handed over half of that money to me. The other half, he told me, was in a mutual fund, which I would get when I turned twenty-five. My grandparents weren’t rich, so the money went to buy textbooks and not much else. (I still have the textbooks, by the way.)
I spent the next four years of college having a grand time–finding myself, discovering my passions, and meeting my true love. (Yes, I met my husband in college. Yes, it involves science.) I didn’t think much about the rest of that money, sitting there in the stock market.
My love of reading is genetic. My grandmother was a school librarian and always had stacks of books sitting around, which she never forbade us from going through. She enjoyed romance and women’s fiction and stories like that. Things that others might turn their noses up at, but she enjoyed them. She was also the keeper of the family history, carefully saving birth certificates, baptismal records, photos, and stories to pass on to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
The stories I write would never have been possible without the things she saved. And that little bit that she set aside for me.
Today, I called the company that manages my mutual fund, started all those years ago, and I told them I wanted to close the account. The gentleman helping me was very nice and asked what I would be using the money for.
“I’m going to publish my books,” I told him.
“Well,” he said, “I hope I see your books someday and remember that I helped you with this today.”
I told him I hoped he did too.
And when I finally have a physical copy of one of my books in my hand, I’ll take it to my grandmother and explain how everything she set aside, everything she saved for me, the little and the big, led to this.