I hold the silver dollar in my hand. The year embossed on it is 1928, a full 47 years before my birth.
The man who handed it to me is Alex, from the Ukraine. He tells me a story about the depression in the Ukraine and how the Jewish storekeepers would only accept silver, since paper money was worthless. It’s why, to this day, he carries around five silver dollars in his wallet, a simple black billfold wrapped in a white handkerchief.
He talks of entertainment in the 1950s. The village in the Ukraine had nothing in terms of entertainment, but did have one phone line shared among six households. So when the phone rang, everyone picked up and just listened in on the conversation.
“There were no secrets in the village,” he tells me this as a dry fact.
He feels sorry for young people, inheriting the world that they live in. Things were better when he was growing up.
He has no need for a computer, he’s 88 years old. In two years he’ll be 90 and what is there to do anyway for a 90 year old on the internet? What’s so interesting that he can’t read about it later in the paper?
We talk for a while and then he walks off. I haven’t been in to Whole Foods for breakfast for a while, but Alex’s words still stick with me.