A Penny A Piece

29 Oct

Today while I was collecting paper napkins from the den, in order to insert them back into the napkin holder resting on the kitchen table, I had a sudden flashback to a much earlier time, and my Grandmother.

Before I relate what the flashback was about, I must tell you why I was gathering napkins from the den. This is my most annoying and almost daily ritual. One I do while stomping and gritting my teeth.

I live with someone who is a paper napkin hoarder. Not any special brand of paper napkins. It could be Scotts, Vanity Fair, Kirkland, or the specialty Holiday napkins. Any brand will do. They might be dinner size, cocktail squares, or threefold as come in a diner holder.

This man who I live with must have a phobia about desperately needing a napkin, and not having one on hand. On most nights we have dinner in the den, therefore the holder, which is always stacked, is not within reach. Dinner napkins are carried in with plates, flatware, and glasses. Some how, probably when I am occupied at the stove, more napkins are secreted into the room. Clean napkins are then hidden behind pillows, under blankets, and in between cushions. I really can’t tell you what drives this hoarding, but it drives me bonkers.

This obsession is carried one step further. Anytime we attend an affair, the following day those monogrammed napkins are on his night stand. Could they be wedding favors and no one told me to take one myself? Why was I left out? As soon as I stumble across these weird mementos, they get tossed in the garbage along with the Wendy’s, Burger King, MacDonald, KFC, napkins. I am sure we will acquire more of those.

All this wasting and hoarding of paper napkins makes me crazy. Not that I have a long way to go, but it truly is one of my button pushers. This brings me back to my Grandma flashback.

When I was growing up money was really tight. What little there was Grandma had in her purse and she held the strings tightly in her worn fists. As you can imagine paper products such as napkins were an expensive luxury. We used linen or a mapine (dish towel). When we did have the paper variety in the house if you took one for anything other than dinner Grandma would take it out of your hand, shake it in front of your face, emphatically, to inform you they were ‘a penny a piece’. I don’t know where she got her figures from, but she said it and I believed her. This from a woman who when you asked her for a stick of gum, which she kept in that same purse, would generously take it out, rip it in half, and give you half. I one time did the same thing to a friend who is the same age as I. This when we were about fifty. He looked at me shocked and said no one had done that to him since his Grandmother.

I am a person who does a lot of silent analyzing of people’s behavior. After some time I’ve concluded that the man I live with grew up in a household which suffered a dearth of paper napkins. Now that he is an adult, has made his way successfully in the world, he feels as if he can have and use all the napkins he wants. I am of another mind.

Myself, I know what makes the world revolve on its axis. No waste. Napkins are, “A Penny A Piece”, my Grandma told me so.

** One hint that ABC news recently gave to help people budget in these tough economic times was to dispense with paper towels as this was something we could do without.


Posted by on October 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


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7 responses to “A Penny A Piece

  1. justasked

    October 29, 2011 at 3:22 am

    I’m sorry for your annoyance and bemusement by your situation/circumstances caused by living with a man with these behaviors but your post made me laugh and smile fondly–the tearing the gum in half trick is one my mother used to do as well. I too observe people’s behaviors and find that sometimes considering myself a student/reporter of these strange behaviors helps me cope with the annoyance. At least you have something to write about 😉 Thanks again for sharing.

  2. MsSopia

    October 29, 2011 at 3:39 am

    I am so pleased I made you smile. It gives me great joy to share my life, past and present.


    October 29, 2011 at 6:42 am

    A good one

  4. James

    October 29, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Once again you made me smile, and realized if you kept all those napkins, and put them in a box they could be worth $$$ one day, hey you never know, seen a lot of strange things in my life. So what do you have? well I have a collection of Napkins that go back 50 years, the first napkin comes from the famous Nathan’s Famous Coney Island, just feel that paper and texture, the 2nd napkin comes from the French Pavillion at the Worlds Fair in 1964, and I have another 80 from different periods. So how much do you think this collection is worth? A free Box of Napkins.

  5. Carol

    October 30, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Sopia, I laughed heartily at this one. You see I, too, live with a hoarder. But he doesn’t hoard something so pristine as clean napkins. No, my hoarder saves used paper towels. You see, you never know when you will need to use it again! Since paper towels are expensive, you must save them until they can no longer be used. So I do my own version of the hoarder stomp as I collect and discard used paper towels from the kitchen, den, and bedroom. Never mind that I have boxes of tissues in every room and every manner of sponge, wipe and towel known to mankind. We must only use–and reuse–paper towels. Thanks for the laugh and for letting me know I am not alone in hoarder Hell!

    • MsSopia

      November 1, 2011 at 12:53 am

      Carol, I love when you laugh hard!!

  6. richard romano

    November 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    A napkin a day keeps the marriage at bay.
    best Richar


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