Tuesday, February 28, 2006

My Precious

Turns out I have a knipple, and I didn't even know it.

I'm skimming around in Liz Perle's new book, Money, A Memoir: Women, Emotions and Cash. Page 22, the author's grandmother presents her with a reticule, a small purse that can be hidden in one's clothes:

"My grandmother went over to her pocketbook ... She removed a $20 bill, folded it twice, and stuck it into the bizarre purse, which she then handed to me.

"'This is the beginning of your knipple,' she said, pronouncing the alien word kah-nipple. 'It's a woman's private stash. Every woman needs money of her own that her husband knows nothing about. So she can do what she wants. What she needs. Remember that.'"

I fell through the page to a day long ago, when my own grandmother took me into her bedroom and presented me with the same advice and two small gold coins, with a warning: "Keep these safe. Keep them hidden. Tell no one you have them."

Like the author, I never forgot the sense of intrigue and danger. To this day, I have those secret talismans, safe and hidden. To this day, they color my feelings about money. I do not know whether their power is for good or ill.

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