The Penny

Below is a picture of a U.S. penny, minted in 1988 in Philadelphia, PA. Though outwardly just another ordinary one-cent piece, this particular coin has a special story…

On the morning of Monday, April 15, 2013, my brother was walking down bustling Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts. He spotted a lucky penny on the sidewalk, and casually picked it up and put it is his pocket. He continued up the street, making his way to Abe & Louie’s restaurant, where he was meeting friends near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, excited to cheer on a friend who was racing the historic course. After enjoying some food and drinks, my brother and his friends eventually exited the restaurant to join the throngs of other supporters lining Boylston Street, cheering and waving enthusiastically as each runner passed. Then, in an instant, everything changed…

Minutes later, a bomb exploded at the finish line. Unwary racers and spectators, family and friends fled the scene in chaos, both terrified and bewildered. A moment of joy and celebration degenerated to fear and anarchy without warning or reason, and the lives of those present would never be the same again.

Thankfully, my brother and his group of friends were incredibly fortunate to escape unharmed, while others around them were not. More than two and a half years later, he still hung on to the lucky penny he stumbled upon that fateful day.

A few weeks ago, on Christmas morning, I opened a gift from my brother – it was a small, hand-folded, white envelope… containing a penny. This not-so-ordinary penny was a gift of good fortune and safety during my upcoming travels abroad, and I could not imagine receiving anything more meaningful. Today, the penny sits carefully tucked away in my olive green backpack, where it will remain for the duration of this trip. The coin has already traveled over 10,000 miles, and I hope it continues to grace me with good fortune, as it did my brother, over all of my adventures.

The penny does New Zealand (Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park):

3 Responses

  • Such a touching story, Jenn. It brought tears to my eyes. I could visualize Jeff and all the other people in Boston that day. I know this penny will take good care of you and Stephan on your awesome journey. What a special gift from a great brother. We have been enjoying your written blog and all the pictures. Keep them coming. Much love, Aunt xoxo

  • Beautiful story and picture. Enjoy, oh lucky penny….. You’re in good hands! We will celebrate big time when all return to Swanzey, but in the meantime continue the joy the world brings you.

  • What an outstanding gift! I guess many people would think of an outstanding gift as a new car, a Rolex watch, a 4-carat diamond necklace, things that are faintly self-serving (look how much money I spent on you) and rather lacking in imagination or meaning. But…wow…your brother’s lucky penny from that awful day in Boston. Can’t get much more meaningful than that. How truly splendid. Yay, Jeff, for giving it to you. Yay, you, for recognizing it as the treasure it surely is. The photograph is…well…splendid!

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