Sentimental Sunday: Grandpa’s Wallet

In the late 90’s I spent some time in the basement of my father’s house looking through an old metal file box that had belonged to my grandma (Ida Jaeger O’Connell). There were many items in the file box that are worthy of discussion. But, the one that touched me the most is grandpa’s (A. Larry O’Connell) wallet. It was made of a hard plastic and when I held it,  I could feel the past with in. The past of a poor man, who loved his family. The only items remaining in the wallet were pictures of his daughter and a few of the grandchildren.

What really touched me was that grandma saved his wallet. One can only assume it was for sentimental value. It was obviously not worth anything.

As I held his wallet, I thought about many things. But one thing that I really thought about was how far our family has come. Grandpa never owned land, he  always lived in apartments or with other family members. When he died, my dad purchased his first home, it was a two flat. An apartment for us and one for grandma upstairs. Convenient babysitter upstairs and he was close enough to help her with what she needed. From that house, we moved to a single family home that had room for all of us. The family moved a few more times, always to a bigger home. When I think of the house dad lives in know, I wonder if his parents would be proud of how he changed the life of our family?



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  1. Nice post. Just wanted to share that perhaps the wallet thing gets passed on in families. In mine, the wallet seems to be the one thing that gets kept after everyone passes. And, like your grandfather’s, ours seem to all be left intact, with pictures, ID cards, etc. I recently took a few pics out of my grandmother’s wallet to scan them, and I felt as if I’d violated some kind of …. something!. I got those those photos back in place as quickly as possible! LOL.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂


    1. Renate,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I took a picture out that my Aunt had wanted, it was of her and in her Grandmother’s backyard. I completely felt like I was violating my grandfather, he had died about 20 years earlier.

  2. I thought of you yesterday as I transferred posts from my “Portals to the Past” blog to my new second blog “Irish Mason Musings & Meanderings”. I got a few transferred over and the last one I did last night was “My Daddy’s Wallet”. You had left a comment. I’m so glad you decided to share your story! I wish I had grown up in a family that handed things down. For many reasons nothing got passed down to us – until I was able to receive so many of my dad’s things. Wallets do seem to be pretty special. 🙂 Hope you’ll check out the new blog since I’m separating out a lot of the non River Portal stories and putting them in this new blog where I can expand on more subjects. 🙂 Thanks again!

    1. I am so glad you got everything sorted out for your blog. I definitely will be stopping by to check them both out.
      How funny that I left a comment on you blog about the same subject of Grandpa’s wallet!

  3. My grandmother also kept my grandfathers wallet. Sadly, I don’t know what became of it either. I was digging items out of the trash after grandma died. My mom and her sister didn’t see the point of keeping “all this junk”. I’m so happy you have such a treasure in your family. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Lisa,

    I have to confess that I believe the family has lost the file box that had become the home to this wallet. Last I heard, my Dad could not find it. I do hope that it reappears in the future.

    A lesson for all of us, this shows the oddest of items do become sentimental to others.

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