Peter’s attitude toward money

My memories were stimulated yesterday (by some unrelated comment) of the first day of my arrival to visit Peter in NYC in 1964, (the year of the World’s Fair there, which Peter later sent me off to, alone for the day).

I had finally found my way to his apartment, having taken the bus all the way from Tacoma, (about a 3+ day trip as I recall). I was 15, while Peter was a youthful 24 or so…

Anyway, I didn’t have very much money, but what I had on me was placed on the bed in the front room (which was to be my sleeping place for two months). I remember thinking how little it was, probably less than $5, mostly in change, but that since Peter was putting me up for that summer, I offered it all to him.

There was little money that summer. Peter said he was “translating Russian math texts” or something and he pounded away at a manual typewriter a lot. I think he longshored a couple times, as well.

Surprisingly, therefore, at one point, Peter swept all this change toward the wall, and under the bed, where it remained until nearly the day of my impending departure.

I had nearly forgotten this incident, not having thought of it for years and years, but it really was indicative of how Peter felt about money, don’t you think? He was always very generous, but didn’t really think about savings or investments, but rather, how many books he could buy.

I once went into a store to buy some food with him and he discovered he only had a little money. He bought a cheese slicer and proudly took it home and announced how much he liked it; that he had always wanted one. Of course, on that occasion, there was no cheese to cut. (I’m sure we didn’t go hungry for long!)

Thanks, Peter, for a memorable summer!

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