I believe I was six when I lost my first tooth. I don’t remember a lot about it except like the ones I lost after the first one, it became so loose I could twist it around in my mouth. If that happened to me as an adult I would freak out. I mean, your tooth hanging from a cord twisting around on your gum? Ew. Anyway, I messed with it and messed with it until it finally just fell out. Like the tidy person that I was and still am, I threw it away.
My uncle J heard about my tooth falling out. He asked me if the Tooth Fairy had picked it up. I’m sure I must have said, “Who?” or “What’s a Tooth Fairy?” No one had told me about the Tooth Fairy. Surely my parents knew my tooth was loose. Maybe they had forgotten to tell me? I don’t know, but Uncle J told me that if I put my tooth under my pillow at night, the Tooth Fairy would come in the night, take it, and leave money under my pillow.
A bit skeptical, I figured it was worth a try so I fished my tooth out of the trash, told my family about it, and stashed it securely under my pillow before I fell asleep that night. But not until I had touched it at least twenty times to make sure it was still there. I worried it might get lost during my sleep. Would the Tooth Fairy know about my tooth being there? Did he or she know where I lived?
Thrilled. I was beyond thrilled when I checked under my pillow in the morning. Not only had the Tooth Fairy found my house and my tooth, but there was a shiny Mercury dime in its place! Okay, a dime isn’t much nowadays, but back then, you could buy two candy bars at the school snack bar with a dime. Or you could save it and when you got a few more, you could buy a pretty darn good toy at the dime store. I suppose the dime store could be compared to today’s dollar store, but there’s nothing like the peculiar, wonderful smell of a dime store.
Occasionally while driving through a small town I will spy an old five-and-dime storefront, but the store itself usually has morphed into a more modern business. But back to the Mercury dime. I learned from my daddy that the dime had a picture of the mythical Mercury character known for his speedy delivery of messages. The only thing that interested me about the dime, though, was its purchasing power. I wish I had kept that old dime but at least I have the memory of my first visit from the Tooth Fairy.