Port Steven, ALABAMA (TWP)
News spread quickly this week that Mona Richards, a Port Steven Middle School art teacher, had found two dimes in the bottom drawer of her desk. The riches immediately set Richards planning for her retirement.
“This twenty cents helps out a lot after all those thousands I spent getting my master’s degree,” said Richards. She added, “That master’s degree got me a salary increase of $53.27 a year over someone with a bachelor’s degree. With this twenty cents, I’m sure I can pay off that debt in eighteen years.”
Richards was looking for a loose tissue because her entire box had just been used up by a small child with a large nose and sinusitis when she discovered the dimes. At first, she didn’t recognize them for what they were, she said.
“I thought they were some sort of game token. My check is direct-deposited, and then after the student loan payment comes out, my son’s college tuition, the payment for the graduate school program, and some cash for Kleenex, pencils, paper, soap, and other supplies I have to buy for my classroom, I rarely see such riches.”
In the Port Steven Middle School teacher’s lounge, Richards was congratulated by her fellow teachers. John Bateman, a coach and history teacher, who said he had been saving up all year for a new pair of pants, said, “It’s not often we find anything useful in our desks. And she hit the mother lode!”
Other teachers noted how they wished they had been so lucky. Math teacher Renee Little said if she were Richards, she would quit her second job stocking vending machines at night throughout the county. “I’ve run my car so ragged, the floorboard’s falling out. I can see the highway underneath my right leg. A possum crawled up through there the other night and gave birth in my back seat.”
Richards said she did not have immediate plans for the two dimes, but thought she could now at least think of retiring when she was 69 instead of 72. When asked about the recent reports that the state teacher’s retirement system was going broke, Richards said, “They’re not getting my dimes!”
POSTSCRIPT: Just as this story was going to press, the paper got word that Richards’ two dimes had been stolen when she want to the bathroom between 5th and 6th hours.