While we struggled to make ends meet, my husband once told me that it would be nice to see our name next to the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” and “William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.”
He was a dreamer and sometimes generous to a fault. More benevolent he acted, stingier I turned.
I never met his father but was told that he was a great scientist and idealist. When he passed away in a rented apartment with a few hundred dollars in the bank account, he owned the stock of a chemical company, which he and another doctor had started.
He willed half of his holdings to a scholarship foundation in memory of his daughter and the rest of the shares distributed to relatives and friends.
My husband, upon receiving his shares, immediately sold and got enough cash to buy a car.
My mother-in-law held onto hers and ended up with a nice chunk of change to supplement her retirement income.
One day, my husband received two large envelopes filled with thank-you cards from the recipients of the scholarship. Though my husband had nothing to do with the foundation, he had the same name as his father, and they found out where he lived.
A financial statement of the fund soon followed.
My eyes widened when he showed me the graph.
“1.5 million dollars!? 1.5 million dollars!? 1.5 million dollars…”
They apparently held onto their shares. The foundation started with 1.5 million dollars’ worth of bequest.
“If only you had been a better son…”
My husband laughed at my reaction.
A letter from the dean and the invitation to the graduation soon appeared. My husband was too sick to go but wanted to thank her.
He never did.
A few months after my husband passed, another letter from the dean arrived. I wrote her back thanking her on behalf of my late husband.
Not long after I sent that letter, another envelope addressed to him was in our mailbox. I don’t know why, but I became extremely upset and e-mailed them requesting to cease any correspondence addressed to him.
I haven’t heard from them since and live up to my reputation of being a penny-pinching, ungenerous wife.