Monday, January 5, 2009


My grandparents had a funny looking check book. It was a fold over, like a wallet. The register, where one writes the amount, date, and business to be credited, and a place to debit ones account and show a new balance, was attached to the check. Once the check was written, it was torn off along a perforated line. To close the check book, one folded it over and snapped it.

There were also counter checks available at all businesses. Each bank had their own pads of checks with the routing number on them. You just asked the check out person for a counter check. They were popular at liquor stores and bars so never mind taking the check book away from a person on a toot.

One could write in pencil, red ink, dip pens, or later, ball point pens.

Daddy had a business, therefore he had a book keeper. She had marvelous handwriting and wrote out the checks for him to sign. All of the business checks she prepared for signage where written in green ink. She lived in a green stucco house. If she lived in a blue house, would she have written in blue?

The check book was large. Business checks were bigger. They too, had the check and register side by side. The check pad was thick with, (as I remember), four checks to a page. Along the left edge was a series of holes to line up the documents; the cover was leather bound. Old Trunks would meet up with check ledgers like this while doing leasing for an owner of multiple companies. He expected the running balance to be up dated after each check was written.

Perhaps when you first married and had a common check book, you signed your name was Mrs. followed by your husband's name. Mother died until Daddy died, then switched to her own name.

A few years ago, we were at the cell phone store. Tom paid with a check. The check as processed on the spot. You got your purchase after the check cleared.

If my grand parents would have made an error in their balance, there was no over draft charges. You bought your checks.

Fast forward to the days of free checks and over draft protection. Fast forward to on line banking where you can check your own balance every day.

The days of writing a counter check in pencil are long gone. Will writing checks soon follow? Have we become a society of debit/credit cards? When we go to the market is it easier to swipe a card than write a check?

Would Mrs. B Ranum ever think when writing a check at Piggly Wiggly for groceries ever think it would come to this?


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