My mom kept getting these mysterious privacy notices from a local insurance giant, once a year. She didn’t know what it was about. There was no policy number and no financial amount stated. My mom was mystified, although her mother did work for that well-known local insurance giant her whole life.

My husband set her up with our insurance agent to try to get to the bottom of it. Yesterday, we met in his office and called. Turns out that my grandmother did, indeed, purchase two insurance policies in my mother’s name.

She bought one in 1933 and one in 1947.

You should have heard the young clerk’s voice choke at the longevity of those policies. She told us she was born in 1994. What a contrast!

The bad news is, the policies were both tiny. Because my mom is in her 80s, the policies are close to their cash value, a total of $1,500.

But it’s better than a kick in the pants! Money you didn’t know about is always the sweetest surprise.

And it was a lovely reminder of how practical and caring my grandmother really was. Certainly a young wife and mother could have found a thousand other uses for excess cash in the heart of the Great Depression. But because so many people were so poor they couldn’t even afford to give their loved ones a proper burial, Grammie wanted to make sure that if anything ever happened to her daughter, regardless of what the family’s finances were like, the funeral expenses would be covered.

That’s the thing about financial hard times: they tend to make you more responsible, and to count every penny, which is a good thing.

An even better thing: now Mom has some mad money in her old age! Woo hoo!