Grandpa DeMatties Fixed

“Thanks, Grandpa”: Our Ghost Story

So with the recent sighting of one of the Christ Church Ghosts (the Little Boy), it reminded me of a Christ Church Ghost Story of my own.

In life, my late grandfather was a man of many talents. He was the People’s Warden at Christ Church for many years, an avid carpentry hobbyist (if it something in the Church made of wood, he and the late Jack Newton probably repaired it at least once in their lifetimes), but above all his favorite hobby was Numismatics. He was a coin collector.

He had an entire room dedicated to his coins and stacks of them in his closet (so many that my Grandmother would joke that one day they’d fall through the floor and into the dining room). He would also, every year, buy the proof and uncirculated sets and give them to his grandchildren in the hopes that one of them would one day share his hobby.

Sadly, that hope was not immediately realized, and when he passed away, his entire collection was sold off and converted into a smaller number of pieces, safely locked away for the future.

My present interest in Numismatics came about when my Grandmother found a number of pieces from his collection that had been misplaced prior to the sale. In a gray parts container (he also used to be a part of the old family business, DeAngelis Buick) he ferreted away a number of interesting pieces. 3¢ Nickels, Morgan Dollars with character, Indian Head Pennies, even an old 8 Reals (a piece of eight) with a curious counter-stamp on it. These weren’t the most expensive pieces in his collection — he certainly had some that were worth quite a bit — but these were his favorites. It was this little neglected capsule that really struck up something within me, and that — along with what he had given me over the years — began my own serious collection.

So every year at Christ Church there is a tradition that at the All Saints Day service, we read the names of those we have lost the prior year.

Right around the time that Grandpa’s name was coming up in the list, our youngest daughter was getting fussy, so my wife took her outside to walk her around a bit with our eldest. The list continued on and finished, and eventually they  came back indoors.

However, my wife had a very astonished look on her face. Jokingly and in the spirit of the holiday I asked her if she had seen a ghost. She didn’t say anything in response except to open up her hand.

In it was an almost perfectly preserved 1915 Barber Dime.

She had found it lying in a crack in the side of the building, simply sitting there in the same shape as one would expect to find one in circulation in the early 1900s. Almost 100 years old, lost to time.

The next words that came out of my mouth, however, I’ll never forget:

“Thanks, Grandpa.”

-Steve

Leave a Reply