depreciate

At least until 1965, Raymond and I were given pocket-money in the form of shillings and sixpences, silver coins which are now common only in antique shops, where they lie in open trays jumbled together with farthings with sparrows on them, ha’pennies, pennies, old yellow brass cents decorated with ox-wagons, half-cents, florins, half-crowns, crowns, and all the other coinage of my childhood. We were encouraged to learn the lesson of saving by the system of doubling up, and Jack opened a bank account in each of our names at the Standard Bank in Plein Street. We had locked savings boxes, into which we could deposit coins, or even notes, which may have come from a grandmother for Christmas or a birthday, and which was faithfully matched coin for coin, by Jack. The bank held the key to these boxes, and on Saturday mornings in the holidays that we spent with him, he would take us to Plein Street, where the boxes would be solemnly unlocked and the amounts duly entered in our savings books. During the 1960s, we built up quite a store of money in this way, and Jack put it all into an Old Mutual Unit Trust scheme that promised a high return. The Old Mutual, a highly respected and very large organisation, took our money and invested it (unwisely as it turned out) in the stock exchange and in various schemes that promised financial growth, but which did not grow. In the end we got back a lot less than we had put in. The lesson I learned from this was that trust in the capitalist world was, as I had suspected, a vanity.

__________

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