As seen in the Dayton Daily News on February 25, 2017.
While walking through the grocery store years ago, I came upon a Wheaties box that featured the1990 Cincinnati Reds World Championship. I am not a big sports fan, but I knew how popular ‘The Big Red Machine’ was, so I bought it.
When I returned home, I carefully wrapped the cereal box in brown butcher paper and put it in the cabinet above our refrigerator for safekeeping. Nothing could happen to my prized cereal box because someday I was going to make a lot of money on it.
While the box was hidden away, we went on to have five children. Two of them were boys who showed an interest in baseball. I decided to keep my cereal box a secret until they were old enough to appreciate it.
Twenty-six years after wrapping the box in butcher paper, I summoned our boys to the kitchen for the big reveal. My oldest son slowly unwrapped the box and set it on the counter. They looked at the box and then at me. I said, “Look close, don’t you recognize those players?”
Both boys recognized a few of the names, but I could tell they were not stirred with emotion as I expected. In fact, after I told them how I preserved the box all these years, they burst out laughing.
One of my daughters rounded the corner and also heard the story. She was not interested in the cereal box either, but was mesmerized by the fact her mother kept this box for all these years. Since I donate our unneeded stuff fairly quickly, it was a mystery to her that I actually saved the box.
My three children erupted into laughter and made jokes about what else I might be hiding. As I left the room with the box tucked under one arm, I looked back and said, “I’ll show you. When I make a fortune selling this box, I’m not sharing any of the proceeds with the three of you.”
I immediately went to eBay and found the very same, unopened-pristine condition cereal box selling for $5.50 or best offer.
The joke was on me. My kids had no emotional connection to ‘The Big Red Machine’, and I could barely buy lunch with the profits from my investment.
Keeping the box all those years was not a big deal. It was never in the way and mostly forgotten about. Getting rid of the box was the problem. I couldn’t just throw it away because I felt like someone out in the world would appreciate having it.
I contacted friends to see if they had interest. No one did. I carried it around to different functions I attended. Some people reminisced about the team, but no one took it home. I listed it on Craigslist under sports memorabilia. Not a single call. In the end, I made a special trip to a nearby antique mall and handed it to the cashier saying, “Please give this to anyone who would like it.”
If you’re holding on to something because you think it might be worth a lot of money, I suggest you dig it out and find out the real value.
Hopefully, you’ll get more than a couple of laughs for it.