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Down and out in a department store.

Updated on May 6, 2012

Bad morning

John woke up at six in the morning. He went into the bathroom to find that once again there was no hot water. Oh well he thought "the boiler must be out again. That is what happens in old rundown apartments. At least God has blessed me with a roof over my head."

He filled a pot with cold water, and placed it on the hot plate. The stove had been broken for months. The slum lord that owned the building told him "you don't get new stoves for rent this cheep".

So he climbed back under the warm covers to wait for the water to heat.

After cleaning up as well as he could with the pan of hot water. He dressed in one of his two remaining worn out suites, And walked down the four flights of stairs to his 25-year-old Chevy.

Some joker had removed the air from all four tires on the old rusted car. After a moment of anger .He thought "God has blessed me with a nice day and a bicycle.So at least I can get to work".

After retrieving his old beat up bike from his apartment he finally started the two-mile ride to work.

As John approached the rear of the old department store. He noticed an old man standing near the employee entrance. He watched the man with curiosity. The old gentleman was well dressed ,well-groomed ,and looked well to do.He had short white hair and closely trimmed white beard , And twinkling blue eyes.

As John approached the man stepped forward and asked"Do you have a dollar for an old man in need?"

John opened his wallet to see he had only two dollars left. He handed both to the man saying" This is all I have you can take it if it will help". The old man accepted the two one dollar bills then handed one back saying" I only need one thanks".


As John was heading to the door to enter the building. The old man said "wait." He reached into a pocket and pulled out a small silver necklace that he handed to John saying "Here I do not take a strangers money for nothing". John looked at the necklace and told the old man. " That should be worth far more than a dollar. You should take it to the pawn shop ." The old man smiled and said " I think it will help you more than me. Please take it." With that the old man turned and walked away. Leaving John at a loss for words.

Like most mornings , John was the first to arrive . As he started the morning coffee in the break room, He thought God has blessed me with a job that is more than many of my friends have right now. He took a closer look at the necklace, And noticed the initials J.K. inscribed on the back.

He thought "I should put this on so I do not lose it."

It was another day like many before at the store. He was paid a small salary along with commissions on sales made. Lately sales were few and far between.

At the end of his shift he headed home. Upon arriving at the apartment, he found a notice on the door stating "This building has been sold . All residents have thirty days to vacate the premises ."

This was almost more than he could bear. He would not be able to find another place he could afford in 30 days. And forget saving the deposit needed for a new place.

He would have to live in his old rusted Chevy for a month or so.

John looked up at the sky with frustration and asked " Why god. I work hard love others thank you each day for my blessings. Why do I also need to lose my home?"


John had one credit card . He decided to walk down town and have dinner. The card was close to maxed out but what the heck.

As he walked along with his troubles bouncing around in his head, He was suddenly stopped by a large hand on his chest. He looked up into the stern eyes of a very large man who had stopped him. John noticed a very elderly woman exiting a limousine. If not for the man stopping him, he would have run over her.The woman looked at John her eyes level with his chest. Her eyes got very large and excited.

As John started to walk on saying he was sorry for the carelessness, the old woman called "please young man I must talk to you please stop."

He stopped and went back to the elderly woman saying "how can I help you, ma'am."

She was so excited, she almost knocked down the large body-guard as he tried to help her toward John.

The necklace she asked "where did you get it!" An old man gave it to me just today said John. Why?

"Can I see the back please" she asked . From the looks of the two large companions with her ,John felt it would be best to comply.

The woman's eyes filled with tears as she spoke. When I was a little girl my mother gave me this necklace it had been in our family for over 200 years. That was a few days before the German soldiers took her away to the camps. A few months later another German soldier took it from me. I never thought I would see it again. The man you got it from did you get his name?

Yes said John it was "Asener Bernstein." I would like to buy it please . I will give you $500,000 for it. Take it said John. If it was yours I have no right to it, so please take it.

No said the woman. If Asener gave it to you then I must buy it back, that must be what he wants me to do. You see he always told me he would find it for me some day." I don't understand said John." You wouldn't dear.

You see Asener is my husband of 59 years. He left this world about 2 months ago. He is resting in our family plot ,on the edge of town near the old department store.


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