A woman who raised her grandson after his parents died finds herself bankrupt after paying for his education. One day, she unexpectedly finds a huge sum in her account.
Dorothy Perkins suffered the second brutal loss of her life within the space of six months when she was 49. First, her husband passed away, a victim of cancer. Six months later, her son and his wife were killed in a head-on collision while on their way to pick up their four-year-old from kindergarten.
Dorothy was left with no one but little Jimmy. He was all she had.
It wasn’t easy. Dorothy had to ´reset’ from grandmother to mother. She could no longer indulge Jimmy like a doting granny, she had to reinvent herself as an educator.
She was now responsible for Jimmy. She immediately started putting money away for Jimmy’s education. Her sole focus was now her little grandson.
She immediately started looking for the best school, and it turned out to be a very expensive private one. Nevertheless, Dorothy was determined that was where Jimmy was going.
Even when faced with unbearable loss, family gives us a reason for living.
Jimmy was a bright, loving little boy. He was young, and even though he missed his parents terribly, he adapted and life went on. No matter what our losses are, we have to face the future and that is what Dorothy did.
Jimmy was growing up so fast! Soon he was ten, twelve, fifteen… But one thing didn’t change and that was his devotion to Granma Dolly, as he called Dorothy.
Jimmy grew into a fine boy — a brilliant student and a gifted athlete — and was on his way to becoming a good man his parents would have been proud of.
Then Jimmy finished high school and college loomed. Granma Dolly looked through the literature provided by the universities Jimmy had applied to and blanched. Even with a scholarship, it would cost a fortune!
But Jimmy had been accepted to Yale on a partial athletics scholarship, and Dorothy was determined he would go. She refused to allow Jimmy to contract student loans that would dog him for the rest of his life, so she drew on her pension fund, and on her savings, and borrowed money from the bank.
By the time Jimmy graduated Magna Cum Laude, Dorothy was broke. That meant that she had to carry on working long after she should have retired. Her friends flew off to Europe or Asia, and took cruises around the world, but not Dorothy.
But she had no regrets. She had her beautiful boy! Not that he was a boy anymore! Jimmy was now 29, a successful lawyer and associate at a prestigious law firm on the way to making partner. Jimmy and Grandma Dolly were as close as ever and every Sunday he came for dinner.
Dorothy was a week away from her 75th birthday when she realized that she could no longer keep up with the payments on her loans. She would have to file for bankruptcy, and that meant that she would probably lose her home.
Dorothy hid her situation from Jimmy. She didn’t want him to know what his success had cost her. She decided she’d have one last celebration at her beloved home, the home where she’d lived with her husband and watched her son grow up. She invited Jimmy and his girlfriend, Rita, for her birthday dinner.
She was surprised when Jimmy arrived alone, carrying a bouquet of roses for her. “Honey, where is Rita?” Dolly asked, surprised. She liked Rita.
Jimmy shrugged his shoulders and sighed. “We broke up,” he said.
“But…I just saw you two, two weeks ago!” Dolly exclaimed. “You were so in love!”
“Rita said…she said I was cheap,” Jimmy explained. “She said I never wanted to go out anywhere expensive, that I never… It doesn’t matter Grandma. It’s over.”
“Oh, honey,” Grandma Dolly sighed. “I’m so sorry…” She hugged Jimmy and led him into the dining room. She’d made him all his favorite dishes and baked a huge red velvet cake.
“Hey!” Jimmy cried. “It’s YOUR birthday, not mine!”
Dorothy smiled. “When I spoil you, I please myself!” she said and started dishing out the delicious roast potatoes.
The two were enjoying their dessert when the phone rang. It was one of Jimmy’s closest friends, Mark. “Jim, my man,” Dorothy heard Mark say. “Listen, I’m booking us a week down in Mexico to go fishing…”
“Wait up!” Jimmy said. “That sounds…when are you guys going?”
“Two months time — from the second to the ninth,” Mark said.
“Let me check my calendar,” Jimmy said, but Dorothy saw that he DIDN’T check his calendar. “Sorry, buddy, I have a conference in London that week. Maybe next time!”
After Jimmy hung up, Dorothy asked, “Jimmy, why did you lie to Mark?”
“I don’t like fishing, Grandma Dolly,” Jimmy said and started telling her a funny story about work. They had a lovely evening together, but the next day, it was time for Dorothy to face the music.
She drove down to the bank and asked to speak to the manager. “Mr. Durrel,” she said calmly. “I’m broke, and I won’t be able to make my loan payments this month.”
The manager quickly accessed Dorothy’s file on his computer. He frowned. “I’m afraid there must be some mistake, Mrs. Perkins!” he said.
“Your loans were all paid off yesterday,” he explained. “And your bank account shows a balance of $110,000!”
“That’s impossible!” cried Dorothy. “I owed over $200,000…”
“Yes you did,” the bank manager said. “But as I’ve explained, your debt was cleared.”
“But who..” Then Dorothy realized who had paid the loans and placed the money in her bank account: it was Jimmy!
That was why his girlfriend had thought he was cheap. That was why he’d refused to join his friends on an expensive vacation in Mexico! He had been saving up to clear her of debt and give back the money she’d spent on his education.
Dorothy went to Jimmy’s office and asked to see him. “What’s wrong, Grandma Dolly?” Jimmy asked, alarmed. “Is everything OK?”
“Oh you silly boy,” Dorothy cried, tears running down her cheeks. “You didn’t have to sacrifice yourself for me!”
Jimmy hugged her and said, “Sacrifice? I only did for you what you did for me long ago. You taught me that we put those we love first, and that is what I did.”
What can we learn from this story?
Even when faced with unbearable loss, family gives us a reason for living. Dorothy lost her son and her husband, but she devoted all her love and care to her grandson Jimmy.
Good people put those they love first. Jimmy followed Dorothy’s example and placed her well-being before his own pleasures.
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