Good Fortune

My Ship Came In

My late father always joked he was waiting for his ship to come in. Good news. My ship has come in and it was filled with money. Let me explain.

As we get older, many of us have collected lots of “stuff.” I’ve often written about the late comedian George Carlin and his comedy routine about people’s obsession with holding on to items they will never use. He thought it amusing many of us have to rent storage lockers to keep all of our “stuff.” Well George, I got the last laugh.

Now I’m not talking about hoarding. At least I don’t think so. Being an academic, I liked to read newspapers cover-to-cover each day. I also subscribed to weekly magazines, and as part of my job, I had to read hundreds of books on the subjects I taught. For some reason, I hung on to a large number of these items. Again, I’m not talking hoarding.

Now, our storage locker did not look like this, but with some of our kids items sharing the space, much of it in cardboard boxes, the locker was getting a bit out of hand. Recently, for an entire week, wife Trisha and I went to our storage locker each morning for two hours. We carefully sorted through our “stuff” and gave much of it away, threw out a large amount, and kept the things we wanted to store. We put those items in large labeled stackable plastic bins. Our storage is now a thing of organized beauty.

The fact is, in retirement, Trisha and I really try to do the things we wrote about in our book and talk about in public presentations. One aspect of successful aging we talk about is freeing our minds and environment of useless clutter. We realized we had reached the point of feeling a bit guilty about not living up to our own recommendation. At least not 100%. 

Now to the part about my ship coming in. For some reason while sorting through our storage, I kept out a number of boxes of books and magazines. I was convinced they might be worth something. We then discovered a large book store in a nearby town that bought old books and magazines. Eureka!

After years of lugging these things around, one more time I loaded the heavy boxes and we were off. When we arrived at the store, we found the designated area clearly marked. Our excitement began to grow. It took two trips with a rolling book truck from my SUV. The process was made very clear. They would look through the items and then call my name over the loud-speaker. At that point they would make me a “cash offer.” I became a little concerned about leaving the store with so much cash, but it was worth the risk. We were told we could look around the store while we waited, but I was too excited and grabbed a chair to watch them go through my treasures.

After an hour of their investigation, carefully going through every single magazine and book, my name was called. I approached the desk with giddy anticipation. “Mr. Parker,” said the young man. “Yes,” I replied. “Today, we can offer you $2.”   

At last dad, my ship came in. By the way. On the way out of the plaza, I bought Trisha a coffee latte. $2.38.

We laughed all the way home.

Warning: This Blog Could Make You Rich

Are you lucky?


I’m always amazed by the number of retired people who spend so much of their time gambling and looking for a pot of gold. But it’s not my place to judge. Retired folks have earned the right to spend their time any way they want to spend it.


To answer my own question, I’m very lucky. Not in gambling, but life in general. I grew up in a wonderful family with great parents and my personal life and family has continued to bring me great joy. 


Years ago, sometime back in the last century, I asked a young lady to marry me. In a moment of obvious confusion, she said yes. The night before the ceremony, my fiance and her parents, my parents and me, all went to dinner at a small Chinese restaurant. When dinner was finished I opened up my fortune cookie and the message said: “Your upcoming marriage will bring you great wealth.” I stuck the fortune in my wallet where it remained for many years. One day while at work, I took out my wallet to look for something. There was a picture of my wife and three children, and out popped the fortune with those prophetic words. I was thinking money back when I first read it, but years later I realized what it truly meant.  


Today, I’m actually talking money. Or maybe property or some other form of riches. Each year, millions and millions of dollars, property, etc., goes unclaimed. Years ago it was almost impossible to find out if you had a claim on such riches. In most states today, laws have been passed requiring businesses and financial institutions to submit their records to the state. Through the magic of computers we can easily determine if we have a pot of gold waiting for us.


Because most of my readers reside in California, I’m going to provide a link that will take only seconds to find out if you have any riches coming your way. Other readers should go to their state’s home page and look for the link to “unclaimed property.” It’s that easy. Although I wasn’t on the list, I did find a neighbor who was surprised when I told him he had about $500 coming.


By the way, if you do strike it rich, you know how to reach me. Good luck!

Click here: UCP Inquiry System