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Locals save for anything from candy to multiple vacations

Staff writer

Waste it, save it, lose it, or bank it, loose change has great power — purchasing power — and with great power comes great responsibility.

Depending on who’s collecting it, that power can lead to realizing a dream, a curious purchase, or a gift of brotherly love.

Keeper of the coins

When Marion’s 9-year-old Cheyenne Sawyer was but a wee 3-year-old, she dreamed of visiting Disneyland in California.

Instead of endlessly nagging her parents, Stacey and Tabitha Sawyer, as some tots tend to do, she started saving coins at home in a decorative dish she made in art class at school.

She found loose change in between couch cushions, on the street, in vending machines, and other places coins tend to congregate.

“She’s always looking for little jobs, but due to her age and size, it’s difficult for her to find jobs that pay,” Tabitha said.

Cheyenne soon ran out of space in her handmade dish and upgraded to a five-gallon water jug bank.

“She doesn’t pass up any penny on the street,” Tabitha said.

Cheyenne often found change at the basketball court in Central Park while playing basketball with her dad, Tabitha said.

“People get to bouncing around and change falls out of their pockets,” she said. “Cheyenne really did find a lot of change there.”

Being avid Disney fans, the entire Sawyer family began contributing to Cheyenne’s dream.

“The Tooth Fairy helped too,” Cheyenne said.

Tabitha said Cheyenne would collect tooth fairy and birthday money from her older siblings, Rebecca and David.

“I’d say, ‘You wanna go to Disneyland don’t you?’” Cheyenne said.

It was hard for her siblings and parents to resist. Soon Cheyenne had her mother emptying out her purse to collect loose change.

Whenever the family found change, they gave it to Cheyenne. In a sense, Cheyenne became the family’s keeper of the coins.

“It just kind of became a habit for us,” Tabitha said. “Everything adds up.

“My grandpa always said ‘find a penny, pick it up, and all the day you’ll have good luck.’ But he said you always had to pass it on to someone else for the luck part to work.”

By the time Cheyenne was 7, she had amassed over $1,000 in change. She said the jug was too heavy to carry, but she called the whole experience “fun and long.”

Her mom and dad helped her pay for the rest of their 2013 trip, which Cheyenne called “awesome.” She even found a few coins while they were at Disneyland.

Cheyenne recently started saving again — this time for two family trips. So far, she has saved about $27.66 for a trip to see Cinderella’s castle at Disney World in Florida.

“I also want to see the hula dancers do their dance with fire in Hawaii,” Cheyenne said.

Penny windfall

When Lincolnville resident Christian Czarnowsky was a teen-ager, he inherited almost 5,000 pennies from his step-grandfather.

“Of all the things to leave a 15-year-old boy, I got the pennies,” Czarnowsky said. “Most of them were rolled when I got them. The rest I counted and rolled myself.”

When his task was complete, he had nearly $50 in pennies, which at the time was a small fortune for a 15-year-old.

“I knew that this could be a full tank of gas, or a new video game,” he said.

However, he did what he said any boy his age would have done with the pennies.

“I bought Mountain Dew and Snickers bars at the local Casey’s — all of the Dew and Snickers,” he said. “In the end, it came out to 15 one-liter bottles of Mountain Dew, 10 regular-sized Snickers, and one really bad tummy ache.”

Brotherly love

Joe Vinduska of Lincolnville said he once took advantage of his brother’s interest in collecting coins.

“Back when gas was 25 cents a gallon, I’m telling my age here, I bought $2 worth of gas for my car with nickels from my little brothers old nickel collection,” he said.

Vinduska said he took them from the back of a book where his brother kept them.

“How was I to know that’s where all the really old ones were?” Vinduska said. “Besides, he got to ride in my car. He also had a lot of nickels.”

His brother still gets a little “uppity” about the incident at times, he said.

“Little brothers are like that,” Vinduska said. “Oh, I did pay him back. I gave him two paper dollars. Some people are never happy.”

Last modified Feb. 3, 2016

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