Word Count: 496
By Peg Scarano
My husband and I have differing opinions on the definition of the word legacy. It is very
important to him to leave our children and grandchildren substantial financial means and the
assets of our home and property when we leave this earth. This is all well and good, but I’d like
my legacy to be a good upbringing which provides my girls the means to be independent,
confident and capable of taking care of themselves and their families. They have already cashed
in my legacy.
Rocco was brought up in a household where food was plentiful and they never lacked for the
necessities of everyday living. However, he and his siblings missed out on a lot of the little joys
of childhood. No one ever had a bicycle, skates, games or needless toys. When his older twin
brothers outgrew their clothes, Rock got them. He doesn’t remember his mom buying him a new
shirt or sweater. They each received one present at Christmas. His parents rarely went out to
dinner or on vacation alone or as a family. Their house was built by his dad and it was a
masterpiece of love and devotion. He was well-brought up and knew right from wrong. He
learned to be frugal.
When both his parents passed, their legacy was the beloved home his dad had built and each of
the four children received a respectful financial inheritance.
My parents, on the other hand, spent money before they earned it. My mom tried to rein in my
dad because she paid the bills. She did a fair job, but I know she struggled. As children, my
brother and I each had our own bicycle, skates, sleds, toboggans and we shared a bushel of board
games and frivolous toys. Every fall we went school shopping for new clothes and Christmas
looked like Santa’s workshop under our tree.
My parents went on extravagant vacations and went out for dinner two or three nights a week
with or without their children. We always had a shiny new car. Our house was modest and well-
cared for, but not until after my dad played his 18 holes of golf. In the winter, he hired someone
to shovel our driveway and sidewalks.
My dad passed away first and I held the power of attorney for my mom. She was sick for nearly
a year before she died. They owned no property at the time and with my brother’s blessing, my
daughter took over their ten-year-old car. After all the bills were settled, I called my brother to
say, “I have good news and bad news. What do you want to hear first?” He opted for the good
news. “All the bills are paid and there is money left for us!” He commented, “What could be the
bad news?” I murmured, “We get to split $80.”
Our legacy was a true testament to my parent’s way of life and our upbringing – we didn’t need