Today’s Mail Bag Surprise
A couple of months ago, one of my Facebook friends posted about an unclaimed bank account that she had found. Bored on my couch, I googled “unclaimed funds new york” which brought me to a searchable database on the New York State Comptroller’s website. I searched my name(s) and all of my parent’s names. My last search term was my mom’s first married name, with my dad, Vera Horowitz. I almost forgot she had even gone by it, my parents divorced when I was 3.
Vera Horowitz was a hit. It listed my parent’s home that was sold soon after their divorce. I investigated how I could get the funds and quickly realized it would be a giant pain. I would have to prove my mother’s connection to the 20+ year old home and prove my relationship to my mother. Thankfully, my mother was incredibly organized and kept all of the paperwork from her divorce, which I still have. I made copies of everything and quickly forgot about it. The New York State Comptroller’s website states that the average amount recovered is $25. That’s what I expected.
Months went by, and today, I got a check. As I opened it I joked, out loud, to myself about how ballin’ the check would be. I was shocked to see that it was for:
This story is so illustrative of my parents and their legacies.
Two years ago, I found an abandoned checking account of my father’s that had my name as the primary account holder. Seth and I went down to the bank and closed the account and were handed a check for about $10. After looking at the account’s statements it became clear my father had opened the account to, in all likelihood, clean money he had made doing something illegal. He dabbled in thugging for the mafia and with drug dealing. Who knows what it was used for, but the money in the account he opened in my name certainly never made its way to me. When I found a similar abandoned account of my mother’s, it was flush with cash during a month that we were short. This isn’t the first time I’ve found money of my mother’s, either. Six months after she died, I found a safety deposit box with almost $10,000 in savings bonds. Those bonds paid for my portion of our wedding, a student loan, a summer in Israel and a summer in Cambodia. Four years ago, soon after I graduated Rutgers and drowning in a crushing amount of debt from moving from New Jersey to DC with nothing, I got a call from the branch manager at our local bank where I grew up. They found a CD in my mother’s name, with my name secondary on the account, with $5,000 in it. If these stories don’t perfectly capture who my parents were, nothing does.