The Cambrian

Lady Tie Di: When the only inheritance is to teach your children well

I often think about how nice it would be to own my own piece of property. Don’t have to worry about moving unless I want to, can add or subtract from it at will, an investment. Then I realize, I’ve been renting the same house for so long, painted, planted and improved to my heart’s content. Not to mention basically almost paid for it for the owners.

That aside (while not having the tax relief either), I haven’t had to put out the big bucks for big repairs, insurance, etc. Not to mention, with the economy as it is, I don’t have the threat of feeling like I’ve “lost” anything were it to happen that I had to move for economic reasons. I kinda like to maintain some of my original footloose and fancy-free spirit, ready to venture out at a moment’s notice.

My friend and I were talking this morning about the subject of money. I heard some financial mucky muck say years ago that “you shouldn’t put your money into your kids’ college fund. There are always ways to pay for an education (I’ve got that part down right …). Put your bucks into your own retirement fund because that is far more unsure (well…).”

That lead to discussion of the inheritances that we would or wouldn’t get, which lead to what we’d leave our kids. “I do wish I had something to pass onto my kids, but heck, my parents both died destitute, so I didn’t exactly inherit anything either” — except my good sense and a lot of love, for which I’m thankful.

No, I don’t own anything, have no savings, and am firmly in debt (not scary, but firmly). Like so much of the rest of the country. “Heck, with all the latest economic woes of the last two years, a lot of people don’t have anything to leave their kids. I’m just sayin’ my kids are going to have to figure it out on their own,” she pointed out.

When I awoke this morning to NPR on the clock radio, there happened to be a fellow speaking on the same subject. “My father,” he said, “made it known I wasn’t getting anything. Would I change anything? No.” Of course, he did go on to say something about the millions of dollars he did receive from someone (hey, I was just waking up). Did that color his statement?

I answered that with a question to myself. Would I change anything I’ve done for the last 24 years (kid time)? No. I have chosen the lifestyle I have so that I could be involved in my children’s lives as much as possible. I have chosen to live in a community that while too expensive, really, for a person of my means, is supportive, creative, beautiful and caring.

What do I have to leave my kids? When my older son came home recently for a wink-of-an-eye visit, he told me outright how glad he was to have grown up here. “You know, it wouldn’t be right if you weren’t to walk down the street and speak to a dozen people over the course of two minutes. It’s so pretty here. And, I learned a lot of important stuff.”

I tried not to cry outright.

E-mail Lady Tie Di, aka Dianne Brooke, a member of the Coast Unified School District Board of Trustees, at tiedi@att . net, or visit her Web site at