Tossing pennies over the left shoulder into the Trevi Fountain and staving off nosebleeds
Growing up in Puerto Rican Household, I had a funny relationship with pennies. Yes, pennies. See, if I found a penny on the sidewalk, I was to take that as a sign of good luck. Also, if I had a bloody nose, I was to take a penny and place it on my forehead. According to my mother, pennies had some magical power to make the bleeding go away. Of course, if that didn’t work, I was to place a red thread on my forehead. Apparently, the forehead holds great control over the nose. Pennies, in my household, held true currency value. We would gather them up and exchange them for dollar bills. If my mom were alive today she would be mortified at the talk of getting rid of the penny from our currency system.
From a young age I was a pop culture junkie. Television gave me a window onto a whole other world that I came to appreciate. As such films gave me a whole new understanding of the power of the penny. One day, I watched the film Dolce Vita by Fellini starring Anita Eckberg. Movies such as those told me that if one places a penny in a fountain a wish may come true. In particular the grand Trevi Fountain as featured in the Dolce Vita. We had no such fountains in my neighborhood. That, my friends, was a thing of the movies. The closest thing we came to it was when we opened up the fire hydrants and kids ran through the spraying water. If any pennies came out of people’s pockets when running through the spraying water, it became a free for all to take. No one threw coins into the water. When I watched the Dolce Vita, I knew that one day I just had to make my own way to Trevi Fountain.
Last year I was able to accomplish that very goal, while simultaneously introducing my son to the concept of tossing coins for a wish. We went to Rome last year during holy week which meant the streets of Rome were immensely packed. We made our way to the Trevi Fountain and my son’s eyes were filled with awe. He just loved standing in front of the immense structure watching everyone giggle and throw coins into the fountain. He must have thrown in about ten coins. He couldn’t quite articulate what he wished for. My guess was that he wished for pizza, a hotel with a pool and some toys. If that is the case, his wishes came true a hundred times over.
While he was running around and starting conversations with random strangers -as much as a conversation consists of “hi my name is Luka, L. U.K. A”- I decided to toss a couple of pennies into the fountain. I always have pennies on me because you never know when they can come in handy for a nose bleed and the like. I went ahead and threw a couple of pennies with my right hand over my left shoulder into the Trevi Fountain. It is sort of like how you have to throw salt over your left shoulder if you spill salt in order to cast away bad luck.
I threw in two pennies and thus I made two wishes. First, I wished for my family to continue these world travels in order to continue to understand the world. Of course, included in that grand wish is a desire to return to Rome someday. Second, I wished for my mother to be able to know somehow that made it to the grand fountain of all penny throwing. She would have loved tossing a penny therein. Just by tossing a penny into the fountain, meant in my superstitious mind, that nosebleeds would be much less frequent thereafter. And it worked! Of course, I really haven’t had a nosebleed in over decade. Either way, the penny toss had grand meaning to me and my belief system.
I am given to understand that part of the Trevi Fountain is replicated at the Italy Pavilion at Epcot Center in Walt Disney World. Perhaps one day we will make our way there as well and wish upon a penny. My one wish is that the beloved (but oftentimes denigrated) penny sticks around for a long time more.
Inspired in by the Daily Prompt of: three coins in the fountain