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It Stood for Opportunity

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To other people the house may appear to be an eyesore. More than likely no one had touched an inch of this place since the 30s, save for installing makeshift indoor plumbing in a small, broom-closet-sized bathroom. But those people didn't see the house through Florida's eyes.

Of course, she had a vision of it all mended and painted and updated with the latest appliances and accessories. She and Thelma had spent days poring through decorating magazines, picking their dream furnishings complete with matching wall-to-wall carpeting. But when Florida looked at the house, she saw more than its current bones or its future beauty.

In her eyes this house stood for opportunity, for new beginnings they'd fought long and hard to achieve. She saw a good school district with teachers that cared and believed in their students, and Michael's brain expanding beyond all measure in an environment that would nurture his potential. She saw college tuition for Thelma and art school fees for J.J., a reliable car for James and a short commute so they could spend more time together.

Florida knew people wondered why they bought this house. As Wilona said, if you win the lottery the sky's the limit. But the most important thing Florida saw when she looked at their new yet modest home with the peeling paint and the missing shingles, what made this house more special than any other, was the first real savings account she and James had ever had. Money set aside in more than just a shoebox under the bed, money that would see them through lean years and bad luck, money that would secure a good future for their children.

To be sure, they were going to spend some of their winnings on fixing the place up, turning it into the jewel only they could see beneath the rough façade. And they'd already purchased special things for each other, items they once could only dream of owning, what had merely been the stuff of window shopping rather than reality. But the bulk of their lottery win now sat in the bank, earning interest for their pockets and pride for their souls.