Updated date:

Passbook to Freedom, a Coming-of-Age Poem


Mark Tulin is an author who lives in California. He has four books of poetry and one short story collection, available on Amazon.


Mementos of Childhood

There's a lot of mementos of childhood that my mother kept in the hall closet of our house. There was the baseball glove that I played little league ball with, cub scout badges, report cards, and medical records stored in a cigar box.

One powerful keepsake was my first passbook from PSFS bank in which I entrusted the bank with my entire life's savings, which at the time was $1.50. It was an exciting and scary event. Banks can be intimidating to small children. There are a lot of adults wearing suits, a bulky security guard greeting you at the door with some degree of suspicion, and a mysterious bank vault with who knows how much money. Despite all these obstacles, I still handed the money over to the teller.

I share with you my experience of making my first bank deposit, Passbook of My Youth. Enjoy the poem and video.

Poem: Passbook to Freedom

I saved my first bankbook

as a memento from my youth.

The bank was PSFS

and the gracious teller

stood tall and authoritative,

proudly welcomed my fortune with open hands

into her vaults of wealth.

In a fleeting transaction,

with a slip and a pen attached to a chain,

I opened my first bank account

as if I enrolled in the Army.

I leafed through the mostly blank pages

of my passbook to freedom,

hoping to build on my future

as a successful investor.

Feeling grown and prosperous,

I calculated the interest

through the metrics of my mind.

On such and such a date,

Mark Tulin had deposited one-dollar and fifty-cents

in blue dot matrix ink,

commemorated by the bank’s official stamp

of approval.

I kept the passbook under my pillow,

and checked the numbers at night,

waiting for the interest rate to grow

as if I had planted a Sunflower seed,

hoping it would bloom in a day.


Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on October 03, 2019:

Thanks, Lora. You’re right Lora, a very important event in becoming an adult in our society.

Lora Hollings on October 03, 2019:

A poem that truly commemorates this important event in going from childhood to the world of adulthood. Very fine work, Mark, in communicating the anticipation a child would have! Thanks for sharing.

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on September 30, 2019:

Lorna, it did seem to be a bit of a letdown to swap money for a passbook. But it was a rite of passage.

Charlie Halliday from Scotland on September 30, 2019:

Good work Mark. All those dreams of how life was going to pan out as the bank balance grew. Unfortunately I was better at withdrawals than deposits.

Lorna Lamon on September 30, 2019:

I love the sentiments attached to this poem Mark. I also remember opening my first bank account. I had filled my money box to the brim and I remember my mum taking me into the bank to open the account. However, I also remember being very sad as the passbook felt very light compared to the heavy money box. The innocence of youth.

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on September 29, 2019:

You have a good memory, John. It probably made the whole experience less threatening.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 29, 2019:

Nice work, Mark. I enjoyed the poem. I remember as part of our early schooling we had to open a bank account with a passbook and the deposit transactions were actually done through the school on "banking day."

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on September 29, 2019:

Thanks, Brenda. Magical thinking, I guess.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on September 29, 2019:

A wonderful poem, Mark.

I remember the bank as a child too.

If only it would grow over night, but i didn't sleep with it under my pillow.

Great write.

Mark Tulin (author) from Palm Springs, California on September 29, 2019:

Thank Ruby. They are out real treasures.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on September 29, 2019:

This is such a joy to read. Our childhood memories are so important, they take us back to happy and innocent times. I enjoyed reading that you kept your precious passbook under your pillow. Cheers...

Related Articles