Going through our elderly parents' stuff can bring on a mixed bag of emotions. When Barbara Rappaport of Atlanta, GA., combed through a final box of things belonging to her dad, who passed away 15 years ago, she couldn't have been more surprised by what she found: the cancelled check to the doctor who had delivered her 66 years ago.
"My [87-year-old] mother asked me if I knew where my dad's watch collection was and I thought, 'Gee, maybe it's still in that last box of stuff I hadn't opened that was still on the floor of my closet'," Rappaport told The Huffington Post.
While she didn't find the watches, she did find a clear plastic envelope filled with old papers and about six months worth of canceled checks. The one that caught her eye was dated a week after her birthday in 1950 and was made out to Dr. Sydney H. Shapiro.
"I asked my mom who that was and she knew immediately," Rappaport said. "That was the doctor who delivered you at Irvington General Hospital." Dr. Shapiro, who used to make house calls and visited Rappaport's mother during her pregnancy, died in 1979, according to news reports.
"I have seen plenty of photographs of myself when I was a baby and child growing up," Rappaport told HuffPost, "but there was something about seeing this check that really gave me the chills."
One of the things about the check that really got to Rappaport was the amount: $125. Given the rate of inflation, Saving.org calculates that to be about $1,258 in 2016 dollars. Still a bargain by today's standards. A 2014 study by the University of California, San Francisco found that hospital charges for an uncomplicated vaginal delivery ranged from $3,296 to $37,227, depending on the hospital.
So while learning that her birth was a relative bargain, finding the check that paid for it: Priceless, says Rappaport.