Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Put A Penny In Your Shoe

  • If you find a penny-put it in your shoe for good luck (one of the girls almost wore a hole in her foot from practicing this one)
  • A penny for your thoughts (most people would require more payment than a penny to share their thoughts today)
  • A penny saved is a penny earned (again-most folks would scoff at this one today-but just ask my girls-collecting pennies can help you accumulate a pretty impressive amount of money)
  • Find a penny pick it up-all day long you’ll have good luck
  • He/she always turns up like a bad penny (I hope I never put the bad penny in my shoe-yikes)
  • Most of The Deer Hunter’s guns cost a pretty penny (not really I just like to tease him about it)
  • I’m so poor I don’t even have 2 pennies to rub together (I should have been saving them like my girls)

Have you ever heard the urban legend that if you place a penny on the track it will derail the train?

If you got any other penny sayings-I’d love to hear them.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.



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  • Reply
    September 16, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    I dated a lady back in the late 70’s I gave her a pocket knife as a gift . She got visibily upset until she found a penny to “buy” the knife . Old wise tale if you give a knife as a gift it will cut the relationship. I have seen knife sets with a penny included

  • Reply
    October 1, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    see a penny let it lay, and good luck will pass you by.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    You posted all the “penny” quotes I’ve heard. LOL
    I grew up near a train track and even though I was always told that if you put a coin on the track it would derail the train, I put them on there anyway. I still have a squashed penny and a dime.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    August 16, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    I think you just about covered all the penny sayings that I know of. We have a great big plastic jar full of pennies. I can barely lift it. I guess if we get hard up enough, we can cash them in.

  • Reply
    August 13, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Of course the real thrill of those pennies left on the Smoky Mountain Railroad track is, as with most of these thrills, sharing it with your nearest 4 year old. It’s amazing.
    As for the luck of a penny, it matters not if it is heads or tail when you find it, the luck is there that you found it, little value that it is.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    I remember an aunt telling me long ago that in the “old days” all the girls wore penny loafers with slots which they put pennies into so if they were on a date with a guy who got fresh with them, they could use the penny at a pay phone to call home for a safe ride.
    Then it became a nickel (was a nickel in my days), then a dime, then a quarter – I guess nowadays there’d have to be a credit card in them.
    And yeah, the pennies I find always go in my shoe, not that I believe in luck anymore, cause I believe in God, but it’s a habit now after all this time.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    dont you just love all these stories? we live near the railroad tracks.. and my girls were always out there with pennies, no derailments..but lots of squished pennies. i always pick a penny up if i see one on the ground.. its supposed to mean that a loved one .. gone.. is thinking of you 🙂
    big ladybug hugs to you all , have a wonderful weekend.. weathers took a change and a bit cooler .. sigh..

  • Reply
    Barbara Johnson
    August 12, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Penny candy is still available at a historical general store I visit. I only pick up pennies if they are heads up!

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Heard all of them. My Mother – 87 this week – will still bend over to pick up a penny whenever she sees one. I ask her, “Is it worth it?”

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I’ve squashed a real penny or two
    and those train wheels make ’em as
    big as a quarter or bigger. Trains
    and tracks played a big part of our entertainment growing up, we
    hoboed that sucker about twice a
    week just for the thrill of catching it for the ride.
    At school all the guys just had to
    have a pair of penny loafers to be

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    August 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    How about penny stocks….I don’t have any…shucks…
    How could I forget penny loafers that your readers mentioned…Mom would give me a dime to put in mine sometimes so after the movie if they weren’t there to get us I could call for them to come pick us up..that is if the folks wouldn’t let us use the theater phone…late forties long ago…when it only cost 15 cents to a quarter to get in the Saturday matinee…ha By the way she always ask for the dime back if we didn’t use it to call home..ha

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    August 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    We like to say pennies from Heaven when we find one!

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Penny-wise and pound-foolish; Penny ante.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Have heard all of the penny sayings. When i was young i too put them in my shoe. Also we’d put them on the RR tracks to bring us more good luck if you could find them when afterward. KIDS!!!!

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    August 12, 2011 at 11:05 am

    What about paying a pretty penny for something? Mamaw might say “She paid a purty penny for that frock.”

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    August 12, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Of course, I just posted and remembered the old saying, “Penny wise – Pound foolish.”

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    August 12, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Maybe that’s why penny-loafers were invented! I do have pennies in my loafers (and get kidded alot). Of course, I’ll never be entirely broke as long as I have those shoes.

  • Reply
    Jerry M. in Arkansas
    August 12, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Penny wise, pound foolish.

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    August 12, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Pennies squished on the railroad track a whole lot better when they were made of solid copper instead of steel (or something) with just a copper plating like they are now.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I used to put pennies in my penny loafers when I was in high school. My granny always used to say she wanted to put her 2cents worth in when a a good conversation was in progress. I save pennies too. I always pick them up on sidewalks and in parking lots. Those pennies eventually grow into dollars!!

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Railroad went straight through my yard when I was a kid. We flattened more pennys than you can shake a stick at – no derailments. Funny, I din’t save one single flattened penny and the tracks have been out of commision for years now so I can only remember how smooth and odd shapen they were after being run over by a train.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 12, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. I happen to think there is some truth in this one.
    And the girls are correct, if you save enough pennies it make dollars!

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Tipper, penny wise, pound foolish. I would not give you tuppence for your blog. JUST KIDDING!! Tuppence or two pence or two penneth or two pennies or looking at the track “not a red cent!! I have a few Australian pennys and a couple of English pennys still and they are probably worth less now than when they where minted.
    PS. Spelling is not my strong suit!….K

  • Reply
    Wayne Newton
    August 12, 2011 at 9:09 am

    When I was a boy, (1940-1950s) the penny loafer was extremely popular.
    No matter how poor you were (boy or girl), if you owned any pair of going to town shoes, it had to be a (brown) Penny Loafer.
    I was in high school before I learned that the name wasn’t connected to the J.C. Penney company.
    Placing a penny in the little notch of the strap of the instep overlay was totally stylish, and meant good luck.
    In towns and cities, the kids placed a dime in the notch, for that was the cost of a public telephone call home.
    I can state, without fear of contradiction, that if had two dimes, they sure wouldn’t have been in my shoes.
    They are still around today, though most are now called Deck shoes for that makes them more expensive.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 8:56 am

    I have heard most of these, have never smashed a penny since I am a penny pincher.. LOL. i spent most of my life without 2 pennies to rub together. as a teen we wore penny loafers and put pennies in the front of the shoes

  • Reply
    sheryl Paul
    August 12, 2011 at 8:56 am

    We place pennies in our shoes for luck too. BUT, the penny must be face up when found or it is not lucky

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    August 12, 2011 at 8:35 am

    I think I read the same story Donna W. did. Haven’t left a penny on the ground since; just pick it up and smile. It’s a great reminder.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Never heard the urban legend. I did hear a loooong time ago that when you find a penny and it’s heads up…. VERY GOOD LUCK. If it’s tails, leave it.
    It’s so funny that the silliest of tales can get one hooked on a tradition of sorts. I’m not one for magic, witchcraft or superstitions, but I for a while only picked up a penny if it was heads up. As time went on, I decided not to pick up the pennies that someone in more need might.
    However, I still knock on wood 😉

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 8:02 am

    When traveling away from home, throw a penny out at the last crossroads. You will come back home safely.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    August 12, 2011 at 7:53 am

    I’ve heard that a penny would derail a train…We once put some pennies on a track where we were fishin’ went back the next squashed pennies..they were gone..
    so ‘that idea wasn’t worth two cents’…ha
    I heard once that a certain person ‘wasn’t worth what the guv’ment give a penny’…
    We had a Red Bone coon dog pup that we couldn’t decide on a name..It was going to be “Copper” or “Penny”..when we realized it was a girl we named her Penny..
    My husband is a constant penny finder when walking in and out stores or on a walk..
    He’ll pick it up too…Whether it is on heads or tails…
    A penny on tails is bad luck!
    Free money is free money he says..
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    August 12, 2011 at 7:42 am

    My brother has carried a penny with him since the day he was born.
    I don’t know that carrying it has brought him good luck (well, I take that back, I’ve seen evidence of at least one time he got lucky).
    Oh, but it would sure enough be awful bad luck if he lost it. It hurts just to think about it.

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    August 12, 2011 at 7:30 am

    you already told all the pennies stories I ever heard. I forgot about the wearing one in your shoe. I wonder if that’s where penny loafers came from? I remember I used to wear them and of course you HAD to put that penny in that little slot, it was all the rage. haha.. I cant remember
    WHEN I saw someone wearing some penny loafers with a penny in them!

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 6:57 am

    I’ve heard about rubbing two nickels together. I guess that’s inflation.

  • Reply
    Donna W
    August 12, 2011 at 6:07 am

    There’s a railroad track along the back of our property, and two granddaughters and I smashed several pennies on there. Of course, we lost more than we smashed. I once read a nifty story in an old Guideposts about the reason a penny is good luck: It’s the words “In God we trust” written thereon.

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