Mother Makes
A Killing
On Stocks
Part II
She kept it up right to the end. Blind, unable to walk on her own, she might forget names of the clubs, or the members, or her own children, but she never forgot the rules of stock buying: pick sound companies with sound management: no bookkeeping tricks, please. And buy. And hold.

My sister tells me that as Mother lay dying there in the guest room downstairs in the great Georgian house we had all grown up in, she --- under the influence of some drug they had given her for pain --- sat up in bed, thinking, perhaps, she was before one of her classes, and delivered an extemporaneous speech on her investment policy to the nonplused nurses, doctors and family members. "It was one of the best talks I ever heard her give," my sister said later.

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For someone so grounded in balance sheets, p/e ratios, and sound investment, Mother did indulge in a bit of the spiritual. She was keen on the Ouiji board. She talked to my father, at times, "over on the other side." She went to Virginia Beach regularly for readings with Edgar Cacey when he was still around. (She taped and played one session back for me, with a "guide" describing my life. I was startled that what I thought was my secret world was so public --- at least to the spirits).

So when she recently started coming back from time to time to tell me what to buy on the market, I wasn't all that surprised. The advice wasn't what you or I would think: it wasn't Microsoft or Coca-Cola or Houston Industries, and it certainly wasn't Amazon or the now-so-sad Winn Dixie. It was a stock I had never heard of. I wake up, and there it is, in my head, the words carefully spelled out for me: "P-h-a-r-m-c-h-e-m. 2. Going to 50."

I figured it was some chemical company out poisoning the earth, but I was wrong. I looked it up in "Barrons" the next day. It wasn't NYSE, or ASE --- I found it in the NASDAQ listings. There it was, just as she had spelled it out. Pharmchem. At 2-1/2. They test for drugs --- both government and private industry. Looks like what she would call "a dog" to me, but their balance sheet didn't look all that bad, and it's definitely a growth industry.

Who am I to defy the gods? I dug up $2,000. Got 500 shares for me, 500 for my secretary --- she wants a new car someday. We'll be patient --- won't make the same mistake I did with ADT. We have almost doubled our money in the month since I bought it (it's doing better percentage-wise than the old dot-coms did), but we're hanging on, as Mum would want us to. Buy and hold, buy and hold. At least until we have our $50,000 in hand.

--- Carlos Amantea