When you see a penny on the ground, if its head is up, then its lucky and you better keep it. If its tail is showing, either walk on by, or throw it away, but dont you keep it with you for too long.
Jordan said he first heard this from his substitute grandmother who is a 91 year old retired African American who grew up in tupelo Mississippi and now living in Fullerton California. He said that Letha helped take care of him ever since he was a little kid. He said that she carried him home from the hospital and has given her a lot of advice in his life.
However, he continues, the one thing he always remembers from her, is to hold on to the heads up penny. Jordan did not know why this was true, but he says to this day he even flips pennies that are lying around his room or even on the street to heads up so that other people can have good luck as well.
Whether a heads up coin actually brings luck or not, I think that Jordan belief is more of a psychological effect more than anything else. I think people seem to believe in the idea that older is wiser. Like any other child, Jordan only easily accepted this because he was young and believed in his replacement grandmothers ideas. What happened next is psychological. I think that every time he came across a heads up coin and then something good happen to him, Jordan associated it with the coin and vice versa.
This is only because he was brought up in a culture that believes in that a heads up coin brings luck. Another person could easily and rightly perceive a heads up coin as simply a heads up coin and nothing else to it. Such is the strength of traditions. Tradition builds identity. By this I mean people with similar traditions identify and easily associate with each other. It is simply because they perceive similar things similarly. That is why Jordan has to remember his replacement grandmother every time he comes across a coin. There is that connection between two people that can be created simply sharing the same cultural beliefs.