Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Yikes I guess I am old!

I'm a news junkie. Yes, hate to admit it, but if I'm not watching a major news channel, I usually have it on as background noise. Although... lately the news has been more like a circus than a serious reporting of current events.

One snippet caught my attention yesterday. In 1949 Harry Truman raised the minimum wage in America from .40 cents an hour to .75 cents. A pittance, right? But in those days that was an almost 100% increase (if I messed up the math there, forgive me). Revolutionary! Much of the news cycle today is about minimum wage and having enough money to live a decent life. How did anyone do it on .75 cents an hour?

In the late fifties, I was old enough to run to the corner market for my mother. And I remember what some things cost in those days. I could buy an ice cream bar for .10 cents. A candy bar was .05 cents. A can of tomato sauce was .08 cents. And a loaf of bread was .25. Would I go back to those days? No. I still wonder how people who lived on less than $7.00 a day survived.

Not all of you reading this blog today are my age, but I'm curious what you remember from your own childhood days of shopping at the supermarket (or corner store). What could you buy for .10 or .20 cents?

What does any of this have to do with romance and writing? Not much unless you see "the good ol' days" as heartwarming like the books we write. Would you go back?

As for getting old, I'm going to continue living with the little white lie I keep telling myself - How come everyone my age looks so much older than me?

Cynthia




21 comments:

  1. I remember penny candy being a penny, gas being 29.9 cents, and my dad's carton of cigarettes costing $2.35. When I graduated from high school, a year at Indiana University was $2300 and I didn't get to go because that may as well have been a million. I remember those 5-cent candy bars, too! :-)

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    1. So funny, Liz. My mother used to ask how they were going to afford my "10,000 brain" the total cost of four years at Ohio Northern U.

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  2. I'm not sure what it says about my age, but I think I remember 35 cents for a loaf of bread. My husband is sceptical when I say this, but I would have loved to have lived in pioneer days!

    As for you being old, Cynthia, I've seen pictures of you, and you look wonderful!

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    1. Thank you BFF! Wait til you see me in person.

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  3. Loved your post Cynthia because I could totally relate and for the record, I'm positive I'm older than you. I do remember when a milkman and a bread man delivered to our house. As for penny candy....the replicas today just don't cut it with me! I too tell myself that little white lie though find photos disconcertingly honest! But I did sell my first Heartwarming a week before I celebrated a new (and scary!) decade of my life so....it's all relative, right?

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    1. Absolutely Janice. We're only as old as we feel.

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  4. This post made me chuckle. I remember going to the movies for fifteen cents. And I remember buying a whole month's supply of groceries for under a hundred dollars. Now I barely fill a bag for that. LOL

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    1. That's the truth. For twenty-five cents we got a double feature!

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  5. I'm sure I'm older than you Cynthia. My first full-time job I made $97.00 a month. That paid, food, apartment rent, and transportation by bus to and from work. Movies were a quarter, but still sometimes out of reach by the end of a month. I remember when butter, sugar and gas was all rationed. And after the war ended and you could get those items again---everyone thought they were on easy street. As for going back, I might, because people seemed so much happier then. Or was that me being younger and growing up during that time period?

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    1. When I was looking for images of the fifties, all the lady shoppers were so happy and smiling.

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  6. I loved this, Cynthia! This brought back memories of going with my father on Saturdays to the Barber shop. There was a Ben Franklin store next door where my sister and I would buy penny candy. I loved the fireballs! I also remember going to Woolworth with my grandmother. She loved their desserts. :) Thanks for the memories!

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    1. Fireballs and jawbreakers. Don't know why we still have teeth!

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  7. This blog brings back so many memories. I remember my mother borrowing a nickle from me so she'd have the 20 cents she needed to buy a pack of cigarettes. For my first job, working as a salesgirl, I was supposed to get 90 cents an hour. Oh, what a pleasant surprise I had when my salary went up to $1.00.

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    1. The cheapest I remember cigs was .35 cents, and I would stretch that pack out for a week. Now I'm just glad I quit.

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  8. Ah, memories! My first job paid minimum wage, which was $1.25 an hour. My first teaching job paid less than $5,000 a year, but even with that, I was able to buy a new car. I remember how much cheaper groceries were, too. And those .10 candy bars were bigger than the ones that cost more than a dollar now.

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    1. My first teaching job paid $4,500. But with a roommate and a modestly priced apartment, I did it.

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  9. I was born in 1945, so I remember Hershey bars for 5 cents, ice cream fudge bars for 5 cents, putting gum on the end of a stick so we could probe the street grates for change to buy candy or ice cream. Movies at The Strand in New Bedford were .07, my PF Flyers that I wore all summer were $3.50. In high school, we pooled our money to collect a dollar to buy gas to go to the drive-in. A hot dog and a banana split at Woolworth's lunch bar was under a dollar. Life was great then, but it's great now, too. I think since the life is in you, it's great anytime, anywhere.

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  10. So right Muriel. Remember piling kids in the trunk of the car to go into the drive-in theater?

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    1. Absolutely! We were all scrunched in for .50 a car!

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  11. I remember gas being 19.9 cents a gallon and cigarettes 5 packs for a dollar. And I was too cheap to buy the cigarettes. lol I can remember going to the movies for a quarter and then going to Krystal and buying two burgers, fries and a drink for a quarter. And I made $96 a month after taxes.

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