Today I went with my wife to visit her mother in the nursing home. Her mother is 102 and her mind isn't quite the steel trap it was just a mere couple of years ago. She smiled at me and asked me if I was there to take her to supper. She didn't know me. She smiled at my wife, her youngest daughter, and asked her if she was there to help her go to the bathroom. It was at that moment I told my wife I'd be in the TV/Card lounge until she was ready to leave. It bothered me that my mother-in-law had no memory of me but it really hit hard for my wife for her mother not to recognize her own child. But, it has been getting worse each time we go in. The Alzheimer is slowly eating away at her memories. If you tell her who you are, she claims to remember and I truly do believe she does. When my wife tells her who she is, my mother-in-law seems truly upset to not remember.
Anyway, I went into the TV lounge where five patients were playing cards. Over time I've got to know them and they know me. We all said 'hi' and I sat in a chair and started to watch the TV which was broadcasting an old "The Brady Bunch" show. I watched as Alice traded zingers with Sam, her butcher boyfriend.
I broke out laughing. Without realizing it, I'd interrupted the card game and they wanted to know what was so funny.
I pointed to the television and said, "Look at the ad's on the back wall of the butcher shop." Just over Sam's shoulder was a sign that read: Chopped Sirloin 92¢ lb. "I sure would like to be able to get that today!"
Anna was quick with a reply. "Bob, honey. I remember buying hamburger for something like 29¢ a pound when I was feeding my kids."
Unfortunately, that was a truth. I remembered, at the ripe age of almost 16, biking uptown (a very small community) to the local grocery store and getting hamburger for that low price. Anna is like about 20 years my senior, probably somewhere close to 90 years in age.
I continued to watch the show and Mike Brady (father) had a pay phone installed for the Brady children to use, needing to pay a dime for each call. When I was single and shared a large 3-story house with 3 other guys, the phone bill got to be an issue. It was in my name and everyone used it. When I attempted to collect the money to pay the bill, I was met with 'catch me next payday' which just never seemed to come. I took the phone out. Well, actually I took out the three extensions (living room, downstairs kitchen and upstairs kitchen) and left only one phone in my bedroom. That, in itself lowered my phone bill drastically since each extension was extra. Bedrooms were kept locked so nobody but me, or who I allowed, could use my phone. One of the other guys quickly had a pay phone installed at the bottom of the stairs. Each call was 25¢ and of course, the longer one talked, the more money they had to pay. The only catch to having a pay phone in the house was somebody had to be there when the phone company came to collect the money. There was a minimum amount due each month or we had to make up the difference. We never had to make up the difference. Back then it seemed that if you called more than 2 blocks away from the phone's location, it was long distance.
My granddaughter found a picture of gasoline on Facebook where the prices were under $1.00, including premium. On the picture was something to the effect of "Let's bring these prices back." Wouldn't that be nice? Oh, wait. While we're bringing gasoline down to 79¢ a gallon, why not bring it down to the price I remember buying it for my first car — a mere 25¢ per gallon. That's right! $5 filled the tank and you got not only change back, but also Golden, TV, or Green Stamps and/or a voucher for a collectible piece of china or crystal. Yes, even at those prices, I was able to get a 12 place setting of smoked crystal consisting of water glasses, champagne glasses, wine glasses, tumblers and shot glasses. Should I mention the station attendants also cleaned the windows, pumped the gas, checked the oil and sometimes even the washer fluid!! All that for free! In the winter, if you were a regular, you could get a free analysis of your antifreeze!
I remember postage stamps were 3¢ and post cards with the postage already on them were only 1¢! Imagine, a postcard for only one penny! One could buy a roll - that's right - A ROLL of 100 stamps for a mere $3.00.
My mind started to think how much more money I'd have today if we could go back to those days where prices were 'reasonable.' BUT, the gas station owners wouldn't make much money. Butchers and grocery store employees would be on Welfare to make ends meet. The rules are simple, I couldn't make the money I make today. I'd have to face the reality of a paycheck of less than $100 a week, probably under $80.
The good ol' days are only good if you can have the best of both worlds. The prices of back then with the income of today. The simplicity of back then with the conveniences of today. Now wouldn't that be nice?
Yeah, memory lane is a great place to stroll, but, unfortunately, you can only stroll there. You can't live there, but only visit for short lengths of time.
Until next I ramble on...