A jour­ney back in time


In the run of any given day, I re­ceive in my in­box many “ for­wards,” emails passed along from an­other ad­dress to my ad­dress. I read very few of them be­cause it takes up so much valu­able time. But some­times one of the for­wards catches my at­ten­tion. Like the one I re­ceived in late De­cem­ber. It’s en­ti­tled “1955 Ford Thun­der­bird and the con­ver­sa­tions that went with it.”

I got a real kick out of read­ing the fol­low­ing com­ments that were be­ing made in the course of a con­ver­sa­tion 55 years ago. I in­vite you to ac­com­pany me on a jour­ney back in time to 1955. I’ve added ed­i­to­rial com­ments along the way.

“ I’ll tell you one thing, if things keep go­ing the way they are, it’s go­ing to be im­pos­si­ble to buy a week’s gro­ceries for $20.” At the start of 2011, am I be­ing rea­son­able in sug­gest­ing a fam­ily of three spends an av­er­age of $150 on gro­ceries weekly?

“ Have you seen the new cars com­ing out next year? It won’t be long be­fore $2,000 will only buy a used one.” The 2011 Ford Thun­der­bird Deluxe is priced at only $36,925. And that’s new, not used.

“ If cig­a­rettes keep go­ing up in price, I’m go­ing to quit. A quar­ter a pack is ridicu­lous.” Is the price closer to $10 a pack to­day? I re­ally don’t know.

“ Did you hear the post of­fice is think­ing about charg­ing a dime just to mail a let­ter?” To ask Canada Post to de­liver your let­ter to­day will cost you 57 cents.

“ If they raise the min­i­mum wage to $1, no­body will be able to hire out­side help at the store.” The truth is that to­day some em­ploy­ers are strug­gling to pay em­ploy­ees the min­i­mum hourly wage of $10.

“ When I first started driv­ing, who would have thought gas would some­day cost 29 cents a gal­lon? Guess we’d be bet­ter off leav­ing the car in the garage.” Now, driv­ers are ex­pected to fork over $1.18.5 per litre, more or less.

“ I’m afraid to send my kids to the movies any more. Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with say­ing ‘damn’ in Gone With the Wind, it seems ev­ery new movie has ei­ther ‘ hell’ or ‘damn’ in it.” My re­ac­tion? @%$#%@! I don’t know the price of a movie ticket in 1955, but to­day one costs $10-12. And that’s not in­clud­ing an iden­ti­cal amount for pop­corn and fast food.

“I read the other day where some sci­en­tist thinks it’s pos­si­ble to put a man on the moon by the end of the cen­tury. They even have some fel­lows they call as­tro­nauts pre­par­ing for it down in Texas.” Next stop: Mars.

“ Did you see where some base­ball player just signed a con­tract for $75,000 a year just to play ball? It wouldn’t sur­prise me if some­day they’ll be mak­ing more than the pres­i­dent.” In 2009 the pres­i­den­tial salary for Barack Obama was $ 400,000 The av­er­age salary in ma­jor league base­ball is around $2.5 mil­lion.

“ I never thought I’d see the day all our kitchen ap­pli­ances would be elec­tric. They are even mak­ing elec­tric type­writ­ers now.” Mom, what’s a type­writer?

“ It’s too bad things are so tough nowa­days. I see where a few mar­ried women are hav­ing to work to make ends meet.” I was go­ing to ask my wife about this, but Sherry’s work­ing out­side the home.

“ It won’t be long be­fore young cou­ples are go­ing to have to hire some­one to watch their kids so they can both work.” Our kids have left home, but Sherry and I are still both work­ing.

“ Thank good­ness I won’t live to see the day when the govern­ment takes half our in­come in taxes.” I’m not even go­ing there.

“ The drive-in res­tau­rant is con­ve­nient in nice weather. But I seri- ously doubt they will ever catch on.” I rather en­joyed the St. John’s A&W drive-in in the 1970s. More than once I for­got about the tray of food perched pre­car­i­ously on my win­dow and rolled it up.

“ There is no sense go­ing to Lin­coln or Omaha any­more for a week­end. It costs nearly $ 15 a night to stay in a ho­tel.” How about $126 for a one-night stay for a cou­ple at a St. John’s ho­tel?

“ No one can af­ford to be sick any­more. At $35 a day in the hos­pi­tal, it’s too rich for my blood.” Thank God for MCP.

“ If they think I’ll pay 50 cents for a hair­cut, for­get it.” Twelve bucks is closer to the truth to­day, even for some­one who is fol­licly chal­lenged.

To quote my late fa­ther, “ The good ol’ days weren’t all that good.”

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