Sunday, October 6, 2019
Once Upon A Dime
A dime went much farther when I was young. When I was a kid you could buy candy for a penny, a dime would get you a phone-call, and postcards cost a penny to mail. A nice cold Coke could be had for a nickle.
Of course, back then we didn't have a lot of money, so any of the above would be a treat. I remember that in the summer my mom would buy a pint of ice cream that we divided four ways. Now I could eat the whole pint!
Five-and-dime stores actually had things that cost a nickle or dime. My grandfather would take me downtown for an outing. We rode the bus and always stopped at the five-and-dime for a hot fudge sundae at the lunch counter.
Bread was delivered and was about $0.15. Milk was delivered,too, at about $0.20 a quart. And it came in glass bottles. The cream was at the top and you had to shake it to get it mixed. When the weather got really cold the milk would start to freeze and the cream would push the lids out of the bottle.
We could get 10 pounds of potatoes at the store for just over $0.40. We ate a lot of potatoes. Our favorite way to fix them was fried in lard with onions. But we fixed them mashed as well. I don't remember eating baked potatoes when I was a kid.
For a while we got margarine that came with a packet of yellow powder to make it look like butter. I enjoyed stirring it in. We used it on toast, on PB&J sandwiches, and to cook with.
My mom would fix liver and onions and told me it was steak so I'd eat it. I never had steak, so I didn't know the difference. Liver was really cheap then.
We had a little garden in the back of our lot where we grew tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. My mom fixed stuffed peppers with ground beef, onions, and rice in them. We also had to grape arbors. One had white grapes and one had purple grapes. They were wonderful. My mom made jelly and juice from them. As kids we'd just eat some we pulled off the vines.
In those days we left the doors and windows open when we were at home. I don't remember ever being afraid of someone coming in who shouldn't be there. We were taught to respect other people's property. We weren't allowed to cut through other people's yards without permission. All the mom's on the street would look out for all the kids, reprimand them if needed.
We weren't allowed to play in the street, even though there wasn't much traffic. We did build dams in the rain gutters along the curbs when it rained. And most of us were trained to go home and inside when the street lights came on.
Looking back, times seemed simpler then. But if I stop to consider some of the things that were happening in the neighbor's homes, I realize the same problems existed for the adults, even if it was simpler for the kids. In one home the mom had advanced diabetes and her legs were all black and swullen. In another home a child a bit younger than me had a disease that made him swell up with fluids in his body. In another home there was a "child" who was very mentally retarded. She didn't walk, couldn't talk, and had to wear diapers, even though she was at least in her teens. In one home the dad was an alcoholic who gambled away his paychecks and depriving his family.
So the "good old days" were only good when viewed from certain perspectives.
We just need to remember that we really don't know what all is going on in someone's life and shouldn't judge them.