By Paul Dugan, Groovy Reflections Team Member
Back when I went to school hot lunch cost twenty five cents (a pretty good sum in those days) but one just couldn’t be seen brown bagging it, or worse carrying a lunch box. So every morning Mom left a quarter on the kitchen table so I could get my nutrition for the day.
Back then we didn’t have choices, you got a spoonful of whatever glop was on the menu! Okay, in all fairness, it was nutritious (I think), and some people actually liked them and sometimes when they had things like pizza, I did too! For the most part, I did not.
This actually worked out well, since I was also at the age where I wanted spending money but was too young to get an actual job. Fortunately the school I went to also had a “snack” counter where one could purchase an ice cream sandwich for a nickel. I might add that an ice cream sandwich, in those days, was more than three bites, unlike today’s.
Five cents for an ice cream sandwich that would tide me over till I got home and had dinner. Fortunately Dad worked the 8 to 4 shift and liked to eat by 4:30pm, so it wasn’t a long wait. That left me with 20 cents a day or a whole dollar a week! I was rich! Mom would not approve so I never mentioned it, although she did marvel at my appetite at dinner every night!
One of my first purchases was made after school when taking the long way home (there’s a song in there some where). I stopped by Al’s corner market to purchase four packs of Beatles bubble gum cards, and kept going to Al's for more until I had the entire set. This is where that karma thing comes into play, some years later while I was at college, Mom threw them all away!
One time I saved up my 20 cents a day to buy Mom and Dad bedside lamps for their anniversary. Dad’s was in the shape of a ships anchor with a thermometer in the middle, cause he was in the Navy. Mom’s was some interwoven white plastic thing that was very “in” back then and maybe would be again today. They both liked them very much, or at least led me to believe they did.
With 20 cents a day saved by the end of the week you could buy two forty five rpm records for 45 cents each and have change left over! I remember buying She Loves You (yeah yeah yeah) on Swan records and Can’t Buy Me Love on Capitol on the same day! I still have them both.
A year or so later I got a job bagging groceries for one dollar an hour, what it used to take me a week to save! From then on it was $2.99 albums! I was rich again! Oh how simple my needs were back then….sigh!
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