As you are no doubt aware, this time next week will be heralded by fanfare, fireworks, possibly a phone call from Obama, and maybe a quick Tweet from the Queen – I will be entering my seventh decade.
With Kezza and Rog now trekking through the wilds of Quebec, I thought I would share with you their birthday card.
It’s one of those cards which in fact is a small book, entitled “Remember When…A Nostalgic Look Back in Time – 1953,” and it certainly does contain some interesting facts.
As it turns out, I have been around about as long as Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne. I do have very vague memories of Mum and Dad taking us up our hilly street to stand on Mona Vale Road and wave madly at a cavalcade of cars and being told that “that was the Queen of England.”
That was 1958, so you will forgive me if I can’t share with you what color hat she was wearing.
You will also be relieved to know that the year of my birth also saw the end of the rationing of candy in England.
1953 also saw the wedding of John Kennedy to Jacqueline Bouvier, witnessed the swearing in of Eisenhower as President and became the birth year of TV Guide and the Corvette.
How much was “The Doggie in the Window” belted out over our radios by Patti Page, and the adults of the time were thrilled by such movies as “From Here to Eternity,” “The War of the Worlds” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
Deep freezers were definitely in, as were Westinghouse televisions complete with the “Electronic Clarifier” - apparently the old manual clarifier just wasn’t cutting it. No the new electronic one “eliminates all picture interference,” with “no streaks, no flutter and no flop-over.” I just hate it when the TV flops over, don’t you?
What really intrigued me with this card was the 1953 cost of living. Average income was $4,011 and a new house would run you just a tad over $9,525. Tuition at Harvard was $600 a year, gas was 20 cents a gallon, a movie ticket was 70 cents, a stamp was 3 cents, and bread was 16 cents a loaf.
How does that compare to now, I hear you ask. Well, your trusty not so little researcher here can tell you. Last year the average American earned $63,000 a year, the average house cost was $272,000. Nipping into Harvard for a year sets you back $32,000, gas is $3.59 a gallon, a movie ticket runs $8.38, a stamp is 46 cents, and bread will set you back around $2.20.
I tried valiantly to work out the relativity of all these things, but my mathematical brain underwent a minor stroke and I have to go have a lie down now.
I guess it’s just too late for me for Harvard.
Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at anniedearkc @hotmail.com.