Those Were The Days: Time Marches On “A Look Back”

hourglass with red sand

Time marches on as the past is lost in the dust of many yesterdays. In 1858 close to one hundred and sixty years ago a pencil with an attached eraser was patented, today we take such an innovation for granted in fact if the truth be known, we can’t even find a pencil when we need one.

One hundred and fifty years ago in 1867 United States bought the entire rights to Alaska for only 7.2 million dollars. Last month a well-known hockey player put one of his houses up for sale with an asking price of seven million dollars. Yes, it was a long time ago and seven million dollars does not carry the financial clout it used to especially when today’s governments talk in billions.   

In 1950, I bought my first used car for $150.00, it was a 1929 Ford. A neighbour recently sold his used truck for $17,000 and the buyer was happy to get such a good deal. Of course, auto workers were earning a dollar an hour sixty odd years ago, never dreaming in years to come that hourly wage would become a mere coin comedically termed a “loonie”.   

I remember when postage stamps were a nickel, three cents at Christmas if you did not seal the envelope, I have no idea why an unsealed envelope would make a two-cent difference but that is a moot point since a postage stamp is now around a dollar. I am sure seniors even recall the ten cent hamburg and the 25-cent milk shake. 

My first real job was with Wonder Bakeries at a time when bread sold for eight cents a loaf, can you imagine bread is now twelve cents a slice? There is a stark reversal in the cost of technology though, during the 1970s our company purchased a computer for almost a half million dollars, it demanded a room at least 50 feet long which had to be kept at a perfect 50 degrees Fahrenheit at all times, today the same computer doing the same job can be held in the palm of our hand.    

Back in the days when Canada was still a Dominion we measured in feet, miles and gallons, we could purchase a quart of oil for .25 cents and fill our gas tank for a buck but along came the metric system and now we are paying $1.05 a litre; calculating the old way we are shelling out around five dollars a gallon. I got my first haircut at an army barracks for a dime, today we get “styled” for twenty- five dollars. I remember with fondness the 5 & 10 cent stores, yes believe it, they really did exist. Fifty years ago I looked in the mirror and saw a not too bad looking young man, today I look in the mirror and see an old, wink ….., ah, never mind, that’s enough comparisons for today.               

Russ Sanders         

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