This past Thursday my wife and I celebrated 48 years of marriage. Needless to say, we aren’t the same people we were then. Nor is the world itself.
As I recall, my salary at The Herald was up to a generous $75 a week by that time. Bonnie was making closer to $55 a week at the Christian Brotherhood Hour offices. But we were only paying out $65 a month for a two-room furnished apartment.
We could make do on $10 a week for groceries. That didn’t allow us to stock up on meats or frozen foods, of course, but we didn’t have a freezer, so it wouldn’t have mattered. The frozen food compartment in our tiny refrigerator was so small we actually got a package of chicken parts frozen inside of it and had to defrost it to get them out.
I had a 1960 Ford Falcon, which was considerably over the hill; I had bought it in Detroit for $525 a year earlier. Bonnie’s Plymouth Valiant was two years newer and in better shape; she paid about $950 for it. Since we lived within walking distance of her job, we decided to make do with one car, and I sold my Falcon to the highest bidder – for $85.
Gasoline was up to about 29 cents a gallon then. We had no credit cards, but our available cash was enough to fill up whenever the gas ran low. The water pump went out during our honeymoon, and it cost about $25 to fix.
Mom gave us a gift of $100 for our honeymoon, and it stretched just fine to cover meals, car repair, a movie and five nights’ lodging.
Doctor bills back then were about $25 a visit. We each were taking a prescription drug that cost a dollar or two each time we had it refilled. We didn’t even think to check if any of it was covered by health insurance, which was nearly 100 percent covered by the company at that time.