You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
The good ol’ prices of the ‘fabulous ’50s’
Apple Pie and SalsaJuly 9, 2014 | 3,537 views | Post a comment
When I lived with my parents on Second Street before getting married and afterwards while Henry was in the Army, it seemed that it was the custom for men who had the time to stand at the corner in town in front of the bank and pass the time of day talking about the weather and other things that men talk about(?). Papá was one of them when he could no longer work. Others would sit at Smith Drug Store and drink coffee and talk. Now, not only men but women and children as well eat at restaurants and sit and talk at length. They probably still talk about the weather or who passed away, or other current events. With us women these days one of the main topics is the rising cost of living. Every time we go to the store, we see that prices have gone up. And it’s not only groceries, it’s everything! And on top of prices going up, the packages are getting smaller. The first item I noticed getting smaller a few years ago was a can of tuna. For tuna salad I didn’t notice it, but when I could no longer get three patties from a can, I decided to check the label. The weight has gone from 6 ounces to 4 ounces when drained. I keep cans of sardines in the pantry also. They used to pack four sardines to a can, now it’s only three!
And what about meat? Oh, my gosh! We had been warned that because of the drought we have been in for several years here in South Texas that the price of beef would go up considerably. Well, it went up drastically! I have always been able to stretch a pound of hamburger meat to the limit. Ground hamburger was always the cheapest cut of meat. Now, if you buy a pound of ground beef for under $4, you have to drain off a lot of grease. If you want the leaner meat you pay close to $5.
I know we’re not living back in the “fabulous ’50s,” but here’s a little bit of history from back then. I found an ad from J.C. Merchant’s Super Market from that era. And most of the other grocery stores (there were four more just downtown) carried pretty much the same prices. Hamburger meat sold for 49 cents a pound; chuck roast also 49 cents; sirloin steak 75 cents a pound; 7 steak 53 cents a pound; shoulder roast 59 cents a pound; rib stew 35 cents a pound; and fryers 55 cents a pound. Now, fryers are the least expensive meat, at under $1 a pound when they are on sale. And there was a drought back then too!
Pet milk, which a lot of mothers used as a baby formula, was advertised as “one tall can or two small ones for $.14.” And for your hygiene needs, four bars of bath soap for 25 cents. Tide large size 27 cents.
For your home -- from the Wilson County Lumber Company, 1 gallon of white paint, $6.25, on sale for $5.19. A gallon of semi-gloss enamel, $6.05, on sale for $4.85.
From the I.D. Flores Rexall Drugstore -- a 12 oz. bag of Hershey’s Kisses, 24 cents, an 8 oz. bottle of Cherosote cough syrup, 89 cents.
And for the ladies’ sewing needs, Ellinghausen-Teltschik’s offered their finest material, Irish linen for $1.95 a yard, Dotted Swiss (I loved that material) for 98 cents a yard. The lowest priced was percale at 39 cents a yard. Now there’s only one store in town that sells materials and you can’t buy anything for under $4 a yard.
So, while I know that prices can never ever be the same as in the ’50s, I wonder if some businesses are overpricing merchandise because of the oil boom. Are they taking advantage of us because a lot of the oil-field workers are making good money and can spend more? What about those of us who are on fixed incomes? And what about gas prices going up? Gas, gas everywhere, but no discounts around here! I will continue to buy what I can afford for as long as I can. And I will try not to complain. I know that I am blessed to live in this country, and I do thank the Good Lord for all our blessings!
Julia Castro, a retired Head Start teacher and mother of 10, lives in Floresville with her husband, Henry. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
South Texas Living Archives
Benefit for animal shelter is Aug. 1 (July 29, 2015)
Cestohowa Altar Society ladies celebrate 60 years of service (July 29, 2015)
Church youth to hold car wash (July 29, 2015)
Don’t miss Kosciusko Picnic this Sunday (July 29, 2015)
Free movie Friday in Poth (July 29, 2015)
Historical marker denotes former school site (July 29, 2015)
Legion Auxiliary garage sale Aug. 1 (July 29, 2015)
Life in the Camp Ranch community (July 29, 2015)
Luciano Pacheco – the sole Tejano survivor of the Alamo (July 29, 2015)
Opry helps fund historical markers (July 29, 2015)
Popeye beach pail (July 29, 2015)
See a free flick in Elmendorf (July 29, 2015)
Stuff the bus in Stockdale (July 29, 2015)
Summer program ends at Falls City library (July 29, 2015)
WCRSP delivers children’s books to schools (July 29, 2015)
Balance classes start July 27 (July 22, 2015)
Be a high roller in Floresville (July 22, 2015)
Bobble-head Bozo (July 22, 2015)
Cool down with free snow cones (July 22, 2015)
Copper-pot craftsmanship — CINCO Vodka (July 22, 2015)
Marion Sausage Supper is Aug. 1 (July 22, 2015)
Mu Chi members attend state convention (July 22, 2015)
Opry lineup is sure to satisfy (July 22, 2015)
Save the date for Kody Fest Aug. 8 (July 22, 2015)
Shop ‘Trinkets and Treasures’ (July 22, 2015)
SSCA seeks donations for rummage sale (July 22, 2015)
Start two-stepping at FUMC (July 22, 2015)
Texas sales-tax holiday (July 22, 2015)
The Landing offers help for teens (July 22, 2015)
What a difference an ‘A’ makes! (July 22, 2015)
Browse, learn, shop at Home and Garden Show (July 15, 2015)
Celebrate Czech Day in Jourdanton (July 15, 2015)
Daughters of the Republic installs officers (July 15, 2015)
Enjoy St. Anthony church fest (July 15, 2015)
Experience ‘The Hobbit’ under the stars (July 15, 2015)
Free Movies at the Park in Poth (July 15, 2015)
Learn to compost with worms (July 15, 2015)
Legion Auxiliary plans garage sale (July 15, 2015)
Library happenings (July 15, 2015)
Mystery blanket sparks search (July 15, 2015)
Night In Old Fredericksburg is July 18 (July 15, 2015)
Plan now for Beaver Roundup (July 15, 2015)
Teddy bears, pottery (July 15, 2015)
The bridges of Wilson County (July 15, 2015)
‘Atomic tourists’ converge on Trinity Site ahead of 70th anniversary (July 15, 2015)
Behind the lens: Cover photo (July 8, 2015)
Bobby Flores Birthday Bash is July 11 (July 8, 2015)
Early settlers of Wilson County (July 8, 2015)
Enjoy ‘Big Hero 6’ at Movie Day (July 8, 2015)
Enjoy ‘Cool Tunes’ in Brenham (July 8, 2015)
Family violence shelter seeks volunteers (July 8, 2015)
Family weekend fun in Adkins (July 8, 2015)
FHS Reunion is July 25 (July 8, 2015)
Fishing lures (July 8, 2015)
Give blood at Sacred Heart Church (July 8, 2015)
Hamilton earns rank of captain (July 8, 2015)
Memorial hog hunt a hit! (July 8, 2015)
Save the date for Home and Garden Show (July 8, 2015)
See comedians in China Grove (July 8, 2015)
‘Alabama’ to invade K-Town (July 8, 2015)
‘Dying’ brings broadcaster back to life (July 8, 2015)
Bible study in Verdi (July 1, 2015)
Buses, pickup trucks, automobiles, and walking (July 1, 2015)
Davy Crockett, Depression glass (July 1, 2015)
Dog shows start July 8 (July 1, 2015)
Enjoy Fourth of July parade, concert in Seguin (July 1, 2015)
Enjoy Sunday Dances all month (July 1, 2015)
Free July 4 concerts in SA (July 1, 2015)
Free music, fireworks in Brenham (July 1, 2015)
Ice cream makers, tasters needed (July 1, 2015)
Jack's Cafe adds Sports Room and patio (July 1, 2015)
July is for grape stomping (July 1, 2015)
Look who's flying solo! (July 1, 2015)
Memories fly following balloon stories (July 1, 2015)
Register for state-wide Chili Cook-off (July 1, 2015)
Remembering my first haircut (July 1, 2015)
Savor: Summer drinks with calories and exercise equivalents (July 1, 2015)
South Texas Gardener reveals 'mystery plants' (July 1, 2015)
The Gathering Music Show (July 1, 2015)