Dollars and Cents

I’m running behind on my research and writing during the past couple of weeks. Everyone in our house but the dog has been sick for much of that time, and unfortunately the dog is not able to cook us food or clean the house. We’re all on the mend and feeling much better, but needless to say it’s been a drag.

Eddie: “Sorry, I don’t know how to use the stove. Also that would be a very bad idea.”

As I start building up some more material to write about (currently going through the April 1941 letters), I’ll post a couple of quick blog posts about interesting topics that may not necessarily justify a longer discussion.

For example . . . think about two things most people possess today: food and photographs. Food is expensive, while photographs, thanks to smart phones, are virtually free. In fact, we now live in the age of the “food selfie,”
in which folks order exotic or elaborate meals while traveling, and then upload pictures of the spread and of themselves to social media.

In 1941, however, those price points were reversed . . . on March 8th Elmer described a meal that he had purchased in Honolulu to his parents, which included the following fare:

  • Pineapple cocktail
  • Pork chops
  • French-fried potatoes
  • Lima Beans
  • Apple pie and ice cream

How much did all that sumptuous food cost? 45 cents!

However, Elmer’s parents requested that he send a photo of himself back to Saint Louis. They wanted to see for themselves how he was doing. Since Instagram would not be invented for another 75 years or so, Elmer had to go into town and order portrait photographs. This required an appointment with a photographer (booked in advance), plus about two weeks for development.

He ordered six 4×3″ pictures. The cost? Four dollars.

That’s a lot of pork chops and ice cream.

If you could buy any meal you wanted for less than a dollar, what would it be? Please leave a comment and let us know!

Image result for 1940s diner public domain

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