Byron McNutt
Byron McNutt


If you’re at least 60 years-old, you need to share the following with your kids and grandkids. These are comments made by folks in the mid-1950s and are in stark contrast with how we live today.

Sure, times have changed. Young folks today can’t imagine how their grandparents and great-grandparents, recovering from WWII and the Korean War, could possibly live and support a family while earning less than $100 a week.

There is a movement today about raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, or as high as $15 per hour. Well, back in 1955, the federal minimum wage was raised from 75 cents per hour to $1 per hour on August 12.

I’ve heard people say they think they had more discretionary money and buying power 40 years ago than they have today. They made much less per week but they could buy the things they needed and still have money left over. Not the case today.

What happened? Everything has been supersized. We had limited options back then and we were more able to get along with smaller expectations.

In the 1950s, if you were fortunate to have a television, you probably got three channels, and they were free. No one dreamed that one day we’d pay for programming. If you had a telephone, it was on a party line. Probably cost less than $3 per month. Needy families only had toilet paper on Fridays!

Okay, here’s a list of comments made in 1955, just 59 years ago. After you’ve read them, make a list of things true today that might seem just as outrageous just 20 years from now.

- I’ll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it’s going to be impossible to buy a week’s groceries for $20.

- Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won’t be long before $2,000 will only buy a used one.

- If cigarettes keep going up in price, I’m going to be forced to quit smoking. A quarter a pack is ridiculous.

- Did you hear, the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter!

- If they raise the minimum wage to $1, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store.

- When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 29 cents a gallon. Guess we’d be better off leaving the car in the garage.

- Those duck tail hair cuts are horrible. Next thing you know boys will be wearing their hair as long as the girls.

- I’m afraid to send my kids to the movies any more. Since Clark Gable was allowed to say “Damn” in Gone With The Wind every new movie will be littered with either Hell or Damn.

- Scientists now think it’s possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century. They even have some fellows called astronauts preparing for it down in Texas. Crazy talk!

- Some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year. At that rate, a ballplayer will someday make more than the President!

- I never thought I’d see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric. They are even making electric typewriters. We’re all going to get electrocuted!

- It’s getting tough to make a living nowadays. I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet.

- It won’t be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work.

- Marriage doesn’t mean a thing any more. Those Hollywood stars seem to be getting divorced at the drop of a hat.

- I’m afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business.

- Thank goodness I won’t live to see the day when the government takes half our income in taxes. I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to Congress?

- The fast food restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on.

- There is no sense going to Green Bay or Madison anymore for a weekend, it costs nearly $15 a night to stay in a hotel.

- No one can afford to be sick anymore, at $35 a day in the hospital it’s too rich for my blood.

- If they think I’ll pay 50 cents for a hair cut, forget it. I’ll just cut my own hair.


H. Jackson Browne, Jr. said, “Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you.”

The legacy we pass to our children is not through words, but actions. They watch each time we bring flowers to a sick friend or invite a lonely neighbor to dinner.

And one day, when they find themselves doing the same caring acts, they’ll remember: the lessons of home were well worth learning.