Every girl can tell you that there are the everyday things and then there are the important things. The important things vary from girl to girl, and are partly their personality and partly the way they mimic their mother. From the moment a girl is old enough to notice the everyday essential things that her mother has or does, she starts to develop her own list of the important things. One of the first things many little girls notice is their mom’s purse. They instinctively know that Mom’s purse is important. It seems like everything she needs in in there. With that discovery, they decide that a purse is a must have for them too. The things little girls keep in their purse are different than their mom’s, because at this time in their life, toys and lollipops are just more important.
Of course, the use of the purse changes as girls get older. With the discovery of makeup, comes not only a time of experimentation, but a time of change in purse contents. A girl just can’t go anywhere without the ability to freshen her makeup, you know. One other thing that usually happens at this point is that Mom’s makeup is no longer safe, and really needs to be put away in a place that is too high for her little angel to reach, because I don’t know a single little girl who hasn’t used her mother’s makeup and not had disastrous results…for the makeup anyway. And, yes, I think for her little face too.
At some point, maybe after the makeup phase, or maybe during the makeup phase, the dress up phase begins. Your little princess starts trading her sensible shoes, for your high heels. She may also borrow some of your clothes too, because she is pretending that she is you. In her make believe world, she heads off to work, just like you do every day, or if you are a stay at home mom, she wants to cook dinner, change the baby, or clean the house. The biggest problem with this phase is that it is all too quickly over, and she goes back to wanting to play and not help out around the house. Have you every noticed just how quickly our kids grow up and begin a life of their own, leaving behind them all of the memories of their little kid days, for us to sort through and feel quite lonely over? We miss the little person they were, and if it were possible we would love to have that person back…especially when their teenaged years begin.
Yes, when the teenaged years start, many of us begin to wonder just who the child is? We thought we knew who they were and who they were going to be. Then suddenly, and without warning, all they want to do is talk on the phone with their friends…or boyfriends, as it were. Once again, the important things have changed, as they spread their wings and try to figure out who they want to be, and the kind of life they want to live. You are no longer the only real influence in their lives. Yours are no longer the only priorities in their lives. There are other hopes, dreams, and goals on their minds now. You have been relegated to being the back up plan. You are the one they come to when they have a problem no one else can fix, and you become the babysitter when they want to spend alone time with their spouse. Those are wonderful things and I don’t know of a parent or grandparent who doesn’t love being there for their adult children, but somehow…in the back of your mind, you can still see the little girl…your little princess, who is trying to figure out just what the important things are, while you are trying to figure out, where the time has gone.
When my great aunt, Bertha Schumacher Hallgren wrote her journal, she said that, “making a record of the simple, everyday things you see, feel, and hear around you – and passing them on to posterity” would make you famous. It seems such a simple thing, and yet, whether Bertha was famous in her time or not, her journal has definitely been read by many people now, so I guess she was famous with the people who mattered. Aren’t her family members among the most important ones to read her writings. I think they are. Bertha said to write about the simple everyday things. That really is something that can have an impact on the reader.
In her journal, Bertha talks about the first family car. It was brand new, and state of the art…and they paid $650.00 for it. When we buy a new car now, $650.00 seldom covers the monthly payment. The car itself costs upward of $31,000.00, and could cost much more. I realize that wages were much smaller when Bertha was a girl, but I have to wonder if she would just about pass out if she heard the cost of a car now. When people put gasoline in their car in 1925 they paid approximately 20 cents a gallon. These days $3.35 is pretty good for gas prices, and in some places, they pay as much as $4.35. And that is just today. Gas prices have gone up and down, and has been $6.00 a gallon before. I doubt if people from 1925 ever thought we would end up paying that kind money for gasoline today. We, of course, would love to be able to buy gasoline for 20 cents a gallon, but those days are gone forever.
When we look back on the prices of things in history, I think most are likely in proportion with the wages, for the most part. But, when we look at the difference in the prices of things, we seldom think about the wage difference. We just wonder how they expect people to pay such a horrible price for these things. I think it doesn’t occur to us that most likely we are making more money and so the prices of things aren’t really so far out of line with the wages we make. Gas prices, especially hit hard, because the people of the United States are a very mobile people. We like our cars, and we want to be able to go when we want, and where we want. And, sometimes, that price at the pump starts eating into our ability to do that. We get annoyed.
I would love to be able to pay $650.00 for a new car like my great grandfather did years ago, but if you don’t mind, I would like to keep my wages right where they are when I buy that new car. That would make the price of that new car very appealing indeed…just not realistic. Whether we like it or not, the prices of things often have a pretty direct correlation with the wages of the day, and we will have to deal with it.