For the past two years I’ve tried to keep up good reports and to hear my cardiologist’s words, “See you in six months” I’ve been trying to get back into an exercise routine, so, weather permitting, I’ve been walking two to three times a week around 5:00 a.m., from our Stowe St. home to the Third St. Bridge and back. On the route I set up and mostly walk (with the occasional change now and then), the hike is about 3.2 miles and takes me about an hour to complete. I have a treadmill but prefer to walk outside. It makes me feel like I’m starting somewhere and actually traveling a distance to a place and then coming back to where I started. When walking on the treadmill, I feel like my wheels are spinning during my walk because I’m not really getting anywhere.
As I walk through downtown, I remember what used to be including clothing, shoe and jewelry, nickels, dimes, banks, bakeries/cafes, drug stores, restaurants and where some full service gas stations are located in the Downtown were Jamestown.
When I think of these gas stations and their locations, I try to remember the much lower cost of gas we paid back then (I started driving in 1969) and the times “gas wars” especially on East 2nd St, sometimes as low as .16/gallon every now and then. However, we went through a brief period where we could only buy petrol based on our license plate number and date. Records ending odd could only be bought on odd days of the month and vice versa.
My thoughts sometimes bring me to the comparison of costs then and now, I think of the feeling felt by many that gas prices may be the product of the person who works in the Oval Office today.
It seems some feel that a president sets the price of gas. It is particularly evident when the person in the Oval Office changes political affiliation. Then the fingers begin to point with full force.
In 1964, a song sung by Shirley Ellis entitled “The Name Game” caused quite a stir and was a popular sing-along song with the 45 vinyl disc spinning on our record players, the clock radios in our bedrooms, car stereos, though Papa let us listen to our stations on the car stereo, or through the one set of headphones that came with our transistor radios that delivered the music of our generation.
If we think about who is to blame for the soaring prices, we could use the tune from Ellis’ hit song but rewrite the lyrics and then call it ‘The Blame Game’.”
We live in a different time than when we were children, even as young adults. Whenever prices go up, we feel the need to blame someone. Food prices have gone up. The prices for new houses have risen immensely. Car prices have skyrocketed, with some new cars reaching or exceeding almost double what Sally and I paid for our house in 1984. If you look at Game Show Network and see when someone won a car in the 1970’s, the average cost of a new car was about $3542.00 if the gas mileage was about 0.36 per gallon. Average salaries and hourly wages (the minimum wage in the 1970’s was about $1.25 an hour) were also much lower then, as were the costs of houses, food, clothing, entertainment and everything else back then. The ratio of wages and wages to the cost of living may not have been as great then as we now assume compared to now.
There are many reasons for the rise in the cost of living over the past 50 years. It’s a domino effect. The cost of producing goods has increased, food costs more to grow and raise, the demand for goods and entertainment has increased significantly. Technological advances, also known as the computer age, have created new ways of teaching students, our demand for computers, smartphones and watches, the medical devices used today, the desire for larger TV screens, drones and new ways of cooking have created much of the increasing cost of living. The list goes on and on. We want these items, and in many cases we need them to survive in today’s world. Check out all the ways we can use our mobile devices just to go to a concert, ball game or a movie as opposed to the paper tickets we used to be able to use, and this list goes on and on too .
If someone is to be blamed, it cannot be placed on just one person. It’s the result of many things. It is supply and demand, the cost of production, the growing/rearing of food, the increase in the cost of living, the increase in salaries/wages that have brought us to where we are today. If blame is to be placed, it should be on all of us, whether by necessity or desire. It’s not a person’s fault, no matter what political party they belong to.
A saying I used a lot in school was: “When you point one finger (blame) at someone else, three fingers are still pointing at you.” Food for thought?