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+7
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Then: Minimum Wage

        For Sale: $20,500

Now: Minimal Existence

        For Sale: $25,000

$1.25 an hour.  Wow.  I was making money.   It was 1964 and I had my very first job working at Travel Town in Griffith Park.  It didn't matter that I was scared to death that first morning.  Of both working with the public and my very demanding twenty-five-year-old boss.  She was tall, blonde and so much other older than I.  Worldly, sophisticated and she could work the cash register and give out change without having to count on her fingers!

Somehow I make it through that first day and came home to our usual Sunday steak dinner and the Ed Sullivan show.  I sat across the table from my younger sister, knowing that I had passed into a new realm, one that she wouldn't reach for a few years.  I was little bit more mature.  A little bit full of myself.  But just a little.  

That first day on the job gave me a taste of the future.  A future I wanted to jump into, but one I was still a little afraid of.  Of course, my parents told me not to worry.  And to remember to always save for a rainy day.  But what did they know?    

As the summer passed, my bank account grew and the fear of that first morning fell away with my adolescence.

I'm pretty sure my experience wasn't an isolated one and that today's teens still taste a bit of fear as they start their first job.  

The difference is the minimum wage has increased significantly.  It is now $7.25.  Which is about a 580% increase.

But in relation to the costs of everyday items such as postage stamps which have gone from .05 cents to .44 cents (an 880 percent increase) and gas which sky rocketed from .30 to over $3.00 (1,000 percent) the minimum wage has barely caught up.

Cars today cost what a home did back then.  Back then the average yearly income would qualify for today's low income housing.  

But then some things haven't gone up that much and actually are coming down, with the economy the way it is.  Milk averaged $1.06 in 1964 and has only increased about 100% and the same goes for eggs and bread.

But who can live on eggs and bread alone?  

Today's young adults not only face the fear of entering the workplace but of finding jobs where they can actually support themselves.    

I guess if I knew back then what I know now, I'd have planned better for my future.  But as young adults we know everything, don't we?  

It's not until we get to be much older that we realize how smart our parents are.  It's not until we turn into them, that we realize they were right all along.  

So, the cost of living may have gone up 1,000% but one thing that hasn't changed is the parent/child relationship.  

It's still based on 100% love.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • Hi Termagsea,

       I live in Southern California.  But thanks for inviting me.
      Have a wonderful Sunday.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • Love this post. It really gets you thinking!



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • Hi Cindy,

       Thanks.  Have a great day!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Terri Simmons wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • this is sooooo true.scary,but true.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • Terri,

       Thanks for you comment.   Have a wonderful Sunday.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mz. Queen wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • No comments but I thoroughly enjoyed the article.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • 47ntiredorunnin-

       Thanks.  I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Janie



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marya1961 wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • Excellent post...thanks for sharing.estatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • Mayra - Thanks for stopping by.

      Debra - estatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tinaf wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • Janie, you worked at Travel Town???  I went there all the time when my boys were little.

      My first job was at Fotomat and I’m pretty sure I started at $2.40 an hour.  Anyone remember Fotomat?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Scottishrose6 wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • I remember fotomat. I have no idea how much money I made at my first job. My mind doesn’t recall details from my teens and twenties :(



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Justjer wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • Great post, as usual...I REMEMBER FOTOMAT!  And the kicker is, it was on MY very fist job (at a stationery store/office supply company)that I first encountered Fotomat.  They had a photo stand when they opened their account...Was Fotomat born in Van Nuys?  That’s where my job/life was. The company grew very fast and very well...Fotomat, I mean. Are they still around?
      Once again, Janie, thanks for the memories...Remember Office Supply Co? I know you do....Just as I remember Travel Town and the Train et al.
      Later



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marilyn09 wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • I remember a visit that I had with my Aunt once when I was younger- around 16 maybe.
      The advice that she gave me was to never by a house that is more than what you can make in one year! estatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Poollady3 wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • I remember a Photobug. It was a drive-up booth where you dropped off film and picked up your pictures....a week later! Now you can have them within and hour or print them out at home. And I think it still costs about the same.  

      Remember the 110 film? I have so many of those negatives. I have a converter for 35mm. I wish it would work on the 110



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Frannie1964 wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • My first job was Taco Bell, 3.25 an hour I believe.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lazylola wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • estatic My first job was picking cotton, I was about 5, I didn’t see a paycheck...not sure what they paid, my mother collected our/her earnings...



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • Tina - Of course, I remember Fotomat.  And yes..I used to give birthday parties in the trains for the little kids besides working the concession stand.

      Scottish  - Some days I can’t remember much, either.

      Justjer -  I could I ever forget Office Supply Company!

      Marilyn - Good advice from your aunt, but it wouldn’t apply today, or most people wouldn’t even own a home.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 20, 2009
    • Poollady - I remember that 110 film.  I almost wish I still used my 35mm.  At least then I got my photos developed.  Now they stay in my camera for years!

      Frannie - Was it fun working at Taco Bell?

      Lazylola - We used to pick cherries, but just to eat.

      Thank you for all your comments.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Debbie McGinn wrote Sep 21, 2009
    • Hi Janie, just got a chance to read your blog - love it!  My parents paid $18,000 for their house in 1963 - now the houses in that neighbor are selling for around $400,000.So true that you don’t realize how right your parents are until you grow up.  So true about kids - my son is 16 and I am trying to teach him what my parents taught me.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 21, 2009
    • Debbie -

       Thanks for sharing your comment.  I hope this week is a good one for you.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jen Hill wrote Sep 21, 2009
    • It is amazing how little the minimum wage has increased considering the dramatic increases in the cost of living.  Great post and lots of good things to reflect on, many thanks!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 21, 2009
    • Jen,

       Thanks for your comment.  It does make you think, doesn’t it?

      Janie



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Sep 21, 2009
    • Great post Janie.

      Yes.... if we only knew then what we know now things would of been different for all of us. My kids quickly figured out that with only a bachelor under their belt they are not going places, and sat down to tackle their masters. They are in such a hurry to get started with life...so much passion so much enthusiasm, no fear....that was left for me to do....

      It’s very scary now more than ever, with college kids not being able to get jobs...but it’s great to see our little munchkins trying to make it regardless of difficulties ahead of them.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lilwhitedaisy wrote Sep 21, 2009
    • well that brought back memories!...i do not remember what i got paid in my first job, stocking shelves!! but i do remember how i felt the first time i got a pay check, it was a hard lesson in budgeting, i think i spent it in one weekend! never happend again, i opened a savings account, and put money away each week. I have been budgeting ever since!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 21, 2009
    • Lil - I used to budget better than I do now!  Good for you.

      Yana - Thanks for you compliment.  I’m glad you like this post.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Wald Guarino wrote Sep 21, 2009
    • Great post.

      I remember Fotomat. Back when one took film to get it developed and printed. Now we have digital cameras and printers and are able to print our own or place them online.

      My first job was working p-t for the local library.  I enjoyed working there. It was my first paycheck.
      I must say moving from p-t library job to my summer intern job/f-t with state Commercial Vehicle Div. for a file job made me more nervous and excited.  It was in Boston, main big city. :)

      Interesting to note on the buying house.  As others, my parents paid what one pays for a car now for their house.
      When my husband and I were looking my mom mention what they paid, but also said for them it seemed a lot back then.
      So perhaps there is some relativity.
      ...  tho I don’t understand how things always seem to go UP.  :)



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Robin Clark wrote Sep 21, 2009
    • I remember my first job.  I made $4.00 an hr.  I made that for 5 years.  I remember when you went into grocery stores and the only thing that you got was groceries.  Now you go in and you can buy your lunch and your supper.  The way things have changed now a days is amazing.  With the way things are going now a days young kids are lucky to be able to find a job out there. So good luck to all the young folks out there on finding a job and be thankful when you are able to find one to get your foot in the door someplace.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Georgygrl wrote Sep 24, 2009
    • Hi Janie,that was a great post.I too remember gas being .55 and my first job was a shampoo girl at 13.And worked everyday after that till I became diabled,and boy did that turn or lives topsy turvey.
      This gets you really thinking of how much life has changed for us and whats in store for our children.
      Thank you
      Sunshine & Smiles



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Angela White wrote Sep 24, 2009
    • My first job was for a hospital gift shop.  I volunteered on weekdays and got paid $3/hr on weekends.  And I could fill up my gas tank with a $10 bill and get change back!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 24, 2009
    • Yes...I used to get fifty cents from a few of my friends, fill up my tank and drive to the beach.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Encee wrote Sep 25, 2009
    • My first job was working at a mall after school and I earned $2.50 an hr in 1974.  Gas was about .53/gallon and all of us kids used to carpool to save money!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Frannie1964 wrote Sep 25, 2009
    • Janie...It actually was alot of fun working at Taco Bell. I liked all my co-workers and the managers there were so much fun to work with, they had become my friends out of work, but now a days In most work places they don’t want you to be too friendly with your bosses.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 25, 2009
    • Lisa - Things never go down much in price, do they?  

      Robin - I do remember when a grocery store was just that - a place to buy food.  

      Georgeygrl - I guess we never do know what’s in store for us, until we get there.

      Nancy - Now if we all put money in to fill the tank, it’d be about ten buck each.  

      Ladies - Thanks for all your wonderful comments.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janet Wooley wrote Sep 26, 2009
    • I used to babysit for .50/an hour, remember that?  Good blog.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 26, 2009
    • Janet - Yes.  Thanks for reminding me.  And it was more than enough to buy a gallon of gas.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Faye43 wrote Oct 4, 2009
    • My first job paid $3.65/hr. Sad to say that is more than I make now.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tetsy66 wrote Oct 6, 2009
    • Have fun with your life..smiles a lot, love more..and enjoy the simple life.



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