Check out this grocery order made by my newlywed aunt and uncle in June 1930: flour, meal, coffee, sugar, salt, pepper, soda, baking powder, tea, matches, rice, grits, laundry and bath soap, canned milk, ketchup, dry butter beans and peas, kerosene. …
Check out this grocery order made by my newlywed aunt and uncle in June 1930: flour, meal, coffee, sugar, salt, pepper, soda, baking powder, tea, matches, rice, grits, laundry and bath soap, canned milk, ketchup, dry butter beans and peas, kerosene. Care to guess the price for this grocery bill? It totaled $4.01.
One pound of coffee was 35 cents. The tea cost 18 cents and a box of grits was 9 cents.
My uncle signed a credit contract for furniture they purchased from Central Iron and Coal Company Commissary at Kellerman, Ala, that same month. It totaled $398.30 including a bedroom suite itemized as a walnut vanity, bed and chifforobe (a piece we now refer to as a wardrobe) with a price of $89.50. One mattress cost $12, another cost $5.
Other items on that bill were: one kitchen sink, complete, $5.76; one oil range, $56.31; one wool rug, $37.50; one refrigerator, $24.82. I could visualize that refrigerator — probably one with a motor on top. When my husband and I moved into our first apartment as newlyweds in 1953, one of its furnishings was an old refrigerator with a motor on top.
Other pieces in that furniture grand total were two rockers, a chair, a bench, two sets of bedsprings, a set of pillows, a stove filter, a felt rug, a linoleum rug, screen wire, a set of dishes, window shades, a $9 floor lamp and an electric iron.
Incidentally, I was a bit surprised to see an electric iron, because I remembered both my grandmothers using irons they heated on the stove. However, a bit of research confirmed that electric irons were available at that time.
In 1980, when Aunt Roberta and Uncle Red (his real name was Virgil, his nickname came from his red hair) celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, my mother and I drove to Brent, Ala., to join the celebration of the memorable event. Somehow, someone had found those grocery and furniture receipts. Their oldest son, my cousin Glen, framed them and put them on display in his store.
Mother and I joined the couple, their two sons and families, and their daughter and her family, for worship at their church on Sunday morning. By the time we all crowded in, we filled at least one and a half pews. The anniversary reception followed that afternoon in the fellowship hall.
I always loved being around the honored couple. They both had a great sense of humor. While preparing for that occasion, Aunt Roberta dubbed herself the “golden girl.” Uncle Red escorted me to a Sunday school class and introduced me as the “young bride” he was starting the next 50 years with. That drew a big laugh from the class members whom he had known for years.
Today if I concentrate hard, I can still picture those grocery and furniture orders that caught my eye. Most of all, I treasure the fellowship and love we shared on that anniversary day in June 1980.
Nina Keenam is a former resident of Baldwin County and Staff Writer for The Foley Onlooker.