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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 10, 1911)
VOLUME 11, NUMBER 44
A Few Rcminisccnscs
Tho other evening I fell to rumi
nating on a lot of things, but chiefly
on the "high cost of living." Porhaps
tho fact that it was tho first of tho
month and "bill day" was responsible
for it. Anyhow, after digging up to
satisfy the butcher and baker and
candlestick maker I boarded a train
of thought and took a rido.
Of course wo are spending more
for living expenses than wo used to
spend, but isn't it a fact that it is
becauso we deem a lot of things
necessaries now that we and our
parents used to look upon as
luxuries? Take electric lights, for
instance. During October I spent
almost ?4 for lighting my humble
little cottage and we just couldn't
get along without electric lights.
But wouldn't our parents have had
a duck fit if the monthly kerosene
bill had amounted to one-fourth of
And thirty or forty years ago we
used to huddle around an old bar
rel stove, crammed ful of wood, on
a winter's evening. Only one room
was "hot" in those days. Now we
have a furnace in the basement and
the very thoughts of going to bed
in a cold bedroom give us the shivers.
I believe that my father used to get
through an entire winter with a fuel
bill about equal to what mine is for
one of the winter months."
Then we used to get our water
from a pump, lugging it into the
house. Every winter morning we
had to thaw the pump out, too. Now
we have to have water in the kitchen,
.und all we do is turn the faucet. If
the pipe's freeze up and they do
It means a big plumber's bill, or a
plumber's big bill, whichever way
you want to put it.
Unless one of them is fortunate
enough to have a sealskin jacket the
husband is due to buy a now cloak
about every other year usually
every year. Say, Mr. Man, wouldn't
your good wife pour warm words into
your ear if you suggested that she
buy a good warm shawl and wear it
winter after winter, like your mother
did? I remember that when a very
small boy a wealthy member of the
church where father preached gave
mother a fine Poisely shawl. I guess
she was about the proudest woman in
America that winter and for a
score of succeeding winters. She
wore it until I was a man grown, and
it is today a precious heirloom. But
wouldn't our wives "holler" if they
had to wear tho same cloaks twelve
or fifteen years in succession?
I don't know whether we live any
better than our parents did, for they
seemed to thrive and enjoy life. But
some of our necessities now would
have appalled them then. We love
to sit around and complain about the
high cost of living, but, after all,
perhaps our troubles are due in large
part to the cost of high living.
If we were content to get along
with what our' parents got along
with, living would be pretty cheap
these days. I can remember when
we got eight or nine pounds of light
brown sugar for a dollar; when we
paid a' dollar a pound for tea, and
$2 for a 50-pound sack of flour, and
25 cents for calico that we now get
for 6 or 8 cents; and for $2.50 we
got a better pair of shoes than we
now get for $4.50, even if they didn't
look quite so "swell" in those days;
and 40 cents a gallon for kerosene;
and if father paid over $7.50 for a
suit of clothes for me I was prouder
than a' king, while now it costs from
$18 to $20 for a suit that isn't a bit
better, although rather more sightly.
Do you remember how you used
to go barefooted until it became so
cold that the frozen clods fairly cut
into your feet, and then how father
used to take you down to the village
store and buy you a pair of copper
toed boots? That pair of boots had
to last you until the green got back
in the trees and usually we had to
make 'em last two winters. All of
us went barefooted, when we were
kiddies, but the sight of a barefooted
child is unusual in these latter days.
With five husky, growing, romping
kiddies around the house it just
seems as if I averaged buying about
five pairs of shoes a month and it is
aggravating, too, because it does
seem as if every one of the five de
mands a new pair at the same time.
coal just when the blizzard strikes
That when you have a bad cold
you get a thousand "sure cures" that
cured everybody but you?
That the best trips always happen
when you are too busy to take them?
That it is easy to find kindling
wood in the summer when we don't
need it, and awfully hard in the
winter when wo just must have it?
That it is a' lot easier to think of
things like these than it is to think
about pleasant things?
A cheap man always delivers a
similar line of goods.
The man who says he never makes
mistakes is making a mighty big one.
It costs a lot to be a "good fellow,"
but it costs nothing to be a good
This is tho season of year when
everybody is advised to "do your
Christmas shopping early," and no
body does it.
So far we have managed to resist
the temptation to purchase one of
those fuzzy hats but we can feel
Nothing tickles us more than the
sight of a man with false teeth who
thinks that he is concealing the fact
that he wears 'em.
We never see a young man with
a' beautifully curled moustache but
what we wonder a bit how much
time he wasted on it.
The man or woman who knows
how to grow old gracefully has
acquired about all the knowledge
necessary to make life worth living.
If we had made the world we
would have left out a lot of the
troublesome things, and quite likely
overlooked making most of the good
V in rra
I We are waiting for some house
hold economic sharp to tell us how
to keep the baby from kicking all
the bedclothes off in the middle of
We are mighty happy to relate
that the Little Woman has never yet
made the Architect a Christmas
present manufactured after the direc
tions for a "Beautiful Christmas gift
for father" found in the Woman's
"What has become of that man
who used to say he was a servant of
"The people had to let him go," re
plied Farmer Corntossel. "He got
to be ono of these hired men who
stand around talkin' when they
ought to be at work." Washington
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And the matter of restaurants and
hotels. Thirty or forty years ago
you paid 25 cents maybe 50 for a
room at the hotel. Now you pay a
dollar or a dollar and a half two
rlrillfiT'cj f vroi ora o Vlr Qvtrai7ornnt
And if any moderate hotel charged X
more than 50 cents for a meal there
'was a yell loud enough to be heard
over in the next county. A quarter
was the average price for a meal
then, but a quarter won't buy more
than coffee and rolls now. Today
we go into a dining room, have a
colored gentleman slide a chair under
us, hand us a napkin, hustle a glass
of water, hand us a bill of fare and
then rearrange all tho things on the
A PERSONAL WORD
Laws-a-massy, if we got one dish
of ice cream a month on an average
In the old days we were dissinatinK
a lot; now it's almost a staple article table while we scan the menu.
or diet, -men we UBuany got a couple "Fillet of beef, 60c;" "potatoes, any
of weekly papers, usually the county
paper and a religious journal, al
though some of the wealthy people
actually subscribed for Harper's or
Littell's Living Age. Now we have
to have a morning paper at tho
breakfast table, and about a dozen
magazines and from three to a dozen
weekly papers. And we need them,
Then there's the telephone. Say,
the telephone is responsible for a lot
of expense that our parents knew
nothing about. It is so easy to tele
phone to the grocer's and order any
old thing we happen to think of
and tho grocer usually manages to,
Temind you or a few things you never
style, 10c;" "coffee, 10c;" and so on.
If we are not very hungry we escape
on a dollar. And we don't think
about it as being extravagant until
the first of the month when we be
gin trying to make tho previous
month's income cover the outlay.
And while we are trying it we are
complaining about "the high cost of
Let's forget it! If we are not con
tent to live as our parents lived, and
must have a lot of things they never
dreamed of, let's pay the bill with
25- And the women folks, bless 'em!
That the best bargain sales always
happen when you are broke?
That you discover you are out of
I am mailing out "Kiddies
Six" to subscribers this week.
You'll get your copy in a few
days. I know I promised
them October 10, but I didn't
figure on delays. Couldn't
get the cloth I wanted for
binding, and rather than take
something inferior I waited.
Sorry I couldn't find time to
write every subscriber and
explain the delay, but didn't
have time. Neither did the
Little Woman. But tho books
are going out now and it's
worth tho wait. That is, I
think so. Anyhow it's tho
best I had in me.
I'll send you ono postpaid
for a dollar. "Kiddies Six"
contains a lot of tho verses
that have appeared in The
Commoner from time to time
during the last five or six
years - my verses, mostly
about tho children and homo
and homo things. You may
not like tho book after you
get it, and if you do not, send
it back and I'll return the
dollar. That's fair, isn't it?
Thank you for your patience.
I won't promise my next
volume until tho printer de
livers it to me. Sincerely
yours, WILL M. MAUPIN.
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