Back Then


Those Were the Good Old Days


Every time I watch TV and that dude comes on the screen saying, "Remember when candy bars were a dime?" I say to myself, "A dime, hell! That ain't nothing!" I remember when you could buy a full quarter pound Baby Ruth, Clark Bar, Chicken Dinner Bar or an Oh Henry Bar for a 'git' (five cents).

Back then you could rent a two or three room furnished apartment with all utilities for a sawbuck a week and they carried out the garbage. You could get a loaf of bread for a dime, canned milk, twelve cans for six bits, dried beans ten cents a quart, streak or lean salt pork a 'git' a pound, potatoes fifteen cents a peck, cabbage a 'git' a head, coffee, fifteen cents a pound, rice ten pounds for half a buck, salt dried codfish a 'git' a pound and cigarettes a dime a pack.

You could go into a restaurant and for thirty five cents get ham, eggs, taters, three slices of toast, butter, jelly and drink all the coffee you wanted. Shoes were a 'trey' a pair, pants a 'deuce,' shirts a buck and a half.

Streetcar fare was a 'git', the subway a dime, and if you knew how to juggle the transfers, you could ride all day for your dime and wind up back home.

'U' could go to the movies for a dime and see a feature film, comedy, serial episode, a travel log and the news. During intermission, you could step out into the lobby and get a big bag of hot buttered (real butter) popcorn for a 'git' or for a dime get either a hot dog or a Polish sausage on a steamed bun with all the relish, sauerkraut or mustard you could pile on it and they gave you a glass of orange or lemon juice to wash it down with for free.

You could go into a saloon and get a twenty-two ounce mug of ice cold beer for a dime and help yourself to all the crab cakes, steamed shrimp, raw oysters, steamed clams and cheese and crackers that you could eat.

You could see a burlesque show with five or six broads, straight man comics and a seven piece band for half a buck. You could go down to the 'Red Light' district and make it in the pad with either of the Rhea sisters, Gonorrhea, Diarrhea or Pyorrhea for a deuce and eat at the 'Y' for free.

Those were the days that the Ice Man came, but...not so often in the winter months, because almost everyone had an "Italian refrigerator" (an empty apple box or orange crate nailed to the outside ledge of their windows to keep food in).

Back then, if you went hungry, it was because you were a paraplegic in a wheelchair or had two broken legs, and couldn't run. In the morning there was a quart bottle or two of milk sitting on the doorstep of almost every house, plus a metal box with cheese, butter, eggs and bread on it.

Yeah, those were the good old days, but then along came the talking movies and vaudeville was soon phased out.

To be Continued


Posted here courtesy of Midway Publications - Copyright 1999 William T. Usher All rights reserved


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