Today marks the 71st year my mother, Geri, has been alive. She was born in 1947 which, to me, feels like it was centuries ago. I will be her age in 2052, which also feels like it’s centuries in the future. Consider how much has changed in my mother’s lifetime. Here are some basic prices from the year she made her debut:
Average cost of new house: $6,600.00
Average wages per year: $2,850.00
Average cost of a new car: $1,300.00
Minimum wage: 40 cents per hour
Cost of a gallon of gas: 15 cent
Loaf of bread: 12 cents
United States postage stamp: 3 cents
Heinz cream of tomato soup: 23 cents for two cans
Leg of lamb: 59 cents per pound
Oranges: 49 cents per dozen
Even though my mother has witnessed dramatic changes over these seven decades, her childhood and mine had many similarities. When I took two cross country car trips with my dad, for instance, I used good, old fashioned paper maps to help him navigate. My five-year-old son probably will never see one of those. And, my mother and I corresponded by snail mail when I went away during the summers. My son can already text! Life just keeps getting more and more different as we age.
There’s also the issue of my parents aging. I cannot comprehend my mother and father ever dying. I still feel like a kid myself, so that seems like an absolute impossibility to me. I’ve always been realistic, however, about the fact that death is part of life. My four grandparents have been gone for quite some time, and I was extremely close to my dad’s parents. Still, the fact remains that I think of my own parents as being somewhat invincible. I am fortunate to have two 71-year-old parents who are in great health, but unless they’ve been harboring the secret that they’re both superheroes, they too will pass away. Until that happens, I’m going to continue operating under the belief that they both will live forever.