Thursday, 15 December 2016

Christmas Eve Shopping 1944

This old receipt from the Simms house helps me imagine my Grandmother Mary, Christmas eve shopping for her family 72 years ago in 1944.  One stop shopping for gifts, candy, and even the wrapping paper for less than ten dollars! It sounds like so little but the Inflation Calculator online says that would be the equivalent of $131.23 today.   Her husband Alex  had died a little over 3 years before and there were 5 children to buy for.  Bob would have been 28 years old, Doris was 23, Gwen 21, and the twins Dorothy and my dad Donald were 12.

It would turn out to be the last Christmas of WWII but of course they wouldn't know that at the time. Rationing was in place for items like meat, butter, sugar, tea and coffee as well as gasoline, alcohol and silk. Being farmers, they produced their own meat and butter but had to use government issued coupons to purchase other restricted goods. The United Store in Oak River was Glinz's Store, run by Harvey and Mona Glinz. His brother, Art Glinz had retired from store keeping in 1943 but I recall him with his long-bladed speed skates whipping around the skating ice in the 1960's and 70's.

Simms Siblings in studio photo taken for their mother for Christmas on December 10, 1949.
Bob and Don in the back.  Doris, Dorothy and Gwen in front. 

The back of the receipt supplies a Kitchen Reminder - a list of popular shopping items for humans and their livestock of the time. I had to look up some (Apples - Evaporated, Glauber Salts, Junket, Oilcake Meal, Mapleine, and Mucilage) and others just made me cringe (Gopher Poison, Rat-Nip and Sulphur Flour).  It never ceases to amaze me with the things I can learn and imagine from one old piece of paper!



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