Long Ago

When I first came to Canada I’d just left the RAF where I earned £20 per week and a free house. In those days £20 would have been about $40. The land of opportunity, huh! Everywhere I went I got the same answer. “Sorry your over educated for the position.” I couldn’t find anywhere where they were hiring rocket scientists so in desperation I put my ignorant suit on and tried for work any and everywhere. Believe it or not I got an offer of employment at a lumber factory. They made just about anything out of wood.
“So you’re a wood machinist, are you?” said the foreman.
“Sure,” I lied.
I figured if I was over educated then it can’t be all that difficult working with wood. A keen eye and a little common sense, nothing to it. I was rumbled immediately.
“What’s that?” he said pointing to an enormous thingy that had an electric motor attached to it. I could think of no possible use for the thing, and shrugged my shoulders.
“It’s a router.” He was a gentleman and showed me what to do with it.
Fabulous, I was in and working for $1.87 per hour. A 45 hour week – that adds up to a massive $84.45 per week about £42.00
Now you have to realize that cigarettes were $1.60 for 20, and gasoline was 47 cents a gallon. You could buy a hamburger, fries and a milkshake and get 5 cents change from a dollar. The job lasted three months when I managed get a position working in a munitions factory repairing radar gun sights at $3.45 per hour and only a 40 hour week. When all’s said and done it’s insanity. I retired around the turn of the century leaving a job that paid $22.00 an hour or the equivalent thereof. But now a milkshake costs $2.50 and a hamburger’s around $4.50, and gasoline has gone up a little too. Now it’s around $6.25 per gallon. At least one thing has gone down. A pound sterling is now only $1.55.