When I went out on Thursday for lunch, I did some errands and then just went to my corner pizza place which was having a lunch special of two slices of pizza and a medium soda for $5. I thought that was a pretty good deal until I started thinking about when I first moved to New York, you could get one slice of pizza and a can of soda for $1.
The more I thought of this, and thinking about how I keep reading that food prices have been raised the least, I thought OK, considering I got two slices, not one, that the price had just slightly doubled in just under 40 years which isn't bad.
When I moved to New York in 1974, I had a studio apartment whose rent was $167.50. Funny how we remember those amounts. (I also remember that my first office job provided me a whopping net paycheck of $96.50 a week.) There's no way you could find an apartment for double of what I paid. I would guess that my original New York apartment probably rents for about $1500 a month. It was small, had half a kitchen, but now the area it's in is far hipper than when I lived there.
But back to my $96.50 paycheck. When I made that, I had a new car and lived in a townhouse on Capitol Hill where the total rent for the house was $330. (Do you remember that amount, Mary?) I have no idea how much that entire house would rent for now -- $4000 or $5000? I don't know.
Finally, I was thinking about the first expensive dress I ever bought. I was a junior in college and there was this man who was from India and preyed on young college girls. Many of us fell for it, not for him romantically, but we were overly polite to him, overly respectful to him for the most part when all he wanted was to get his hands on our young American breasts.
He had invited me (as was his routine) to a party at the Indian embassy and I thought the excitement of going to an embassy party was worth having to somehow be aligned with him. Just the thought of an embassy party made me feel so cosmopolitan and sophisticated.
Of course, I had to dress the part so I went to Lord & Taylor which was in walking distance of school and tried on various dresses, but the one I fell in love with was $52. In those days, a "regular" dress would be in the neighborhood of $20.
I went back and forth, and finally decided to buy it. Hey, after all, I was going to an embassy party! This creep told me he would meet me at the party, which was fine with me. He also had led us all to believe that he was somehow a big deal with the embassy.
So I get all dolled up and present myself at the embassy door. Ok, here's where I start to cringe. I announced that I was a guest of [name of creep] only to be asked, "Who?" I repeated his name. If this happened on a reality tv show, they'd cue that crickets sound. I guess they took pity on me and let me in and I don't even remember how long I stayed. I felt like an idiot, and as I recall, I stayed about 15 minutes. Creep never showed up and of course later when I saw him and confronted him that the embassy people had no idea who he was -- that was some sort of misunderstanding, he was sure.
However, I still had that dress which I loved. Every time I wore it. It still gives me pleasure to think about it. I remember how sad I felt when it was finally worn out.