July 26, 1969: 1969 in Dollars

Went to see the Lloyd shopping center. Visited Jo Doty and we took the kids swimming and talked. Went back to camp early so Tim could fish.

Marge Binder, July 26, 1969

A few things here. Jo Doty was Mom’s roommate at Central Michigan when she and Dad met.

As for the Lloyd Shopping Center, it was a big deal! For a while it was the largest shopping center in the country. Huh, an open-air mall in rainy Portland: Genius! Someone finally figured out that a roof might help with the shopping experiences. Happily, it is indeed now enclosed.

Also, Tim fished.

The Price of Things…

It’s no surprise that prices increase over time, whether due to inflation or compassionate corporate stewardship. Here’s a sampling of some key items for families, including the ingredients for a killer cheese sandwich, a roadtrip staple.

ITEM1969 Average2019 Sampling/Average
Loaf of bread$0.23$2.19
Velveeta$0.68 (on sale! see below)$7.98
Yellow mustard$0.34$3.43
Gallon of gas$0.32CA:$3.84 MI:$2.75 VA:$2.49
Dozen eggs$0.62CA: $2 MI: $0.48 VA: $0.98
A&W Papa burger
A&W Mama burger
$0.95
$0.55
$3.99
$2.99 (only in Canada!)
In-state college tuition$1410$20,150
Movie ticket$1.42 $13.49
Annual wageMen: $6,860
Women: $2,250
Men: $38,900
Women: $24,900
Dollar$1$6.92

A late addition here, and I couldn’t get this table to update:

The first KOA in Billings, Montana charged $1.75 when it opened in the mid-60s. I just tried to book at the same place for a tent campsite. $55 a night! Maybe the campground business IS the future!

Back on June 26, I showed you how you could buy yourself a KOA. Too easy? Then check out how to BUILD one.

July 10, 1969: When A&W Ruled

Got Mike’s shot and new tennis shoes. Packed and drove along the coast thru L.A. to Pismo Beach. Set up at state beach park. Ate at the A&W.

Marge Binder, July 10, 1969

Though there was a McDonald’s in our little hometown of Vienna, VA, we didn’t patronize a single one on this entire journey — at least not according to Maw’s diary. As I’ve observed before, there were very few fast food chains back in the day. And the ones that existed like Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and even Taco Bell were limited in area and number. Dave Thomas was still four months away from opening the first Wendy’s.

Here’s a little wiki-history of fast food that reaches back to ancient Rome. Good luck getting them to “hold the pickles, hold the lettuce.”

We were an A&W family. Papa Burgers, Mama Burgers, Teen Burgers, Baby Burgers, Olive Burgers, so much selection! Of course, the A&W root beer was second to none. A root beer float passed into the backseat at one of their drive-ins? Sugary, creamy, carbonated heaven. And such convenience!

Here’s a little history of A&W, not including the fact that the Mama Burger is now only available in Canada. Canada!

Fun Fact

A&W celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1969, meaning that they are now 100 years old!

Un-fun Fact

A&W doesn’t even rank in the Top 50 fast food chains anymore. It has fewer than 600 stores in the US (only about 300 stand-alones), compared with 14,000 McDonalds and more than 25,000 Subways. [insert Sad Burger emoji]