Jerry’s Journal

I really can’t say what brought it on, this reminiscing/thanking/philosophizing I’m about to share with  you.

Maybe it’s because spring has sprung (so we hope) and with it warm weather and April showers to make things grow again, and Easter and hope for a new day.

I like to believe there’s always something to look forward to!

It began earlier this week after a trip to the local supermarket and I make this astute observations: It costs a lot of money to eat healthy. What’s that you say? One red pepper and one sweet potato came to almost $3. No way!

Yes, way. And I think it’s worth it, too, because we can afford it. But what about people who can’t afford fruits and vegetables and eat mostly junk food, I rambled on to my loving husband, Ed, on our way home from our shopping trip.

Junk food is a lot cheaper; no wonder there’s so much obesity.

Well, okay, dear Readers, who am I to talk — I’m no size 5 myself, not even close — I love my sweets! I do try, however, to put a couple of kinds of vegetables on the dinner table and try to eat as healthy as I can.

One problem with this perfect scenario, though, is that I don’t like to cook! Nope, never did. I had to anyway, when the kids were growing up.

Cooking for two adults and four children day in and day out was just part of my good wife/mother routine and I thought nothing of it. You did what you had to do.

I wasn’t too fond of grocery shopping, either. I was never the dedicated coupon clipper and sale shopper. If something was on sale and I could use it I would buy it. Otherwise, I bought what I needed to get through the week.

We went from paycheck to paycheck, back then, when Mike’s pay came in the mail on Thursday. It was my day off, leave the little darlings at home with a baby sitter day, my day to go grocery shopping, pay the bills and perhaps look around in the stores downtown.

My last stop of the afternoon was to Angelo’s Big M on West First Street to buy our groceries, several bags full, which usually came to about $20. Yes, you remember it well, 20 bucks used to go a long way!

Besides, I sure could stretch out the staples: hamburger, chicken, pot roast, potatoes, carrots, spaghetti, a couple cans of tomatoes (to make the sauce), a few cans of veggies and chicken noodle and  tomato soup, a package of sliced cheese (tomato soup and grilled cheese, yum) a box of oatmeal and a box of cereal (my kids loved their cereal), a couple of loaves of white bread and a big jar of peanut butter and jar of jelly.

An egg lady and a milkman delivered their wares right to our door, and in the summer we had more fresh fruits and vegetables, otherwise they came from the can. My kids just loved canned peaches!

As you can see from my grocery list it wasn’t exactly “healthy eating” and I was no gourmet cook (my kids didn’t know the difference), our diet didn’t vary too much, but our bellies were full.

One week I spent $42 at the grocery store! Mike had overtime pay and we were low on several essentials (you just can’t do without sugar and flour and dish detergent and toilet paper) so I stocked up — two shopping carts full, no less — and they contained no junk food, well, maybe a half gallon of ice cream and one big bottle of soda pop.

Those were special treats for just once in a while. Most of the time, though, my kids were content with popcorn and orange juice for a treat Sunday night while they were watching the Wonderful World of Disney just before they went to bed.

Oh, the good old days! It was a whole different world back then.  It’s the world I sometimes long for, talk about with family and friends, but realize I can’t bring it back, so I try to “live for today,” as they say. It ain’t so bad, you know… .

We still can smile and be glad we have lived here in Fulton, New York — it’s a beautiful part of our country — and remember how good it was growing up in “the Little City of Power and Progress.”

To be sure, we are sad, it’s not as pretty and neat and tidy as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to love it to death.

We still can be thankful for the good living and jobs it gave us at Nestle’s, Sealright, Dilts, Armstrong, Niagara Mohawk, the telephone company, the canning factory, the box company, just to name a few, and for the good schools we went to — Oak Street, Erie Street, Phillips Street, State Street, Fairgrieve and Good Old Fulton High.

We can thank God for the friends we made along the way and for a chance to grow old with each other and see each other at Mimi’s, the Blue Moon, the Lock, and other great places to meet and eat here in our hometown. It’s so good we still can laugh and yes, still cry together.

We can be thankful for the amazing Oswego River and the awesome Lake Ontario, and Rudy’s, and for Syracuse, our nearby metropolis, and for its university — go SU (I know their basketball season is over, but I love them anyway. Thanks for a great season!).

I am also grateful I can afford healthy food. I thank God every day for my life I had with Mike Hogan, and now with Ed Kasperek. I am thankful for all our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren…And, I am thankful for all of you, too.

Now here’s my caveat: Readers beware! I write for fun. I am not a historian, nor a reporter. I write from memory and from what others want to share. Sometimes I look things up; sometimes I mess things up.

I hope you have fun reading my stuff. Your comments, additions and corrections are always welcome. You may contact me at 133 Tannery Lane, Fulton, phone 592-7580 or email JHogan808@aol.com.

Please put Jerry’s Journal in the subject line. Thanks!

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