Interest rates and charges before and now

Published 12:48 am Sunday, May 5, 2013

We see many ads on television now that offer all kinds of ways to save money on anything we might purchase. Some ads show a big cash return for buying an automobile or appliances for the home, or the lack of interest charges on any purchase. Some automobiles are listed as financed for 60 months without any interest added to the purchase price.

Back in the years after World War II the interest rates on a new home were very low, like 6 to 8 percent, but they started climbing. And then in the late 1940s interest rates on a 20 or 30 year mortgage kept going up until it finally reached 20 to 21 percent. That was too high and began to hurt housing sales until President Reagan came into office and the rate started back down. Along about that time the State of Alabama had a limit of 8 percent that could be charged on an FHA mortgage and when the rates exceeded that a special session of the State Legislators was called to eliminate the 8 percent limit. Now our government has become a lot more involved in the housing business as well as many other things that used to be private enterprises. So much for modernization.

We get a lot of coupons and discount certificates nowadays in our mail as well as ads from businesses. A similar program was the S & H Green Stamps we used to get with purchases we made. Coupons are an improvement over the green stamps because we get the offer at the time of the sale and don’t have to save the stamps to get a prize. It was a sort of game with many people and one young lady we know saved enough coupons from “Icies” to get a large beach towel that became a souvenir.

Now the stores have started having dates on much of the food that shows how long it is supposed to be good. It’s a good thing we didn’t have that in our growing up years because times were hard and we had to use everything to the last drop. Of course, most of our food in those days was raised in the family garden, or simply in the back yard and it was always good. Some of the available food back in the early days was provided by several men who had big garden areas and loaded up a wagon every morning and made a trip around their area selling their produce. One who did that for years was Mr. Puckett, who had a wagon pulled by his old stallion named “Prince.” There were some others who did the same in different parts of town and it helped a lot with our food supplies.

We used to buy day-old bread at a bargain price for the food bank and it helped the finances during that time. Now the bread is stamped with a date right on top of other writing and it gets hard to see. Whatever happened to the day-old bread back when most folks would only use the white bread? It might have been better back when the government had no business telling us what you could eat and when, but that is supposed to be progress. Maybe so, but many of us oldsters don’t believe so and don’t like that part of modernization.

Whether we like it or not things do change over the years and we get excited by some of the new ideas and new things we are introduced to. One of these days we may even get used to seeing all the old buildings around town that are torn down, especially on Columbia Street. The new businesses in that area look real good and help brighten up the area.

We all need to be thankful for our city and the memories we have of days gone by. May God bless you all. today.