So once upon a time, in the early days of the world... well, around 60 years ago actually, my late maternal Grandmother went out to work at a textile factory, making clothes, and got paid a measly R14.00 a week (South African Rand - ZAR). At that time, her rent was R6.00 a week and the rest of the money was spent on food for her 7 children and various other people in need that often lodged with the family.
To put things in perspective, today, US$1.00 will get you around R9.57; GB£1.00 around R14.40; and EUR€1.00 around R12.29.
And today, ZAR14.00 can barely buy a 340ml coke and a 40g packet of Lays... or a loaf of bread at around R11.00.
But back then, you could get quite a bit for R14. Bread was R0.07 cents a loaf, a couple of sweets went for R0.01 cent, and entry to to the public swimming pools cost around R0.05 cents. Mother and her siblings only received new clothes, which were usually hand-me-downs, twice a year.
For someone who loves History as a subject of interest, this is beyond fascinating. Today, most people I know earn at least 50 times more a DAY, then what my Grandmother did in a WEEK. And while our lives are much more comfortable in these contemporary times, the people living in those times still lived. And they had far fewer problems than any of us have today.
And perhaps this is why I love History so much... because I secretly believe that while life in the general sense was very difficult, it was also much simpler. People lived simply... life revolved around surviving, not acquiring. Materialism as we know it didn't exist back then, because the majority of every population were considered poor or working class. There were no ever-growing epic divides.
Ironically, it was because of their lack of wealth that they had a better quality of life. I can't actually wrap my mind around it. Journeying through time captivates me endlessly.
Speaking of captivating, here's a video (in colour) of what life was like in London in 1927 - long before most of us were even born: http://www.youtube.com/user/BFIfilms/videos?query=the+open+road
More vintage colour videos are available here.