*Originally published in our September 18-24, 2022 issue

It takes a lot of money to raise a family. We all know that. It has not been easy for me and the missus and it will not be easy for my sons, and I will bet it is not easy for you either.

There are occasions when I look back at the environment in which I was raised, and I do not really understand how my parents did it at all. In our family situation my dad was the only one with an income. He and mom had both worked at Parker’s on Water Street. He was a shoe clerk, and she was a sales assistant. When I was born mom stopped working. Now dad never made more than fifty-five dollars a week. When I was just eighteen, I was working at the railway, and I was making more money than he ever made. Now here is the amazing part. Dad owned his own home. How is that possible?

How do you own a home?

If you are a single salary family with two children and your only income is a single salary from a shoe store, then how do you get to own a home. I still do not understand it.

It is true things were very different then and I at least have a better understanding of it all. In my own case all three of my boys played minor hockey and that cost a fortune. All their equipment was second hand, but registrations alone were crippling.  I noticed early on that most of the vehicles at the arenas seemed to be vans or SUVs and most of the parents appeared to be “well to do.”

When my brother and me were growing up hockey cost our family nothing. The Royal Canadian Legion ran all the hockey. They paid for it. We had to sell tickets each year. The teams reflected the war that ended just five or six years previously. The Gunners, the Sappers, Home, Hood, Liberators etc. All names from World War Two. Not a cent did it cost us.

How things change

That is just an example of how things were then. Another example was childcare. One year we paid 15 thousand dollars in after care and day care for my three boys. Think about that.  It cost a fortune. On the contrary my brother and me in our time went home after school. Mom was there to meet us and if she was not then my grand mother, my aunt, and my uncle lived next door to us.

That is just two examples of how things were different. Society was of a different shape. The family was a different shape. Grand mother was not in “a home.” We did not need paid day care. Supper was cooked and we could play hockey.

NTV’s Jim Furlong can be reached by emailing: [email protected]