In the year of 1976

The other day when I was cleaning a book shelf,  I found a notebook where I had recorded “stuff” from 1976-1982.  It was a treasure of information; my weight, several grocery store receipts, expense ledger, pregnancy records, how to feed newborn lambs and treat sick ones and the menu and expenses for a New Years Eve Banquet at church in 1975.


When I became pregnant with our first child in 1975, I weighed a mere 137 lbs. I gained 16 lbs and I  remember one man told me I was the biggest pregnant lady he had ever seen!!!  Guess what, I still remember who that man was! He got by with it because he was a friend!!! The doctor’s fee for the pre-delivery visits, delivery and 6-week check up was a whopping $475. The hospital expense for my 5-day stay (which was the normal stay) was $750.

By the time of my second pregnancy a year later the doctor’s fee went up to $550.


Grocery Expenses: Spring 1976.

For the Powhatan folks, my three grocery stores were Maxeys in the village where Four Seasons Restaurant now is, Mays at Flat Rock and Giant on Midlothian Turnpike on the other side of Chippenham Parkway (150).  I loved Maxeys and Mays. They were small, family-owned grocery  stores where you were called by name by all the employees. All three of these stores are now just memories.

  • My grocery bill averaged $120 a month. Now I often spend that a week!
    • Margarine 43 cents lb.
    • 10 lb. sugar $2.37
    • Box cheerios 63 cents
    • Bottle Ranch dressing 25 cents
    • Loaf of bread 34 cents
    • Aluminum Foil 81 cents
    • 10 lbs. Potatoes $1.49
    • Roll paper towels 49 cents
    • Bag of Potato Chips 89 cents
    • 5 lb Flour 95 cents
    • Tooth paste 26 cents
    • Bag of Nestlé’s Chocolate bits 65 cents
    • 1 lb. peanuts 89 cents
    • Box of Ice-Cream $1.09
    • Ajax powder 30 cents
    • l lb Bacon $1.33
    • Bar soap 63 cents
    • Kraft Mayonnaise $1.15
    • Bag of oranges 55 cents
    • Box Kix cereal 67 cents.

Folks, I didn’t make those prices up and this is only 40 years ago. We did have our own farm-grown milk, beef, eggs and garden produce.


These were the days when there were no stoplights or shopping on Route 60. The first stoplight from Powhatan was at K-Mart & Giant on the east side of Cloverleaf Mall which was under construction.  (Gene doesn’t think K-Mart was there yet-it was another store but he can’t remember what it was). They broke ground for the mall after we were married in 1972.  This was a big deal as the closest shopping was at Southside Plaze, a very small mall on the Boulevard (168) or in downtown Richmond on Main Street.

Heading east on Route 60 there was Watkins Nursery, the burg of Midlothian with a drugstore on the main drag along with a few other small stores behind it. If you blinked, you missed it.  and then there was nothing else but open land. It felt like a long drive to town.

Garden Seeds:

  • 1/2 lb. sweet corn seed: $1.61
  • 1 lb. pea seed: 85 cents
  • Pkg lettuce: 49 cents
  • 1 red azalea, 8 pansys and 2 yellow tomatoes: $2.86


Another memory.

When we got married in 1972, we stopped on the way home from our honeymoon to buy groceries at Giant. We purchased two grocery carts full for $100. We thought we had spent a fortune!!! The next week we went back and spent another $100. I felt like I was now queen of my kitchen (just like my mother) and had everything I needed: spices, cleaning supplies, baking supplies, paper ware and a stash of other basic food necessities.


Church New Years Eve Banquet-1975

We fed 85 people for a cost of $109.95 and purchased flowers for $5.00.

Our menu was salad with crackers, roast beef & gravy, baked potatoes with sour cream, butter beans, rolls, apple pie and ice-cream.

The ninety baking potatoes, 11 pies and drink were donated.

For some reason I have no recollection of this event. My notes say Marvin and Fern Hertzler donated the potatoes and Janis Ranck, Cheryl Hertzler, Nancy Moyer and Bev Burkholder made the pies and Sheila Schaefer and Carol Landis provided the drink. I think this was probably a youth event since the youth girls made the pies and Gene and I, along with Dave and Nancy Moyer, were youth leaders during this time.

And that my folks, is the way it used to be!


  1. Julia Witmer Said:

    Love these memories. Somewhere I have the record of the groceries we bought back in 1968 when we first got married. I remember thinking I had really overspent when I first went shopping for groceries, and spent around $50.00. A lot of that bill was for spices and baking items, such as flour, sugar, butter, etc. The spices is what ran up the bill! I
    I made my wedding dress, and thought I had really paid a pretty penny for the fabric which came the whole way to $8.00! I think I bought it at Martin’s Store in Park View.
    Back then my salary as a school teacher in Rockingham Co. was around $5000 a year. Amos had bought a new Plymouth Satellite a couple of years before for around $2500. Amen to how things had changed.

  2. Fiona Said:

    I found a small pocket ledger of my father’s, it was like time travel. Thank you for the memories!

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