17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Friday, December 27, 1912: Sold Mollie’s calf today. It wasn’t a very big one and I rather feared my fortune would be pretty small, but after all it weighed one hundred and forty-four lbs. Received a neat sum of $11.56. I am real proud over what my purse that Ruth gave me contains. Over fourteen dollars.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Mollie was Grandma’s cow, and it had a calf on November 15.
Grandma’s parents apparently taught their children the value of money by giving each child a cow. I think that if the cow had a male calf, the child got the money from the sale of the calf—and their personal herd grew if a female calf was born. (See previous post on teaching farm kids that value of money.)
And, we now know that Grandma’s sister Ruth was the person who gave her the purse. I bet it was stylish—and that it looked great filled with cash. Grandma was in the money. I hope she spent it wisely.
According to an online Inflation Calculator website, a dollar a hundred years ago is worth about $23.40 today.
So in real dollars Grandma sold the calf for the equivalent of $240 now. And if she had $14 in her purse, she’d have $328 today.