In 1968, a gallon of gas was 34 cents. Federal minimum wage was $1.60 an hour. The average monthly rent was $130. And Cecil Hall’s water and sewage bill was $9.15.
Hall’s daughter, Barbara Ellery, took us for a trip down memory lane. Vermont Avenue actually, in the Shawnee neighborhood of West Louisville.
Ellery lives in that same house where she lived as a teenager. The house where she uncovered her father’s Louisville Water bill dated December 12, 1968.
“They (her parents) kept a lot of things, paystubs and all that. I was going to create an album for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren so they can see how things were back then.”
Memories came flooding back of her father’s routine when it came to paying the water bill. Ellery said he always paid it on time.
“He didn’t mail his bill. He took it directly to the water company. She said, “He’d catch the bus here and catch the courier down. I think the water company was on Third Street.”
Just like Louisville Water Company, Barbara Ellery changed addresses. She eventually returned to the home on Vermont Avenue when it was time to care for her aging parents in the late 1980s, early ‘90s.
“In this house was great experiences. Family gatherings, dad was always a good neighbor. You know, he cut other people’s yards. They took turns cutting yards,” Ellery remembered.
But he didn’t cut corners.
“What he made, he provided for us to have this home,” said Ellery.
It’s full circle that living in the home again, it’s now her husband who takes care of paying the water bill. Not online, but in person in the Third Street lobby.
“I love to go up there and meet a lot of old friends I haven’t seen for awhile,” Richard Ellery said.
The Ellerys have a special connection to Louisville Water. Their son-in-law, Keith Meriwether, is a 23-year employee of the company. Currently, he is a Customer Service Representative at Allmond Avenue Distribution Center.
“He was ecstatic when I showed it (the old bill) to him,” said Barbara Ellery.
Meriwether’s daughter worked at Louisville Water last summer as she works toward a nursing degree. She is one of the reasons Ellery is holding onto those vintage finds.
“That’s a part of their heritage. Their grandfather actually held that and took it to the water company and paid it. I cherish that bill because $9 might’ve been a lot back then.”
Memories that are truly priceless.