and Betty and their first Radio-Phonograph, 1949
By Doug Boilesen 2018
My parents, Axel and Betty Boilesen,
were married on August 25, 1946.
In October 1946 they officially
began managing their new household by entering all expenses
in annual budget books which I recently reviewed for the years
1946 to 1950. These books detail expendures for each month and
provide summaries by categories.
For me their book-keeping is special
because they are my parents but also because they micro-document
the economic life of a newly married couple in post-War Lincoln,
Nebraska. Axel was going to school on the GI Bill and receiving
$105.00 from the government each month and Betty was working
and depositing around $150 each month (c. 1949) into their joint
Reviewing their daily expenses
and being a Friend of the Phonograph my eye quickly focused
on entries related to their purchase of a phonograph and radio
in December 1948: Radio $110.75; Phono $37.43; January 1949:
"Freight on Radio & Phono of $4.05", "Radio
wire, etc., $.42" and "Records $5.51."
After purchasing the radio and
phonograph Axel built a cabinet for the components which required
the purchase in March 1949 of a drill, bits, saw & screws
$5.50, wood for the Radio $17.50 and other expenses listed as
"Labor? on Radio $7.00, Screen for Radio $.40, angle irons
for Radio $.68, screen & paint for Radio $.94."
In April 1949 more Radio construction
expenses: "Pressed board for Radio $.40, Slides for Radio
$1.00, Brackets for radio $.60, Radio Knobs $3.70." In
March 1950 there is an entry for a Radio Speaker $1.50. In April
1950, Radio Wire $.32. In August 1950, Records $2.50
When you add up these numbers
you know that the Radio-Phonograph was clearly a major purchase.
Consider that their "Rent" for the month was $30.00,
"Groceries" $26.00 (Dec 1948) and total expenses that
averaged about $$215 per month. Total household expenses from
Jan 1948 to Jan 1949 (12 months) was recorded in their "National
Family Budget Book" as "$2620.11 (clothing included)."
I'm sure Axel calculated how much
he hoped to save by building the cabinet himself and it took
some time. But in the end the goal was achieved: a modern Radio-Phonograph
had entered our home and would be waiting for me when I was
born the following year.
at our "H" Street apartment, December 1952