Monday, April 23, 2018

Her Own Prince Charming; 1920s

"If you had asked me not too long ago, I would have said that he had to be tall and dark with wonderful brown eyes. But he has come and our little home is being built. Just after the New Year, the most wonderful honeymoon that ever happened (to us) will be in progress.

My real Prince is as little like my dreams as anything could be. His light hair and blue eyes (which are always shining with kindness and merriment) are more wonderful to me than I ever dreamed anything could be...

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

In Love With Her Life, 1915

It is dusk. The children and I have just come in from the corral, where I milked seven cows. I am so in love with life that I find a day very short to hold its allotted joys.

First, I awoke a little earlier than usual this morning and lay thinking over the “had-to-be-dones.” It is baking day; but that is a glad-to-be as well as the other, because I love to experiment outside of the cookbooks. At half-past five I arose and by half-past six had breakfast...

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Monday, April 16, 2018

No Dollar Signs on Women's Work, part 2

A couple of months after "Unknown's" first letter appeared, a response was written by a woman from Ohio, who signed her letter “Well-known.” She disagreed with the perspective of “Unknown," the beet farmer’s wife, writing, “I think Unknown and her men do not realize how far a clean, comfortable, pleasant home goes toward getting that beet check.”

Mrs. Well-known went on to say that “it is only through the economy of the homemaker that most taxes are paid, that there is money for beet seed, etc.” She asked Mrs. Unknown, “What would the beet check amount to if there were not three wholesome meals every day? How far would it go if the homemaker did not bake the bread...

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

No Dollar Signs on Women's Work, part 1

I can’t say I’ve ever heard a woman say she chose housewifery as a career for the usual reasons one goes into a particular field-- having the skills required for the job, the earning potential, the incredible opportunities for advancement, or even the prestige and glamour of it all.

In these oh, so enlightened times, when we’re all told to listen to our hearts, be ourselves, and do whatever it is that fulfils us, choosing to be a housewife is most certainly not one of the options that will catapult you to Nobel prize status or into the first paragraph of the family Christmas letter.

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Drudgery? Not in Springtime! 1926

Drudgery! It is an old-fashioned word that we rarely hear today, but a century ago, it was used a great deal to describe housework in general, and often Spring Cleaning. In 1926, a woman from Iowa wrote,

“True, we have vacuums, dust mops, electric washing machines, and washable floor coverings...but there always will remain, to the conscientious housewife at least, a certain amount of dread because somewhere, try as hard as she may, there is bound to be more or less of drudgery in house cleaning.” ...

This spring I have decided to work out my own plan of escape from this drudgery. I am going to take a lesson from Mother Nature herself....

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

BLUE MOON--A GAME FOR ONE

April is living up to its reputation for showers, except that here in Wisconsin, it happens to be snow showers. Dr. Seuss summed up our spring pretty well. "The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play.
So we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day." We entertain ourselves these days often by looking at a screen of some sort, but don't you ever get tired of it? And haven't you wondered about ways people entertained themselves without technology? They had a rich variety of pastimes, which included solitaire games...

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Monday, April 2, 2018

KNOWING HOW TO STAY HOME

I have observed that we are now faced with a lesson our ancestors never even dreamed of having to learn--that is the lesson of knowing how to stay at home and enjoy the blessings of home culture. -1905
The writer goes on to mention the early 1900s trends of “rapid transit, cheap rates, and easy theatricals” that have made people “restless, nervous and incapable of self-amusement.”  (“Rapid” isn’t the first word that comes to mind when I think of 1905 transportation…)

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Disappointed! Go Outside! 1925

Once upon a time, when I was a little child, there was to be held a splendid picnic on the last day of school. The morning dawned bright and cloudless, a refreshing wind was blowing, but the outlook was not bright for me.

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

First Things First, A 1928 Schedule

You’d never think that women a hundred years ago would have a problem fitting everything into their day. Really, how hard could it have been? They didn’t have to find time to update social media, manage digital coupons, schlep children to sporting practices, or watch a single tv show. But they did struggle, which shows that even without modern distractions, this housewifery thing isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows...

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

SUMMER IN THE SOUL

So there you have it, ladies.  This is our grand opportunity to be secret agents.  By all appearances, we’re mild-mannered housewives working in ordinary middle class homes, fighting a never-ending battle for clean dishes, laundry, and the Organized Way...

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