Monday, March 18, 2019


By "For More Fun" from Wisconsin, 1936

I am a farmer's wife with two little tots, and I've decided that, no matter how busy I am, I'm going to take time to enjoy my babies.

This morning we found a little blue jay on the lawn. We put it back and sat for several minutes watching it. Yesterday we went for a twenty minute walk to the woods above the pasture. We picked a few wild flowers, ferns and leaves. Some days I load both babies into the little red wagon and take them with me when I carry Daddy's lunch into the field or when I go after the mail. How they do enjoy it, especially if we have to wait. Sometimes it is only a tour of the farmyard where we call on each of the farm animals and visit awhile.

At bedtime, I take them upstairs and tuck them into their beds and talk a little while with them before the sandman comes too close. A few love pats or a few little rubs on tired backs do much to quiet unstrung nerves and bring restful sleep.

They are just "little whiles" in the midst of busy hours, of busy days, of busy years. But long after other things are forgotten they'll look back and remember those "little whiles" with mother.

Love them while we can...

By "Trusting" from Virginia, 1932

When the kiddies are taking their afternoon nap, no matter how many things are waiting to be done, slip out and fasten the door behind you. Be sure you take your worries and discouragements with you. Walk briskly--are there hills in Nebraska? If you haven't a hill that you can climb and stand on top of, find a lone tree. A tree that is large and powerful, one that knows the fierceness of bitter winter winds. Stand under its branches. It will whisper to you, listen well, and while you are listening, your worries and discouragements will slip away. Go back to your house and your little ones, and if you have caught that gleam, you will feel it, a little burning joy that will grow and grow with the years. It is a great possession!

Monday, March 11, 2019

SUNLIGHT IN HER LANE by "Fourteen-year-old" from New York

My mother is forever
Darning holes in endless socks;
But she loves the scent of clover,
And the drifting four-o'-clocks.

Forever patching garments worn and small,
Scouring kettles, baking loaves; 
But the garden pinks against the wall
Give a fragrance keen as cloves.

She washes little dirty faces,
And she kisses bruises, healing pain;
While the shadows blow like fine gray laces
'Gainst the sunlight in her lane.

Each day brings its drab, tired hours,
There are homely tasks to do;
But she had a garden,--flowers,
And a window to look through. 

Monday, March 4, 2019

SHOULD SHE GO?, 1936, Part 2

From "Unsentimental Mother," from New York

My husband I started out by ourselves but mother and dad wanted us to share their home with them. (My husband is one of the finest men on earth and my people think the world of him.) When we had been by ourselves about two years, my father's health failed and they wanted us to come so badly that
we finally went to live with them. But we weren't happy. We tried to be, just to please them. It didn't work. There were many little reasons, but the big one was that it did not give us a chance to show the world what we could do ourselves.

After dad regained his health, we moved out by ourselves again. And because they were big enough to understand it all and let us go, they held our love and understanding as they never could have by keeping us.

They have every comfort and convenience at home to offer us, and we rent a house that isn't as nice as their summer cottage. We have to work very hard and we do without things we both were used to before we married. It may sound as though we are stubborn and foolish, but we aren't really, for here we have found ourselves. Here we are happy. Here we are more than just a part of a fine family. We are a fine family for now we have five beautiful children and are proving to ourselves that we are capable of doing a big job and doing it well.

Please give your "children" the chance Dad and Mother gave us. Let them go with the knowledge that they are always welcome if they decide to come back as they may sometime.

But until they decide, wouldn't you rather they would be away with a deep, tender feeling for your home than to be there always wishing they were away?

And finally from "One Who Regrets" in Michigan

To Mother, of Iowa. I persuaded my son and his young wife to make their home with us. In five years they were parted and laid the blame at our door.

Please let your daughter go to a different home no matter how lonesome you may be. It is the only way that is right.

Note from Laurie: I find it interesting that the magazine never printed any letters from young women who thought that it was a good idea to live with their parents after marriage. My guess is there were not any letters sent in to print!

Monday, February 25, 2019

SHOULD SHE GO?, 1936, Part 1

By "The Mother" from Iowa

My daughter was married the other day--my only child, I'm very happy for them both for her husband
is a fine boy--cheerful, honest, faithful. And my daughter--well--she is my daughter and I look at her with pride.

But she wants to leave me!

All our lives since the first day she opened her brown eyes at me, my husband and I have built around her our hopes and our plans. We have given her what we could and always, when we could not give, we explained and she understood. She has helped us, too, and has been a great comfort. Now she strains away from us to a sparsely furnished, rented bungalow and our house already seems to echo with loneliness.

It is not as if they needed to go. Our home is convenient to her husband's work. Our house is spacious and furnished comfortably. Upon them her taste and mine were lovingly expended--a piano, a library, big beds; windows that look through old trees.

I cannot decide whether she really wants to go or whether it is a point of honor with them. We would like them to live with us, as our children. But realizing they would like to be alone, we have offered half the house to them. We want them to stay. It will all be theirs some day and why should they skimp and save to pay for furniture and rent when they could have it all here and welcome?

You mothers of married girls understand this feeling. Some of you, too, have persuaded your daughters to stay at home--and have not regretted it. Or have you?

In Response--"Another Mother" from Ohio

The letter of "The Mother, Iowa" appealed to me, for my husband and I had the experience of living with his mother for nearly two years. From our experience has sprung the hope that our children may enter homes of their own, however humble, as soon as they are married.

I had the care of the home. If I wanted to paint, varnish, or buy a new piece of furniture, "Mother" would feel that her things weren't good enough for me. If mother bought part of the groceries she was doing more than her share; if we bought all of them, we didn't want her to do anything.

No, however much you and dad may miss daughter let her have her own home, choose its furnishings, do her own planning. She and her new husband will be much happier if they work out their own salvation.

Another thing, the young man will be happier and get more satisfaction out of a home he has provided for his bride than he will to live with her people and feel that they are supplying the necessities as well as the luxuries of life that are really his right to provide.

Monday, February 18, 2019


From "Mrs. Fifty" in New York:

I would like to add to the letter written by the newly married "Mrs. Nineteen."

I am writing from the point of view of experience. I've made a discovery. I've found a way to roll back the years and get a fresh point of view about married life. Most of us have been through a double
depression in the last five or six years--economic and spiritual. This has taken a toll from our nerves and our dispositions and often we have been unsympathetic and irritable,--to the children, to the help, to the tradesmen,--but most of all to our husbands.

One day I realized this and suddenly said to myself, "Remember the eager days! This older man, a bit bent, is the slender lad you met at the gate more than thirty years ago. This is the young beau who made you the envy of all the girls in town when he took you to a dance. This is the ardent suitor who brought the color to your cheeks when he said good-night in the porch shadows. Remember the eager days and then remember that you and he are going down the hill together."

Roll back the years sometimes as I do. Then have his favorite dish for supper and touch his shoulder gently as you pass him. He will understand.

From "Sympathizer" in Indiana:

If I were a wife, when my husband came in from his work dead tired, I'd try and have everything in readiness for him to enjoy a nice quiet evening and not have a lot of things saved up for him to do. So many women have work planned for their husbands that it takes up the biggest part of the day and evening, too. It is no more than right that he spend some evenings and some holidays in the way that pleases him best. Moreover, I'd try to plan my work so I could enjoy some of that leisure time with him.

Monday, February 11, 2019

THE HARDEST WORK IN THE WORLD, by Inactive, from Washington, 1936

I suspect that my life is quite different from yours.

While your problem is one of getting your work done, mine is one of absolute inactivity. I am not allowed to talk, to raise myself on my elbow, to reach for an object. I lie flat, flatter, flattest! One hour a day I can read or write but not intensely. All days are alike to a split second.

A "movie" is given every second Friday night and those patients who are able are taken on their beds to the movie.

I hear a chorus of tired voices saying, "I'd like that." You might for a few weeks but after a year or two it is a questionable privilege.

I am as passive as a parcel! I, who have been an actively practicing physician, going night and day for 25 years. If it weren't so funny it would be tragic. Until this "one hour" privilege my only activity was "turning the other cheek."

To do nothing is the hardest work in the world.

 A year ago I thought I could never laugh again but now I can shake the bed with my own fun. The ability to adjust oneself is a valuable attribute. I've had to learn to be a good friend to myself. Pleasant thoughts are the pleasantest things of life. It should be the art of living to collect as many as possible.

I shall doubtless be here the better part of a year yet--but I am sure I shall in time be well and back in my profession. I wish anyone of you would write to me. I can only wish you Health and Wealth and Luck and Love and Joy.

Follow-up from "Standing in the Need," from Virginia

That letter from "Inactive, from Washington," I read it once and again--and then I prayed that God might give to me and to all the other "me's" of the world such strength and courage.

We complain because our work is hard, our kitchens hot, our gardens slow to grow, and we fret over thousands of other trivial things. But suppose calamity should befall us as it has "Inactive." Would we have the courage, the faith and the blessed sense of humor to go on?

God bless "Inactive" and give us all such courage as that.

Monday, February 4, 2019


We had finished our evening meal, when I noticed in the center of the large platter which had held our fried chicken, the only remaining piece--the ribs with the neck jauntily raised in the fore, floating serenely over the China Sea. I said, "That looks like a gondola."

My family is always on the alert for new words and Kent, the nine-year-old asked, "What is a gondola?" Then followed a general explanation, everyone offering any information he might about the "streets of water" in Venice, a city where no train, auto, horse or street car is to be seen.

That started it. We decided it would be fun for each one of us to take mental note of any new word or expression he heard during the day. At dinner that evening each would announce his "word," giving the others opportunity to say whether or not he knew its meaning. Any one familiar with the word must give the others a chance to guess or in some way try to find out the meaning. The idea was to have as much discussion as possible, impressing the new word upon the child to whom it was unfamiliar.

The seven members of our family, ranging from Dad to the kindergartner, brought an interesting and varied list of words to our attention. Here are a few: alibi, excruciating, bung, recapitulate, soil conservation. The latter furnished Dad and the high school boys a topic for a lively and timely discussion.

The high point of the game was reached one evening when Keith, the smallest one, proudly and unaided announced "comic strip." He had heard the "paper boy" say it and it was new to him for he always had thought it was "the funnies."

Saturday, February 2, 2019


Hello to all the readers of A Housewife Writes blog!

Life takes some funny directions. This winter I've found myself working on an ebook about my experiences as an Amish school teacher. I've come to realize that multi-tasking isn't working well for me and I need to focus on one writing project at a time. So I'll be taking a break from posting on this blog until I get the book wrapped up. I'm hoping I won't be gone too long!
If you would like peeks into the book...

To continue this post from Amalia, please go to:

Monday, January 28, 2019


I love the simple ways that these two girls made money. I wish that these opportunities were as easy to come by today as they were in 1927.

From Arta Lind in Idaho--
I made my first dollar by selling parsnips to town customers. My father had planted more parsnips in the family garden than we could use, and the surplus was only going to waste. So I asked him if I might have the ones we didn't use. He said I might, but he didn't think I could do anything with them.

It surprised the family when I dug four bushels and sold them all the first week. I put a sign in our front lawn, and as our farm is on a state highway several people stopped every day. The first day I made $1.25, and with that and more money earned the same way I bought flower seeds and started a flower garden. All the next summer I sold cut flowers and with the help of my father I bought a violin. I had just turned twelve that fall when school started, and so with my violin I took up music in the school. Before the next spring I was playing in the Junior High Orchestra.

All this was gained by some parsnips that were only going to waste.

From Nelle Jones in Florida--
Girls! Why don't some of you join me in my new business undertaking? I have just opened a Milk Bar in our front yard where passing wayfarers may get a glass of real milk to quench their thirst.

Necessity was the mother of invention. Motoring from Florida last March I found it was almost impossible to procure a glass of milk outside of a restaurant. Ginger ale and pop were to be had at every crossroad, but call after call at farmhouse doors was met with a negative shake of the head. The milk was shipped to the cities in bulk, only enough retained for family use.

This thirsty experience thrust an opportunity right into my head. Upon my return home, up came an old table from the cellar, out came the paint brush and my milk bar is a delight in delft blue and white with a three-legged milking stool to match. The only other equipment consists of a five gallon jar, a dozen stone mugs and a ladle. There are no bottled goods at my bar, but I do serve a free lunch. A homemade cooky crowns every mug of milk at ten cents a pint. Nothing else is needed but a bouquet of flowers. Wear a gingham dress of blue, a white bib apron and a flat brimmed sunbonnet to match.

The traveling public is thirsty and we girls on the farm can so easily furnish the beverage that is food as well as drink.

Let's not live in the same old rut this summer, reaching up hands to dad for money every time we go to town. Let's earn our own with our milk bar.

Monday, January 21, 2019

WISE AND TRUE ADVICE, by Margaret, 1920

Wonderful insights from 99 years ago. 

A man whose wisdom and kindliness had won for him a host of loyal friends once said to me, The only way to keep a friend is not to care whether you lose him."
This seemed to me at first to be a very indifferent sort of remark for a man to make whose friends loved him, but the more I thought about it, the more I judged him wise and true.

For it is the clinging, selfish thought, the fearful heart, which cannot hold a friend or a lover. That sturdy soul who recognizes that the source of each man's happiness lies in his own heart, and not in the devotion of others, is the best friend in the world. As for him, you may come or go, his respect and kindness are a constant feature. He does not demand of you certain things and then resent non-fulfillment. He does not plan for you the way that you should walk and then reproach you for not walking in it. If you do fall, he says, "You can buck it again, old friend, and you can't hurt me, because I depend on no man." If you desert or neglect him, his open heart, and freedom from accusation, leaves the door open for you to come back to him again, and you soon find that he is still your friend.
In love as in friendship, the heart that can learn to let another heart go free, to give much, and ask little, is the heart that prospers. That man or girl who wears love out with constant demands, or who clings so closely and so demandingly on the beloved, loses love, lover and all, and deserves to lose, because the basis of human relationships must not be selfishness.

So many young people write to me, "My sweetheart is growing indifferent. How can I regain his (or her) affection?"

The answer is, that you can't by trying. If indifference comes, let it come, and let the lover go, for the more you struggle to hold him, the more will he want to be free. But the best test is to open wide the door and without fear, and without resentment, make it easy and simple for him to get away, still retaining a pleasant relationship. That is the real test. If he goes, his desire to be free is sincere, and should be granted. If he does not want to go, but is only impatient, his opportunity will make him realize that you are important, and dear, after all.