Monday, January 4, 2010

LOVELY IS THE WORLD, part 2 of 3; by Hattie A. Pike (1917)

To another friend, a married woman, whose one idea was "to live to keep house," I said, "Let's go May-flowering!"

"May-flowering! Do you still go May-flowering? I can't spend the time; I have too many other things to do."

She did the "other things" so fussily and faithfully that her life became barren. Depression seized upon both husband and wife; her children in distant schools dreaded their home-coming. But fortunately one member of the family was cheery and a lover of the beautiful. With wondrous patience she helped them to become interested in out-of-door things and gradually they are being freed from the tangled snarl of cares; a bit of the poetry of living is coming back to them.

In direct contrast to this family is a mother with four boys, who "keeps house to live." Both father and mother have made themselves companions of the boys. Together they have painted, studied the rocks and gems of the surrounding country, fished, camped and hunted with the camera, gathered cocoons by the hundreds and watched their coming out in a room given up for the purpose. One son has chosen the subject of Entomology as a life study. The others, engaged in various commercial lines, are so filled with the love of nature that their lives could never become empty or humdrum.

In the most beautiful of all of Joaquin Miller's books, Memory and Rime, he asks "What is Poetry--what was poetry before poetry was written?" and answers, "Beauty--beauty of soul, thought, passion, expression--beauty visible and invisible. The flight of a bird thru the air is a song. The bugle call to battle, the shouts of men and the neighing of horses, the roar of cannon, the waving banners--here is something sinfully poetic. The spotted cattle on the hills, the winding rivers thru valleys, the surging white seas against the granite shores--all life, all action that is beautiful, grand and good, is poetry. The world is one great poem because it is very grand, very good and very beautiful.

How can the eyes of every one be opened to these beauties? He does not know how to find them for himself. He does not realize how his family may be hungering for them and if he does realize, a great speaker, a great student of nature is utterly beyond his means. Is it visionary to feel that State or Nation should see to it that some of the world's best instruction be carried to the doors of the farmers?

And the poor children in the cities, playing in the dark alleys of the squalid tenement districts and penned up in unattractive schoolyards! Is it visionary to feel that City, State or Nation should put beauty spots at these children's doors where, as their rightful due, may be seen every day, growing grass, waving trees and the flight of birds?


Moby said...

Hi Laurie, I bought your book today and spent two solid hours reading it. I bought it for the wonderful blocks and I thought the stories might be good too, but I ended up facinated. These women displayed such optimism and belief in a stable prosperous future and yet within a few years they endured the depression, the tragedy of the dust bowl, WWII and complete change in society!!!!
By the way I'm a quilter from Ireland. I was born in rural Michigan to emigrant parents from Ireland and England and with my mother came to Ireland when I was 9 and my father had died. I think your book will become one of my favorite quilting books and never know ...I may just make a farmers wife quilt myself!! Best wishes to you...Moira Byrne

Laurie Aaron Hird said...

I loved your comments. You stated it perfectly. I so often have thought that the few years surrounding 1922, were such a golden time for families on the farm. The women were so hopeful. But what did they think when the Depression came? I have wondered so many times if they had asked the women in 1932 the question, would they have still wanted their daughters to marry farmers? I was not able to include all of the letters in the quilt book, but I have reprinted the original booklet. If you would like a copy, please contact me at: Thanks for your letter, Moira. All the way from Ireland, amazing! God bless you. Laurie