Friday, October 8, 2010

I GLORY IN MY JOB; "Happy in Texas," part 5; 1932

Finally after several weeks, I am resuming this narrative from a young and happy farm wife from Texas.

I couldn't begin to name all my various undertakings, but I did enjoy being interior decorator. The house was quite the most drab and uninviting I every stepped into, but it has changed. I painted the dark woodwork a rich ivory, (and nearly 80 years later, we are scraping that paint off! :) and tinted the plastered walls. I have ruffled curtains and made and framed silhouettes. I have made footstools of coffee cans, and book shelves from apple crates. I have smoothed and varnished floors, and refinished old walnut furniture that I brought for a song. I even learned to weave cane seats for stubby dining chairs that many have since admired, and an old walnut rocker that I found in the barn loft is now a lovely thing with high back and seat of cane. I have made shades for the kerosene lamps, and added countless gay candlesticks and candles. My living room is a north room with maize colored walls, and a beautiful view. The single oil painting on its walls was exhibited at the Philadelphia Exposition. I took second prize on this room last year in a County Living Room contest, and my only expenditure was my own work and one dollar and a half.

All my linens are handmade, and will wear for years. I take great pleasure in keeping the beds snowy and fresh, and I am not at all above piecing together bits of the blue shirt I liked on John, and the babies' first rompers, and my old blue frock and the yellow kitchen curtains and making a quilt of them that will later be tufted into feathery softness. There is something soul-satisfying about sleeping beneath bits of your life sewed together into stars.

Sewing is part of my job, too, for I have to do all my own in order to make the most of the money we have to spend. I sew for myself and the children, and we are not especially "country looking," either. My machine is an antiquated relic, but it sews a straight seam with a bit of persuasion.

I am not a huge success as a gardener, but I am learning, and it is certainly a pleasant task in the early spring to dig and putter in the warming earth and to plan and plant. What gorgeous things it does promise after you have read the seed catalogues, and even if it never lives up to them, still if you are a faithful gardener, you can have green things a-growin' for your table, and beauty for your eyes. Beans and beets and spinach and carrots are important foods for the body, but just as important to me are the early pansies and violets, the purple and pink and white of larkspur and cosmos and phlox and zinnias. They are food for the soul.

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