Monday, March 28, 2011

BEING A SISTER TO TED; part 2; by Faye N. Merriman; 1915

He leaned back in his chair and felt in his pocket for his pipe.

"Do brothers ask their sisters if they may smoke?" he asked.

Thelma wrinkled her forehead trying to remember. "Never mind," she said at length, "go on and smoke if you wish."

She waited while the match was lit and until the cloud of filmy smoke obscured the scent of the lilacs. Down in her heart a little unnamed something stirred and hurt. Ted had never smoked in her presence before.

Her eyes sought the lilac bush but the golden singer was gone--scared away, perhaps, by the pungent cloud of smoke.

"Great idea--this sister and brother business," remarked Ted presently. "Of course I wouldn't have proposed it myself, but seeing that you did I'll admit that it looks good to me. Maybe I can save a little money now."

"Save a little money!" bristled Thelma.

"May I ask you to explain?"

"Of course," he went on, "when I was buying candy and flowers and theater tickets and hiring taxicabs, I couldn't save a cent. You wouldn't believe how near flat I was before last pay day."

"I don't think it is very nice of you to tell me about it," she answered.

"Why not?" he puffed. "Don't brothers always discuss their financial affairs with their sister? Of course they do--and borrow money of them, too, if they get into serious difficulties."

"Mr. Stover!"

"Indian giver!" he accused. "When the Indians make a present they either steal or beg it back. Girls don't call their brother 'Mister.'

"But I wanted to explain about this money business. I am going to take the money I would otherwise spend on you and start a bank account. Of course I'll remember your birthdays and--by the way when is your birthday?"

"The eleventh of March."

He sighed in relief and closed his eyes in ecstasy. "No need to think about that for nearly a year," he exulted. "I can see my bank account rolling up. Want to go for a walk?"

"Are you practising your new economy on me already?" she asked, mischievously peering at him over the arm of the chair.

His teeth bit down on his pipe stem at the sight of the laughing face with its dancing eyes; then he heaved the smoking bowl out into the garden.

"Would you like to walk?" he repeated.

She skipped from her chair. "I'd much rather walk than ride, on a day like this," she said gaily, "and I don't mind walking anyway--with a brother."

"But you didn't think much of the idea a moment ago," he said anxiously.

She put her finger against his lips. They trembled in a most unbrotherly fashion.

"Never mind, she said demurely, "I believe it is the duty of every young woman to encourage frugality and economy. And I know a spot in the woods where violets grow that would cost you ever so much a bunch at the florist's."

"Lead me to it," he commanded.

Friday, March 25, 2011

BEING A SISTER TO TED; part 1; by Faye N. Merriman; 1915

A wild, sunshine-tinted canary flirted with the fragrance in the heart of the purpling lilac bush that nestled against the side of the porch.

"I said it would not be such a bad idea after all," said Ted patiently. Thelma reluctantly turned her eyes away from the lilac bloom with its flying shuttle of yellow.

"What?" she asked.

"I like that!" returned Ted in an injured voice. "You propose relationship--"

Thelma forgot the yellow songster and the pillar of feathery blossoms.

"Ted Stover," she interrupted bristling, "Will you tell me what on earth you are talking about? Or am I to conclude that you have gone suddenly insane?"

He regarded her gloomily. "Oh, I'm insane, all right," he admitted, "but there is nothing sudden about it. And I fancied I was behaving quite rationally just at present."

"Rationally!" sniffed Thelma. The lilac stirred gently in the breeze. She sniffed again.

Ted sniffed also. "Pretty good," he said lazily. "Now as I said, my dear--"

"'My dear!'" Thelma's color rose angrily. "Who gave you permission to call me 'my dear?'"

He turned slowly in his chair until his reproachful brown eyes fell upon her own blue ones. "Why you did!" he exclaimed. "Didn't you suggest--not half an hour ago--that you would be delighted to be a sister to me?"

Thelma stared blankly.

"Didn't you?" persisted Ted.

"Ye-es," said Thelma uncertainly.

The young man opposite nodded. "It's settled then!" he exulted. "I sometimes think I really need a sister and I'd just as soon have you for one as anyone else I know of. And being a big brother won't be so bad after all." He grinned expansively.

Thelma moved indignantly to the edge of her chair. "If you think you are going to kiss me--" she sputtered.

Ted regarded her with innocent eyes. "You must have been thinking about that part of it," he remarked. "I am sure I wasn't. There are brothers and brothers. Some are affectionate--as brother ought to be--and some are exactly the reverse. We might select a sane middle course."

Thelma beamed forth suddenly. "You are the most sensible man I ever refused," she confided.

Monday, March 21, 2011

WHAT WE ACCOMPLISHED; by Edith W. Schlegel; May 1918

I attended Herbein's School when a little girl and thus knew just what to expect when I went there as a teacher. Thanks to the board of directors I found the building in good repair but the walls were bare with the exception of one picture which the superintendent told me was fit only for the basement. There was not even a clock and as that is a very valuable asset in a country school we decided to work for that first of all.

The children sold useful merchandise for cash premiums, taking most of the orders in their own homes. We secured a large calendar and wall clock.

The next year we worked for pictures in the same way. We now have thirteen nicely framed pictures.

Last year we had our first entertainment.

With the money received at our entertainment and a few donations, we bought two lamps, a small talking machine, records and a stand. We spent many a pleasant noon hour listening to the music when the weather was unfavorable for outdoor play.

When we were tired of our cold lunches we had occasionally an egg day or potato day. At those times we brought eggs and potatoes from home, prepared them at recess and then at a certain time had one of the older pupils put them over the fire. I am sure eggs and potatoes never tasted better.

For the last two years we have gathered on an evening in May to work in the school flower bed and to plant vines. If there were a fence round the whole plot we should have better results. Therefore, I consider the securing of the fence one of our future problems, a reading table another, still another buying more books.

Friday, March 18, 2011

PIN MONEY FROM CHILD BOARDERS; part 3; by Ethel E. Beach; 1930

I consider that half of the board money is clear profit. The egg, butter, milk, chickens, vegetables, and fruit are produced on the farm, and are being disposed of at a very high price under this plan.

If a person has just one room she can easily care for four children by placing two beds in one room, or, better still, four single beds. The children would consider this a real privilege to all be together. All my beds are single ones. In the matter of charges, while one could charge more than one dollar per day, she probably would get less business, and would prohibit a great deal of repeat business, which is an important factor. Or she could charge less and still make money. However, one dollar per day seems fair to both parties, and is intended to cover the extra trouble of looking after the deportment and general welfare of the child, which would not be required for an adult boarder. In the matter of laundry, one dollar extra per week will amply cover the expense and labor for the average child who is dressed suitably for an outing in the country. When a child stays two weeks or more there is almost certain to be a laundry charge.

I have three children who have remained with me over two years now. I take entire care of them and send them to school. I make a straight charge of one dollar per day including laundry. I make this difference because they are steady boarders. Two of these children belong to a traveling man who lost his wife. Being out of town so much he desired to place them in a safe home. Needless to say, I have tried to be a real mother to these little helpless ones. The third child belongs to a lady who lost her husband. She could not go from home to earn a living without leaving the child alone, and she could not earn enough at home. Finally she placed the child, a little girl, with me. I have given this little one every care. I even taught her to pray, and made little dresses for her. Next week this child will return to her mother who, recently re-married, needs no longer be parted from her baby. So one will note that there is romance to be found even in keeping child boarders.

Monday, March 14, 2011

PIN MONEY FROM CHILD BOARDERS; Part 2; by Ethel E. Beach; 1930

Children are not as exacting as adult boarders would be, and are no particular trouble, as we provide outdoor interests. They have a large yard to play in and a little shop all their own where they build bird houses and such. I see that they are supplied with nails and packing boxes to work with. They make play houses, go wading in a shallow creek below the house, play in the hay mow, and gather eggs. They play mumblety-peg, marbles, pitch horse shoes, play leap frog, and fly kites which they make in their work shop, and usually there are enough children on hand to play football and baseball. Last year the older boys built a lovely little log cabin in our woods, from which each parted with painful regret. They assured me they would return later, and that I was not to let anything happen to the log cabin in the meantime. We endeavor to grant each child under our care all the privileges that the average farm child enjoys. The child is invariably delighted beyond words, consequently a good report is given the parents and steady customers are assured.

In advertising for child boarders I clearly state that references will be required, and also given. The references which I furnish are from satisfied parents of former child boarders. The references furnished by parents of prospective child boarders are rigidly investigated. This precaution is very necessary and indeed important, as parents who have reared their child carefully have a right to every assurance that he will not come in contact with a child who has bad habits. As an additional precaution, each new child boarder is spoken to in private regarding the type of conduct expected of him, and is given clearly to understand that any infringement of rules will result in his being returned to his parents, or, in the event of parents being out of town, that he can expect to be isolated from the other children. The reasons back of these rules are carefully explained to the child. I am proud to state that I have never yet found it necessary to return or isolate even one child.

Friday, March 11, 2011

PIN MONEY FROM CHILD BOARDERS, part 1, by Ethel E. Beach, 1930

For several years I have made pin money by keeping child boarders. It is surprising what a demand there is for this form of service. Our home is a large twelve-room farm house. We never require all these room for our own use; so for many years they stood empty. One year crops were almost a total failure, and my poultry did very poorly. We were in distressing need of cash. Then the mail carrier brought a letter from an old friend who asked if I would care for her boy for a while with her paying me what I thought it would be worth. I offered to keep the child without charge. She would not hear of this, and finally proposed paying me seven dollars per week, and one dollar per week extra for laundry.

The child was quite contented with us, but there were no other little folks for him to play with; so one day I decided to get another child for company. I placed an advertisement for a child boarder in the home paper, stating the service I had to offer and price. I received immediate response to my advertisement and within a week I had six child boarders instead of one. We needed cash, we had many unused rooms, and delighted to obtain what we had to offer. Many parents took that long talked-of vacation that year. Meantime the children stayed with me and had the best time they had ever had.

The period of each child's stay averaged two weeks. I have children come back year after year. Some of the older boys save during the winter and come out and spend a week or two on the farm where there are lots of fried chicken, peas, hot biscuits, and pie.

Monday, March 7, 2011

PLAYING THE BLUES; by Carroll P. Streeter; 1933

To say that a depression can cause more communities to have more fun than they have had since the days of our grandfathers may seem ridiculous. And yet that's just what is happening, according to many reports coming to The Farmer's Wife.

"We began to realize that sitting at home, moping over interest and taxes, and thinking about low prices wouldn't help us any," writes Mrs. Sadie Sybrant of Minnesota, "so we decided to get busy and create some amusement."

"At the next meeting of the P.T.A." Mrs. Sybrant says, "we simply announced that we were going to have a chorus and asked all who felt like joining to come to the schoolhouse next Tuesday night. Twenty men and women turned out, the director brought song books, we used the school organ and--we sang."

Spelling bees, checker and domino tournaments, quilting contests and twenty-four other kinds of fun are making life more interesting in several West Virginia counties this winter.

Take the West Milford community in Harrison County, for example. At spelling bees the grown-ups have their own contests, using old McGuffey texts, and the youngsters have theirs. Groups of three or four families get together in various homes for long winter evenings of dominoes and checkers, with plenty of cookies and apples on hand. Then along toward spring there are community tournaments, county contests and finally an inter-county competition.

The quilts are made the old time way with quilting parties in homes. To be eligible for the contest, a quilt must be made by not less than twelve women, who must meet to work on it together. They bring covered dishes for lunch and stay nearly all day. And we'll leave it to you to guess whether they have a good time.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A MUSICAL DREAM COME TRUE; by Music Maker from North Carolina; March 1933

When I was a girl, my greatest desire was to study music; but I was the fourth of six children, born to a poor country preacher, whose meager salary barely supplied the actual necessities of life. My eldest sister, who had been given lessons for a few years, taught me the lines and spaces; and afterward my mother sold chickens and paid an instructor to teach me for six months. That was all the training I had before I was married.

My husband was also musical, but had never had a music lesson. So we decided to see what we could do, he with the violin, and I with the piano.

We studied under good teachers for three years, then kept up our practice at regular intervals. I do my own cooking and housework. We have one child of our own, and have had two orphans and a niece living with us for the greater part of the time, so I was busy. But after the day's work was done, the evening was spent in practicing. To be sure, it was an arduous task, but we kept at it.

Now when we tune in on artists playing Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, or compositions by Schubert, Handel, Mozart, or other great composers, we appreciate their mastery of passages over which we have spent many laborious but happy hours.

We play regularly for church, and are frequently invited to play for weddings and social functions. We feel that our lives have been greatly enriched, and that our twenty years together have been much sweeter because of our music.