Monday, March 24, 2014

A NEW DEAL FOR WOMEN; April 1936; Virginia

Dear Editor:
I, for one, think it's high time that we hear something about a New Deal for women. I make the motion, second it, and unanimously decide that we women initiate the following New Deal to begin on the next sunshiny day.

1.   A couple of hours off for rest and recreation each afternoon--and by recreation I don't mean darning socks or struggling over Junior's homework.
2.   A discard of all those faded, shapeless house dresses we've been wearing and some new ones of bright gingham, print or lawn (pink's a nice color. So's yellow. And don't forget the ruffles.)
3.   Less attention to dusty corners and more to face and figure--after all, John doesn't notice a shiny house so much as a shiny nose.
4.   More smiles and less spanks for Junior.
5.   More kisses and compliments for Friend Husband--"My, you're good looking this morning, darling."
6.   A rousing, peppy song several times a day, even if it does frighten the cat (she needs some excitement.)
7.   One meal a week of everything that you like instead of cabbage for John and cheese straws for Junior.
8.   A beautiful verse or quotation committed to memory every day.
9.   Time off to attend home demonstration meetings, club pow-wows, and other things, "just for myself."
10.  Less worrying--after all, what difference will it make a hundred years from now?

And remember--good humor is to a home what salt is to soup.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

FOR THAT LITTLE FARM IS HOME, By Bachelor Girl, New Jersey, May 1931

Spring is in the air! I just had to get out my nature book, which really is a scrapbook which I started some years ago on the farm, not a hit-or-miss scrapbook for it is divided in subjects.

First, poems and pictures on nature in general, such as God of the Open Air by Henry Van Dyke, Back to Nature, Out in the Open, and Better Things. Then several pages are devoted to Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter with a page for each month of the year. February and July are still empty. Poets seem not to like to write about those months.

Next, and my favorite of all, are sixteen pages filled with beautiful pictures and poems called On the Farm, and a dozen blank pages left to be filled, for I suppose I’ll be clipping and pasting the rest of my life. The remaining subjects in the book are Trees, Flowers, Birds, Gardens, and Night.

When I get homesick for the farm I usually find something in my book that comforts me. Had I been a boy instead of a girl, wild horses could not have dragged me from the farm, but after Father’s death, my brother married and wished to continue farming, so Mother and we three girls moved to town. My mother and younger sister being invalids, my older sister and I decided we must have our work at home, so we care for elderly ladies, three at a time, making our home a House of Seven Women instead of a House of Seven Gables. My sister looks after the nursing end of it, while I go ahead with the cooking.

When I read the Letters From Farm Women--which I enjoy so much--life on the farm with all its ups and downs does sound so attractive. Hard work? That's everywhere. We make our own garden and used $60.00 worth of vegetables from it last year. We can everything from dandelion greens to soup and blackberries from the surrounding country. We mow our own lawn and do our own laundry work, and tend our own furnace.

We think we live in an ideal country town with its paved streets, beautiful trees, a lake, rolling golf links, churches and schools, nestled in a valley surrounded by hills. I try to be content, yet my heart goes out to the farm. Quoting from my book:

"There's a little farm that nestles in the shadow of a hill,

And a group of memories haunt me; I am sure they always will.
For a boundless love, far-reaching, stretches toward me where I roam,
And my heart is lonely, sometimes, for that little farm is Home!"

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

WHAT IS WORTHWHILE by Mrs. W.S.B., Iowa, 1932

It should come as no surprise that I nearly always post articles where I agree with the author's words. In this case, I do think that the author has some good points, but as you can imagine, I can't agree with her totally. Yes, I must admit that if we are neglecting important tasks in favor of quilting (don't look into my closets, please!) it is wrong. But in most cases I believe quilting has great value since it so often shows the "love and kindness" that the author mentions, and that we all should strive for.

One of the most loosely-handled expressions of the day is "worth while." Our living is so complex. Unless we budget time very strictly, and eliminate a great deal, we are apt to find ourselves rushing hither and yon, doing many unnecessary things and leaving undone some of the essential.

What is the yardstick by which we measure values? An older woman whose intelligence I greatly admire says, "Anything is worth while that we like to do." I wonder, might one not become very selfish that way?

Many women do things that to me seem time-killing. Cutting up perfectly good material and sewing tiny pieces together in an intricate pattern--enough of them to cover a bed! Yet, I cannot deny the beauty of it when finished. Is that enough,--just to have built beauty? Another woman,--and she has credits toward her doctor's degree in Home Economics,--has all of her washing ironed, even to turkish wash cloths. This is certainly not in keeping with my ideas of modern efficiency. I'm sure the college girl who irons them doesn't think so either. This heartsick old world need a lot of things more than it does marking time over housework.

It seems to me that the answer to what is worth while is service. Is what we are doing of any use? Is it making the world better, happier, kinder? I cannot name the author, but I read in a book by the title of this letter, "Only those things are worth while that go into eternity with us." That excludes worry, jealousy, anger and fear. It includes love and kindness.