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: