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

HAVE FUN AT THE DINNER TABLE, 1936

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

A WINTER PAUSE...

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: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, January 28, 2019

TWO INDUSTRIOUS GIRLS

I love the simple ways that these two girls made money. I wish that these opportunities were as easy to come by today as they were in 1927.

From Arta Lind in Idaho--
I made my first dollar by selling parsnips to town customers. My father had planted more parsnips in the family garden than we could use, and the surplus was only going to waste. So I asked him if I might have the ones we didn't use. He said I might, but he didn't think I could do anything with them.

It surprised the family when I dug four bushels and sold them all the first week. I put a sign in our front lawn, and as our farm is on a state highway several people stopped every day. The first day I made $1.25, and with that and more money earned the same way I bought flower seeds and started a flower garden. All the next summer I sold cut flowers and with the help of my father I bought a violin. I had just turned twelve that fall when school started, and so with my violin I took up music in the school. Before the next spring I was playing in the Junior High Orchestra.

All this was gained by some parsnips that were only going to waste.

From Nelle Jones in Florida--
Girls! Why don't some of you join me in my new business undertaking? I have just opened a Milk Bar in our front yard where passing wayfarers may get a glass of real milk to quench their thirst.

Necessity was the mother of invention. Motoring from Florida last March I found it was almost impossible to procure a glass of milk outside of a restaurant. Ginger ale and pop were to be had at every crossroad, but call after call at farmhouse doors was met with a negative shake of the head. The milk was shipped to the cities in bulk, only enough retained for family use.

This thirsty experience thrust an opportunity right into my head. Upon my return home, up came an old table from the cellar, out came the paint brush and my milk bar is a delight in delft blue and white with a three-legged milking stool to match. The only other equipment consists of a five gallon jar, a dozen stone mugs and a ladle. There are no bottled goods at my bar, but I do serve a free lunch. A homemade cooky crowns every mug of milk at ten cents a pint. Nothing else is needed but a bouquet of flowers. Wear a gingham dress of blue, a white bib apron and a flat brimmed sunbonnet to match.

The traveling public is thirsty and we girls on the farm can so easily furnish the beverage that is food as well as drink.

Let's not live in the same old rut this summer, reaching up hands to dad for money every time we go to town. Let's earn our own with our milk bar.




Monday, January 21, 2019

WISE AND TRUE ADVICE, by Margaret, 1920

Wonderful insights from 99 years ago. 

A man whose wisdom and kindliness had won for him a host of loyal friends once said to me, The only way to keep a friend is not to care whether you lose him."
This seemed to me at first to be a very indifferent sort of remark for a man to make whose friends loved him, but the more I thought about it, the more I judged him wise and true.

For it is the clinging, selfish thought, the fearful heart, which cannot hold a friend or a lover. That sturdy soul who recognizes that the source of each man's happiness lies in his own heart, and not in the devotion of others, is the best friend in the world. As for him, you may come or go, his respect and kindness are a constant feature. He does not demand of you certain things and then resent non-fulfillment. He does not plan for you the way that you should walk and then reproach you for not walking in it. If you do fall, he says, "You can buck it again, old friend, and you can't hurt me, because I depend on no man." If you desert or neglect him, his open heart, and freedom from accusation, leaves the door open for you to come back to him again, and you soon find that he is still your friend.
In love as in friendship, the heart that can learn to let another heart go free, to give much, and ask little, is the heart that prospers. That man or girl who wears love out with constant demands, or who clings so closely and so demandingly on the beloved, loses love, lover and all, and deserves to lose, because the basis of human relationships must not be selfishness.

So many young people write to me, "My sweetheart is growing indifferent. How can I regain his (or her) affection?"

The answer is, that you can't by trying. If indifference comes, let it come, and let the lover go, for the more you struggle to hold him, the more will he want to be free. But the best test is to open wide the door and without fear, and without resentment, make it easy and simple for him to get away, still retaining a pleasant relationship. That is the real test. If he goes, his desire to be free is sincere, and should be granted. If he does not want to go, but is only impatient, his opportunity will make him realize that you are important, and dear, after all.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Grandmother's Party, 1916

Everyone in the house had had a party except Grandmother. Mother had entertained twenty friends at cards and Janet had had a dancing party. Bob had a fine time giving some of his chums a sleigh ride following with a dinner at the club and Father had just bowed his last guest out from a dinner.

"Now it's Grandmother's turn," said loyal Bob. "She ought to have a party. And have a party she did.

Never was more pleasure given to twelve elderly ladies than was theirs on that lovely September afternoon. The whole family entered into the spirit of the affair. Bob insisted that his part was to get the flowers and vines to decorate the house and Janet could arrange them. "I'm not going to have any of your ordinary garden stuff," he announced,"anyone can have that. Grandmother's party is to be the best ever."

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Monday, January 14, 2019

Applesauce Cake, 1936

A few months ago a friend Aaryne sent me a little booklet she ran across somewhere in her travels. It made her think of me, she said, which shows she knows me pretty well. It’s called Successful Baking for Flavor and Texture.  The name alone is a giveaway that it wasn’t written recently. It was published in 1936 by the company that made Arm & Hammer baking soda.
I’ve marked out several recipes to try and today I decided to make the Applesauce Cake. I’m still working my way through bushels of apples so I’m always looking for ways to use my apple abundance.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Victories of the Flowers, by C.S. Harrison, 1906

“How precious are thy thoughts to me, Oh God."

The unfolding of the blossom is a revelation of the precious thoughts of God. I am overwhelmed at times with the thought that God has been forgotten in our homes and in our land. In the early days, Minnesota was a glorious garden of flowers and all the air was laden with the breath of their smiles. Man turned His flower gardens into wheat fields, but it is too bad they did not remember what He can do for them. Flowers are His songs unsung, silent poems, eloquent with His praise.

How many battles have been lost in our great cities when there were only dingy walls instead of God’s green fields.

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Sewing in School by Teacher Mary L. Murphy; 1913

Practical education seems to be the cry of the people, especially in rural schools where only a small per cent of the children ever go beyond the eighth grade and of those who go through high school still fewer go beyond.

With that thought in mind I aim to teach sewing two Friday afternoons a month. I plan the sewing and do the cutting and either do the basting or show the children how to do it.

The girls very readily took up with the sewing plan, but at first the boys thought it would be very queer for them. If it is possible, the boys work at carpentry.

We talked of things that boys and girls could easily make and each child selected his article, the material for which the parents gladly furnished.

The various articles which have been made so far this term are:

Pincushions, two boys, four girls.
Sofa pillow in cross stitch, one boy.
Sofa pillow, crash, fringe edge with initials, one boy; two girls.
Fancy-work aprons: three girls
Handkerchiefs: two girls.
Dresser scarfs: three girls.
Towels, hemming and monogram; two boys; two girls.
Kitchen aprons, cross stitch; two boys.

There are fourteen pupils in my school and everyone, even the smallest, has finished at least one piece and all take an interest in the work.

When there is any machine sewing to be done, as with the kitchen aprons, the mother is asked to do that at home. We use two rows of cross stitch to hold the hem down and have some simple design worked above that on aprons.

The children can easily be told where and how to begin work. Children will to do ripping in many cases but will be more careful the next time and they usually do it cheerfully when they see the difference in the right and wrong way.

I use my own original designs when anything is to be monogrammed or embroidered.

The parents are very much in favor of this work. They say, for the girls especially, that they are taking an interest in sewing which they never before showed. Those that hated it, are now liking it. There is no lack of interest on the boys' part, for they have asked to be allowed to take sewing home to work on, the boys can make useful things.

Sewing for the wee folks requires more planning and I sometimes have them work at other things as color work, paper cutting, etc.

Some of the work begun at school is finished at home but even if it is not done exactly right it stimulates the child to greater effort and in time he will learn the difference between good and poor work.

It is best to plan things as simple as possible, for children from 6 to 12 years old are not very persevering and well enough instructed in the art of needle craft to do difficult work.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

True Happiness, 1933

Everybody is trying to get there first. It is just hurry-scurry from one thing to another. Everybody seems to be wanting something she doesn’t have, and is in a hurry to get it before someone else does. After we do get a thing, we never have time to enjoy it, but just start thinking about something else we want.

This sounds like a good description of 2019, doesn’t it? But this was originally written in 1933, during the Great Depression. In an era characterized by widespread poverty, I expected people would have been more appreciative of their meager possessions in light of others in a worse position....

To continue this post, please go to: http://ahousewifewrites.com