This blog is coming to you from Cottage Grove, Oregon where I am a columnist for the local newspaper. My 'Chatterbox' column is about reminiscing the experiences of real life in the 1950s to the present. The 'Cook's Corner' segment features updated, country-style cooking.
Real life. Real food. Enjoy!
59 years is a long time to be married. But by the grace of
God, Chuck and I will celebrate that milestone next week. I was 19 and Chuck was 20 years old when we
were married Nov. 1, 1958. Life in the 50s and 60s was an exciting era. We were
kids who thought we were grown-ups and the world was our oyster. It was a great
time to be in love and unaware of life’s obstacles. After all, what could
possibly go wrong?
Unlike today’s mega, destination weddings, ours was a simple
church ceremony on a Saturday afternoon. The cost was minimal. Mother paid for
my gown. The five lovely bridesmaids and tuxedo-clad groomsmen paid for their
attire as did all the other attendants. We provided the flowers, cake and
printed napkins. Dad paid the minister. The church ladies did the rest. As a
couple, our out of pocket cost was probably $300 tops.
After a brief 3-day honeymoon, Chuck went to work and I set
up housekeeping. We were blessed that all those guests and bridesmaids hosted
bridal showers and brought us gifts. We had everything that we needed and we
are still using the pots and pans that were wedding gifts.
Fortunately, I was a home economics major at Pepperdine
College so I knew how to cook, clean, sew and manage a budget. I didn’t know
much about managing a husband or raising children but I muddled through and that’s
a subject for another time!
One of my shower gifts was the first edition of the Betty
Crocker Cookbook. It had cooking tips, recipes and other household hints. Most
women did not work outside of the home. The pictures in my copy all show a
young woman wearing a house dress and apron while going about her daily chores.
Following are BCC’s rules for being a successful housewife:
*Every morning before breakfast, comb hair, apply make-up, a
dash of cologne and perhaps some simple earrings.It does wonders for your morale.
*Wear comfortable clothes and properly fitted shoes while
working around the house. (No jeans.)
*Harbor pleasant thoughts while working. It will make every
task lighter and pleasanter.” (Sometimes.)
*Prevent unnecessary fatigue: Use a dust mop and long
handled dust pan; or self-wringing mop (no stooping). (Well, duh.)
*When standing, keep erect posture—do not slump or bend over
tasks (poor posture is tiring). Remember sitting uses much less energy than
standing. (Who has time to sit?)
*Do head work while dusting, sweeping, washing dishes,
paring potatoes, etc. Plan family recreation, the garden, etc. (It’s called
*If you feel tired, lie down on the floor on your back; put
your hands above your head, close your eyes and relax for 3-5 min. (A nap?)
I didn’t follow all those rules but I did comb my hair every
morning; cologne was only for special occasions. Jeans are my uniform of the day.
I try to mop as little as possible and I am always thinking of pleasant things
I would rather be doing. And yes, I have been known to fall asleep on the floor
with kids crawling around me!
One of the things that Betty Crocker didn’t cover was
hanging up the laundry. We had a washer but no dryer. And I had three children
in four years! I learned the hard way about the basic rules for hanging clothes
and diapers out to dry. There were no secrets you could keep on a clothes line.
They announced when a baby was born, the ages of children, illness, the company’s
coming tablecloth, the husband’s work clothes and dingy kitchen towels. So,
there were clothesline rules…
1.Never hang clothes on the weekend or Sunday!
Monday is always wash day.
2.Wash the clothes line before hanging the
clothes! Walk the entire length of each line running a damp cloth around the
3.Hang sheets and towels on the outside lines so
you can hide your “unmentionables” in the middle.
4.Hang clothes in a certain order: whites were
always washed and hung first. Then came the dark colors.
5.Always hang shirts by their tails. Never by the
shoulders! What would the neighbors think?
6.Always gather the clothes pins when taking down
dry clothes. It is tacky to leave pins on the line.
7.To cut down on clothes pins, learn to line the
clothes up so each one could share a clothespin with the next item. (Thrifty!)
8.If possible, take the clothes off the line
before dinner, neatly fold them in the clothes basket to be ironed.
9.IRONING? I couldn’t wait to buy a dryer!
Looking back, I realize that I never did play by the rules
when it came to cleaning house or hanging laundry. But I did learn how to love
and cherish my husband (and children)—for better or worse, for richer and
poorer, in sickness and health. I also learned that sometimes rules are meant
to be broken and life’s ups and downs are great teachers!
P.S. Happy Anniversary to the best husband I’ve ever had!
Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family,
and other matters of the heart.
Read her twice monthly columns in the Cottage
Summer is gone. Fall is here. And that means it’s time to clean up the garden and my email inbox. Both are overflowing. Readers often send me thought provoking and fun stuff that I keep until I find time to pass them on. Lately, my inbox has been full of reminders of the practice of old fashioned manners. Lucky you! Here are some to ponder…
“First impressions make lasting impressions” was drilled into me as a child. I was taught that a first face-to-face introduction spoke volumes. Today, impressions are also made by what you say online in emails or Facebook. Yes, it’s still important to dress well and be polite... but how far will that get you when people only know you by what you say on the Internet? That’s a whole different set of manners that we’ll talk about another time.
Those of us of a certain age often wonder what happened to the “Yes, Sir” and “No Ma’am,” environment that we were raised in. Using those titles (without sarcasm!) is still a sign of respect and that hasn’t changed. It is always best to address others respectfully at that first introduction. Military personnel set a good example for us all. I must admit that some of my friends think it is too formal and old-fashioned thereby betraying their ages. That doesn’t bother me.
“Thank you” or “You’re Welcome” are never out of style. We were raised in the same generation if you have ever been annoyed by a sales clerk’s attitude who hands you your change from a transaction and says, “Here you go!” At some point in the last few years, the phrases “Yep,” or “No Problem” also started. Where did they come from? They suggest that your business was no big deal. The phrases thank you and you’re welcome allow customers to feel like their business is appreciated.
“Here’s what’s happening.” I like this form of communication. It can be used not only at work but within families, friends and neighbors. It is a meaningful exchange of information. It means you’re not being left out of the loop or having to rely on rumors to guess what is going on. It is true communication. It shows respect and consideration without being condescending.
“How can I help?” Again, this is a respectful form of communication. People don’t like to ask for help. But if we see that someone has a need, we can be proactive and suggest that we are ready, willing and able to help them through a rough patch without dictating what we think they need.
“I’ll find out.” Sometimes we have questions that we cannot answer alone. Knowing that someone is going to go out of his or her way to team up with us, relieves tension and warms our hearts.
But enough of manners. On the lighter side, a number of people send me interesting questionnaires that I can never answer. The questions usually begin with “WHY?” Here are some for you to ponder. The answers follow.
Questions: Why do ships and aircraft use 'mayday' as their call for help? Why is someone who is feeling great 'on cloud nine'? Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called passing the buck? Why are people in the public eye said to be 'in the limelight'? Why are many coin collection jar banks shaped like pigs?
Answers: 1. This comes from the French word m'aidez (meaning 'help me’) and is pronounced, approximately, 'mayday.' 2. Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud. If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well above worldly cares. 3. In card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility of dealing, he would 'pass the buck' to the next player. 4. Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and theaters by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theatre, a performer 'in the limelight' was the Centre of attention. Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of dense orange clay called ‘pygg.’ When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as 'pygg banks.' An English potter misunderstood the word. He made a container that resembled a pig.
Thanks to all who contributed to today’s column. Now we all have been reminded of our manners and why we have piggy banks! Oink. Oink.
Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family,
and other matters of the heart. Read her twice monthly columns in the