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!
Friday, October 27, 2017
10/25/17 Chatterbox Betty Kaiser
Chuck and Betty Kaiser
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