Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Household Management, 1937

My book discussion group did Jacqueline Winspear's book The Care and Management of Lies this 
month. I have loved this author for a long time by reading her Maisee Dobb's series. This book is a stand alone and was Wonderful. 

Product Details

The book is first set in Kent County and London, England at the beginning of World War I. The author was intrigued by a book she found about homemaking published in 1914, the year the war started. 

As I read I remembered a book my mother had that was hidden on the top of my bookshelf since she passed away. I dug it out and found it as intriguing as the one Ms. Winspear quoted from.

Mother's was The Household Searchlight Homemaking Guide published by The Household Magazine in 1937--ironically just two years before the start of World War II. 

There aren't any notations in the front except this stamp: "Fowler, Kansas, Feb. 7, 1938." My parents were married in Fowler in 1941, and lived there for a time. I have to wonder how Mom got this book and why she kept it all those years. She wasn't one to keep things, especially when we made the move to Arizona with what fit in our car and a U-Haul trailer.

There are a few items underlined such as this wedding advice:

I don't know if Mom did this underlining. She didn't have a large wedding. In fact I think it was just Mom, Dad and the witnesses.

On the section for "The Home Medicine Chest" there is this note, "true I tried it." Again, I don't know who wrote it.

Here's the complete list: 

On the next page other bits are underlined including fainting is caused when there is "lack of blood reaching the brain." And, under frost-bite underlined is "Never apply heat to frost-bitten flesh." I found that especially interesting because I had frost-bitten fingers when I was thirteen. It still bothers me to handle ice. I don't remember how it was "treated."

While looking for the notation above I found another one in pencil. The section is titled Termites and somebody wrote "That's me." How I wish I knew who did these things. 

The book covers etiquette, weddings, setting a table, serving meals, menus, quantity cooking, health and beauty, the sickroom, physical care of the baby, mental health of the child, floor coverings, wall coverings, curtains and draperies, color: the home, furnishings, equipment, woodwork furniture, textiles, the laundry, stain removal, dyeing, household pests, the lawn, club activities, and entertainment. 

I thought it would be fun to share some of these things. Some of them are silly in our time; others I wish were still in use. Here's a paragraph from etiquette on the street:

     "The best-mannered people are least noticed on the street. They do not talk loudly, or discuss personal matters, since they may be overheard by strangers. They do not carry parasols or packages at such angles that they will strike other people. They do not attempt to dash through a crowd of people, jostling every one in their path. If two people stop to talk on the street, they step outside the line of traffic so that others will not have to detour around them. . ."

Monday, August 8, 2016

Memories of the Manor House

I was quite surprised to receive this photo from my daughter this weekend along with the message that she had found this in an antique store

I called her and asked how much it was ($18.00) and why she was thinking about buying it, because I always thought she hated mine. 

With that lead in allow me to explain. We had one of these little planters in our home when I was growing up. I would spend hours picturing the little people who lived in that old manor. They would walk around the pond, over by the trees, then over by the waterwheel. The door is ajar and they went in and out. Stories abounded. 

When mom and I moved to Arizona it disappeared. My sister had it, as I later learned, and again I was surprised my niece did the same thing. Stories of little people who lived in the manor house. My niece was 9 years younger than me and so closer to me in many ways than my own sister. 

Meantime, I had found one in an antique store. Never knowing that my sister had it (and hated it.) I think we found a third one for my niece years or maybe my sister just said she could have the original.  

So this weekend I learned my daughter made up stories, too. She didn't buy this third (or fourth) manor house because I told her it would be hers one of these days, as long as she wasn't in too much of a hurry. 

So whatever your opinion of this vintage planter it has a history. And an interesting little side note: the three of us who grew up making up stories about the tenants of the manor house became writers. 

It's these funny little stories that make family history and memoirs so interesting. 

Ask around. Your family may have interesting little stories, too.