Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Comfort of a House Coat

Library of Congress: 1942 Nursing School Resident Hall  - Students Wearing House Coats

The fashion industry used to make such pretty robes for lounging at home. Mothers and daughters wore them at home to be comfortable and to look pretty.  In New England these are generally called "bathrobes."  In the south, the robes are known as "house coats."

In my childhood home, we girls received a new robe each year at Christmas time.  The women in our family always wore a robe or "house coat" when at home. My mother had a few different kinds.  There were light cotton fabrics, with little flowers or decorations, with shorter sleeves for summer.  Her winter robes were warm and long, often with a zipper in the front. These were often navy blue or purple and were warm and pretty.  We children always felt safe and happy when mother wore her house coat, because that was a sign to us that she was not going out.  Mother would not step out the door unless she had gotten all dressed up. So we knew she was home with us and comfortable. It gave us a sense of security.

When we girls, my sister and I, would go spend the night at our Aunt's house, we would pack our robes in our suitcases.  Our Aunt had a beautiful guest room for us with rich furnishings and lovely, delicate decorations. We felt rich in that room, with our pretty house coats.  It gave us a bit of elegance to "dress" in something pretty designed just for being at home.

These days the modern look seems to be very casual, almost to the point of sloppy. Old clothes worn around the house seems to offer the new form of comfort.  But this was not the way it used to be.

Each year I try to buy my grown daughters a pretty new robe or a nice nightgown.  I am also doing this with my granddaughters.  There is a tradition from previous generations that we can dress up even in our pajamas, in the form of lovely house coats and lounging robes.

 Library of Congress:  1975 White House Living Quarters-                                                                                                    First Lady Betty Ford with her husband and Daughter, wearing House Robes

It helps make the home culture extra special when one has pretty things to wear in order to relax and enjoy time with the family.

 It helps send a message that we are not going to worry about the bills, the trials, or the outside world when we are at home in our pretty house coats. We are just going to relax and take a much needed break to refresh our spirits before facing the world again.

This is a wonderful example to set for husband and children to help quiet and calm the household with the gentling comfort of a house coat.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Remembering my Aunt's House - Manners Learned at the Finishing School.

A Special Room - Grandmother's Nursery.

Early in the Morning - The Foundation of Cleaning.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Thursday, September 15, 2016

An Afternoon Walk at the Estate

A river bordering the land at Mrs. White's Vermont Estate

The weather has cooled tremendously here in the mountains of Vermont.  The heat has been unbearable for me, so my walks on the grounds of our estate have been a rare treat this season.

This afternoon, I put on my "house coat" and started for the outdoors.  I love to wear a house coat rather than a sweater when I am at home.  It gives me a sense of peace and happiness. It is comforting to my children and grandchildren because they know that when I wear this, I am not going to leave the property for errands or appointments. It is a like a sign to say Mother is HOME.

There is a light breeze, and the sunshine in the bright areas give a gentle sense of warmth. The shady areas are also lovely to walk through.  I walked slowly around the property to see if there was any damage, or overgrowth of weeds.  One of my boys has been mowing our 2 acres and everything looks very nice.

My strawberry garden has been completely ignored for most of the summer. I haven't even looked at it in months.  I think it produced less than 5 strawberries for me, at the beginning of the season.  That is the reward I get for my neglect. (gentle smiles)

We have some trials and worries (as do we all) that we are trying to peacefully walk through.  I have to remember that I only have to face today. I can do it gracefully, with trust that my Heavenly Father will guide me through it.  I have a picture on my kitchen wall with a prayer that says, "Lord, help me to realize that nothing can happen today You and I can't handle."  It is encouraging!

I was so happy when I finished my walk and went back to the front porch. It was nice to get back inside and take a little break before it is time to start dinner.

No matter what is going on, there is a sense of security, a bit of serenity, to keep house and to be here as a wife and mother.  It strengthens our faith to just calmly walk along through life, doing our best to encourage and cheer the family.

The other day, I heard the sweetest message on a CD of Mrs. Lloys Rice. I believe she was around 80 years old at the time. She was the wife of evangelist Dr. John R. Rice and the mother of six wonderful daughters.  She said something about how she has depended on men her entire life.  She said she has depended on them to provide for her. She described her husband as very loving and kind to her.  She made an old fashioned, traditional marriage sound so precious.  She said she loved to just be at home and keep the home.  The message is called, "Patterns for Living," from "Sword of the Lord" ministry. She was speaking at a women's conference or a ladies tea of some sort.   (I believe Mrs. Rice passed into heaven in the late 1980's.)  Oh, how wonderful it is to reflect and to be encouraged from the saints of previous generations who greatly encourage us to continue on the old paths!

Mrs. White

From the Archives - 

A Blessing to Be - The Mother who Isn't Busy.

"There is No Ambition" - Simplicity of Old Fashioned Homemaking.

A Happy Marriage - Serving Mister.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Friday, August 26, 2016

Just a Housewife

Mrs. White's Parlour in Vermont

There is something very special about being a wife and mother.  It is an honor and a privilege.  It was a common custom, that when a lady got married, she gave up her job and planned to be a housewife. 

In many old movies, you hear a marriage proposal from a gentleman offering his girl a "job for life" of "making his breakfast every morning."  The acceptance of the proposal was always a delight to see.  It was a happy offer to be a housewife.

Times have changed so much.  You can see this very clearly when watching television of different time periods.

 In the 1970's, "The Bob Newhart" show has some interesting dialog about women's liberation.  The main characters were Dr. Hartley and his wife Emily.  The neighbor across the hall, of their apartment complex, was a kind airplane pilot. He visited the Hartleys frequently.  You can see him just about to pull out a kitchen chair for Emily to sit, as was the custom of gentlemen.  Then he hesitates, saying, he forgot about women's lib and apologizes to her.  He also tries to open the door for her, but backs off with a laugh, saying he is still learning about women's liberation.  He handled it with laughs and a sweet demeanor. But the message is clear. (When did manners go out of fashion?)

During this time, "All in the Family" had a specific episode in season 2 about women's lib. Archie and his wife Edith visit cousin Maude for her daughter, Carol's, wedding.  It gets difficult and sad.  The night before the wedding, Carol's fiance, David, tells her he just bought a house.  She gets mad.  He talks about how nice the house is and how big the kitchen is. She gets madder.  She is divorced and has a child and wants to be "free" and decides getting married to David would be a big mistake.  She wanted to keep her job and continue her life as it was.  He was shocked and hurt. The wedding was called off. She was thrilled and toasted to freedom and women's liberation.  (What is wrong with being a housewife and mother at home?  Why the anger and hostility?)

On the other hand, in 1951, a movie starring Clifton Webb, called "Elopement" clearly showed the traditional attitude of the value of being a housewife.  The daughter in this movie was a brilliant student who had a scholarship to an engineer school overseas.  She was a talented designer and inventor who just graduated high school. She was to leave the next day, heading off to college.  Her plans were changed suddenly when she was asked to be the wife of one of the teachers. They went off to elope that evening.  Her family was shocked but her father explained that she wasn't throwing away her future by giving up college and getting married. He said she would use all her talents in the home as an incredible wife and mother.  All was well. Everyone was happy.

It used to be common that schools had a Home Economics curriculum offered to students. Most girls took these courses, and learned many skills including: Child care, Nutrition, Decorating, Cooking, and Sewing.  These programs helped train young girls to be talented and valuable wives and mothers at home.  Today, sadly, very few girls choose to take these types of classes anymore. It has gotten so out of fashion that the name "Home Economics" has been changed to simply "Dressmaking and design" or "Culinary Arts."  These are intended for girls who want these to be their working careers rather than for use in a home.

In these modern days, we do not need to accept the common ways of our culture, which says that being a housewife is a dying work.  Despite television and movies depicting dual career couples as normal living, there are still many who are traditional housewives and many who want to be housewives.

A woman at home, one who loves her job as a homemaker, is a joy to be around. She has all the time in the world to patiently care for her family. She manages the kitchen, the housework, and the family with love and skill. She cares for her husband and children like a precious, talented hostess.  She is an asset to home life.

To be a traditional housewife in a godly home is one of the greatest jobs available to women. It is something to strive for. It is the ideal life in a world that is out of control.  To uphold the image of virtue, morals, dignity, manners, and selfless service, is the work of Christian homemakers.  If every home had a housewife, how very fortunate husbands and children would be.

Mrs. White

From the Archives

The greatest work of Mothers - A Humble Parlour as a School of Theology.

Remembering my childhood home - Memories of Ironing and Other Chores.

Here is the truth - Why the High Cost of Food?

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


Review - Happy Birthday to You Board Book

Board Book - Happy Birthday to You

Author - Michelle Medlock Adams

Illustrator - Sandra Rodriguez

Pages - 16 pages

Publisher - Worthy Kids / Ideals

This is an adorable book for young children. It is full of bright, cheerful illustrations. The story has a few short rhyming sentences on each page, making it fun to read and enjoyable for children to listen.

The family bakes a cake, decorates for the birthday party, welcomes guests, plays games, and enjoys the day.  It is upbeat and exciting.

This is a musical book. There is a button on the top of the book. Just press and hear catchy "happy birthday" music.  At the end of the music, you will hear the sound of children's voices saying, "happy birthday," which sounds so sweet!

There is a very special wording at the end of the story:

"And when your birthday's
almost through,
I'll say a prayer
of thanks for you."

On the last page of the book, there is a place to write "to" and "from."  There is also a pocket where you can insert a photo of the birthday child.

*Disclosure - I received this book for review purposes. To find out more about my reviews, please visit my disclosure page.*

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Joyful Time at Home
Visiting by the back fence at Mrs White's Vermont Estate

We had a nice rain today. It has helped bring some cool air to the Estate. I spent a great deal of time with some of my grandbabies this weekend. They brought so much excitement and noise into each room! And with their wonderful noise came a tornado of a mess. It was very precious. I tidied up as we visited.

One of the children saw me cleaning and wanted to help. He saw that working with Grandmother was fun. I gave him the dustpan and showed him how to clean up a small mess of crumbs from their snack.  Then when my back was turned, he ran over to several cans of playdough and picked it all up and put it away. He came running to hug me and tell me what he did. I was delighted and so proud!

Each time the children went out of one of the rooms for their lunch, or for a nap, or some time outdoors, I would work picking up books, cards, pillows and shoes. I was so grateful to have this mess as a reminder that my grandbabies were in my home and I had the honor of helping to care for them.

The main rooms were soon fresh and clean and ready for them to enjoy again, when the children returned. And yes, that meant more messes for me to clean. But what a joyful kind of mess to have to clean from little treasures!

When I need something done, I will ask one of the babies for help. "Will you close that door for me?" I ask the 2 year old, and she says, "Sure!" and runs to help me.  Or, I will ask one of the little ones to go to the sideboard table and get a napkin for the table. They love to help and feel proud of their "work."

 I have special books for little ones.  This afternoon, I sat with a 2 year old and read about a little boy who goes to church with his family. The baby loved to see all the pictures and enjoyed the story so much, she wanted to take it "home" with her.  (gentle smiles).  For me, I know that if the babies take the extra good books, I might never see them again because someone will surely rip them up, as babies are known to do.  But I was able to secretly "rescue" the book and put it back where it will be safe.

I also have "special" toys I keep here at my house, which I say belong to "Grandmother." I am happy to share them here, and the children can use them all they want when they are here, but they do not go home with anyone.  That way they stay special and the children look forward to playing with them here. This does, however, present some fun moments.

I have puzzles and books that did not cost much money and are easily replaced.  One of my grandsons was playing with a puzzle that he loved so much, he wanted to take it home.  When he found out it was okay with me, and that he could have it, he was so happy.  I often try to make sure I have something the children can keep.  When that is not possible, I try to have some baked goods or treats they will enjoy.

After the children are back in their own homes, it gets very quiet here at the Estate. But it is time for a much needed rest. I sleep and take many breaks so I am strong enough for company.  I try to always be ready for whenever we have visitors of little babies, children, and grandchildren. It is a joyful time to be home!

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

Remembering - Walking the Gardens with Baby.

Could this be True? - Only Rich People Have Clean Houses.

A Happy Marriage - When Groceries are the Presents.

Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."

An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email. 


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