Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How a Housewife Passes the Time

There is Nothing Like a Good Book, Lady Reading

We've all read scores of stories about homemakers who had "work baskets." These contained knitting and mending projects, or some kind of embroidery. Women would carry these with them when visiting friends. They would also keep them in the parlour for when they had a break from housekeeping. They would work with their hands to be productive while they passed the time.

One of my favorite things to do is read. I have scholarly books, fun books, and instructive books. I also have some  Charlie Brown Comics,  which make me smile.  One in particular, PEANUTS TREASURY, was published in 1968, and contains comics from the 50's and 60's. There are two charming comics in there that are adorable, because they provide for us a glimpse to the past.  Young Sally (Charlie's sister) is worried about going to school for the first time. She bolts up in bed and says something like, "When I  grow up, I want to be a housewife . . . Why should I have to go to Kindergarten?"  In another comic, she talks about how she has no interest in learning new math, because she has no need for that as a future housewife.  While a future housewife should certainly go to school and learn math and other skills, I loved how innocent Sally was about it all.  I also love the way girls were encouraged, at that time, to aspire to be housewives.

I have to find another good book to enjoy today. I will place it on the little table beside my chair in the parlour. I usually sit over there, near the window, and drink my tea.  I will read when I finish my kitchen duties. The house is generally quiet at this time of day.  Reading makes for a pleasant way to start the day.

Later, as it gets colder, here in Vermont, I will find a hand-sewing project to work on while I sit by the fire.  I have no idea what I will make. It will probably be a small quilt. It doesn't really matter. The fun is in the sewing and being available to talk and  laugh with the family while I work. It is a restful, peaceful routine for the winter.

Mrs. White

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Heather Lynn said...

Thank you for this. Your post gave me new resolve to not get our cable hooked back up. We just disconnected in August, and now that our favorite shows are coming back on, we are not happy about it. Fact is, we *need* to be doing things that are productive with our idle time, not zoning out into a TV show.

You have blessed me today. :)

Laura Lane said...

Sewing and knitting and reading vy for my attention. It seems that reading has won out for now. The Crew is keeping me so busy!

Anonymous said...

That old comic strip from The Peanuts sounds like a fun one to read. I also like how the girls were encouraged to be homemakers as well. It's unfortunate that you don't see much of that in today's comics or books.

I love your idea for a homemaker basket filled with projects to do as a break between house chores. I'll have to keep that idea in mind. :)

Unknown said...

My mom and I were just discussing this topic this morning. In the past couple of years, she's held 4 different jobs and just quit her last one last week. She says she's struggling because she really just wants to be a homemaker and take care of her husband but she feels pressured by society. She's 56 and hasn't had kids at home for 13 years or so...sad how people think there's nothing for her to do now that she doesn't have kids at home. I hope she'll find contentment in being a keeper at home!

Mrs. Sarah Coller

Karen Andreola said...

I agree. Having a "work basket" nearby is a very good way to relax and be productive at the same time. I feel sort of Little-Women-ish when I pick up my knitting or mend a button. I so enjoy knitting for my grandchildren. Recently I finished a purple pinafore for my 18month-old Eloise. After super is when I pick up my knitting or hand-quilting. The Man-of-the-House and I sometimes listen (on his blue-tooth) to "Ole Time Radio" in the parlor while I knit. He likes "Frontier Gentleman" and I like Jimmy Stewart in "The Six Shooter."