Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Housekeeping Staff

"Family Birthday Party", March 15, 1952

Wealthy families would employ a butler, a maid and a cook. There might even be a gardener and a chauffeur.  These homes were lovely places and were well-kept.  It was pleasant to have company over and enjoy the surroundings of a nicely - run home. 

Each employee had specific jobs:

The Butler -

   He was sort of like the administration staff and the host, all in one.  He would answer the door, handle phone calls, and sort the mail.  He would get tea, or direct the staff in what the boss needed. 

The Maid -

   This quiet worker, did all the housework. She was in charge of laundry, washing floors, making beds, polishing furniture and keeping the house in lovely condition.

The Cook -

    The cook had to plan the meals (based on the direction of the boss), get the shopping done, cook and bake, and serve the food.  The cook was also responsible for keeping her domain clean and neat.

The Gardener -

     He would tend the flowers, mow the grounds, remove weeds, handle bushes, plants and trees.  He was responsible for keeping the property in beautiful shape.

The Chauffeur -

    The driver took family members wherever they  needed to go.  This freed the passengers from worrying about getting places. They could relax in the car, do paperwork, enjoy the view and just relax.   (He also kept the car polished, clean and in excellent working order.)

Each worker served the family in a quiet, respectful way.  They did not intrude on the family's privacy.  The best workers did not gossip about their boss to the neighbors.  They protected the privacy and dignity of the family.   Most of all, they did not voice their opinions or complain about their work. They were greatly skilled and trained in their profession and were an asset to the home.

When times got tough, some of these families had to let the staff go.  This left the family, itself, to take on all the jobs.  Mothers, Fathers and children learned how to run their own homes.  They were weary, but took on the tasks as a challenge and did their best to keep things looking proper and pleasant. 

Over the years, families forgot about having a trained housekeeping staff.  They started to slack on all the jobs until a "lived-in" (messy) house became the joke of American culture. It became the norm.  People with lovely homes were ridiculed and made fun of for being "perfect" or "dull."    Somewhere along the line, we forgot how beautiful it can be to have a well-kept home, that would make even the traditional housekeeping staff proud.

The next time you have to "open your own door," or "cook your own food," or "drive yourself somewhere," please think of the home employees who do this for a living.  Do each task as if it were your profession, and bring back the loveliness and pride of HOME!

Mrs. White

The Importance of - The Skilled Housewife.

Enjoying Housework - Peacefully Occupied.

Home Economics - The Thrifty Kitchen.

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