A WOMAN’S LIFE
Fran cuts out a poem: “My Domain” by Grace Noll Crowell in the Progressive Farmer
This is my domain, and I shall keep it//Beautiful – a place of joy and light//Where those who leave it will be glad returning,//And where my man can find his rest at night.…
And I have strength in my good arms,//And water//And soap and wind and sunlight, all are mine…
And I have pride in any work done well://A new-baked loaf; a pan of fluffy biscuit.…
The victory of some hard task completed.//The joy of knowing I have done my best//Within my quiet place—the sweet contentment//With life, and love, and laughter, toil and rest
“Here’s Why” column by Ira S. Wile, M.D. comments on anthropological work of J. G. LeVan in British Guiana: found that the women of Indian tribes he studied were “not neurotic as are American women.” Conclusion: “’Nerves’ are one of the prices we pay for our civilization. The simpler the manner in which people live, the more likely they are to enjoy peace of mind….The Indian women of Guiana did not worry about having ‘permanents” or silk stockings because they probably did not know that these blessings of civilization existed. The more you see around you to want…the more unhappy you are likely to be….”
1939 “Boy Advises Girl” column by George Antheil:
“Are women too dependent on their husbands for happiness?” Author says a husband comes home where “there is nothing interesting going on and he sleeps.” The woman should cultivate hobbies and activities that stimulate her mind without her husband so she too can “be absent” from her marriage in her mind.
Later, a poem pasted from her favorite poet, Anne Campbell:
“The Happy Wife”
…“She has an ear for misery//And is a crutch for more than one”…“She is so wholesome and so right,//Those who come near her cannot miss//Sharing her brave and happy light!”
And across the page: “Together” by Ludwig Lewisohn
You and I by this lamp, with these//Few books, shut out the world.//Our knees//Touch almost in this little space,//But I am glad. I see your face.//The silences are long, but each//Hears the other without speech.…Here, here alone do we create//Beauty and peace inviolate.//Here, night by night and hour by hour,//We build a high, impregnable tower,//Whence may shine now and again//A light to light the feet of men//When they see the rays thereof.//And this is marriage, this is love.
And next to that poem, “The Second Cup of Tea” by Anne Campbell…
Across a second cup of tea,//We dawdle for an hour or two,//Just gossiping, as women do!//And then when it is after three,//We…hurry homeward to our brood,//Heartened by Friendship’s lasting food! (1937)
“Ex Mouse” writes to “Constance Desperate,” “Nine to Five,” and “Wagon and Star.” Apparently they have written letters about their plain looks. Ex Mouse tells the story of Jane, who men ignored, and how Jane methodically changed her life by outward and inner adjustments. New shampoo, new dress, new books to read, new job – built her confidence, so that finally “Plain Jane” got over her inferiority complex, married and had twin sons. Lesson: “All men like gaiety, a smile, a warm and sincere word.”
p. 22. “No Woman is Happy in Home of Another Woman”: From “All Fours Likewise” to “Clegg’s Wife”:
“…It is said that the Chinese have a proverb which says, in effect, that no sink is long enough for two women! Many men do not understand that a woman cannot be happy living in the home of another woman. They too frequently take their bride home to mother’s and then wonder why ma and wifie cannot get along harmoniously. I have also heard that the Chinese symbol for the word fight is represented by two women! I hope that isn’t true for all of us!” [ 战斗 ]
…”Mothers should teach their sons to set up their own homes when they marry. If sons and daughters are not financially able to do so, I believe that it is the parents’ duty to assist them to marry, help them to get settled and then hands off. Our young folks have good stuff in them if we give them a chance.”
“A Trip a Day Keeps Humdrum Away”
Conversation between author and neighbor. Goal: “never to surrender to the dull, lazy everyday and never, never, never to bore my husband,” she declares. Take trips in head, imagination, through reading if not in fact.
Hand-copied: “If your hips are large – beware of slim draped skirt. More flattering to your figure is the four-gore skirt with fullness toward the hem. The two-piece dress with flared peplum, the skirt draped to the side and the beltless princess dress are flattering to your figure-type.”
1938: Emily Post column:
-At an open house, despite quick comings and goings, hostess must always provide a place for men’s coats and hats, and ladies’ wraps so guests don’t have to stand wearing coats
-Guest must always respond to an RSVP invitation in writing or by phone, and in 3rd person: “Mrs. Jones regrets/accepts with pleasure etc.”
-Fruit in centerpiece: If sit-down meal, don’t touch it unless it is “proferred.” If buffet, you may touch and eat, but only after dessert.
“Gaining Poise” from Hollywood:
Remember: others don’t see what you do (critically); change your viewpoint; exercise outdoors regularly to get “healthful glow”; – you will worry less; excel at something; face trying circumstances; seek the good in others as well as self
Poem, “Irresistible” by Judd Mortimer, from Houston Post: Ode to mother cooking breakfast as child awakens:
“When it’s been daylight for awhile I hear a sort of stir.//Like mother makes about the house, and then I know it’s her;….And then I hear her scratch a match and know the stove is lit”….
“Pretty is as Pretty Does” by Vida Hurst’s column “Modern Proverbs”
Young man helps his fiance’s younger sister, who is upset that she won’t have a new dress for a dance. He explains how and why “9 boys out of 10 won’t know what kind of a dress you are wearing if you are smiling and having a good time.”
Article on Charm, “the mysterious power” which “many a plain-faced girl has wished she knew!” – How to cultivate intellectual, physical, psychological traits that evoke charm.
To Wandering Stenog; from Clover Hill — Clothes to wear on River Trip: Knit Dress or Suit with Blouses; Heavy Fall Coat for wind; “woolies”; “A Chiffon (which packs well) and a figured silk dress or silk suit would be ample for evenings on the boat or shore.”
Dear White Satin and Lace; from “The Little Mrs.” (frequent letter writer cut out and pasted by Fran) “Simple Trousseau for a Fall Bride”: heavy coat; traveling suit; tailored blouse; wool dress; crepe or velvet dressier “afternoon frock”; 3 “gay house dresses”; flannel “housecoat-bathrobe combined”; “shoes, hats, accessories to match each costume would be nice.”
p. 115: Marjorie Hillis, author of “Live Alone and Like It,” [this writer becomes one of Fran’s frequent cut/pastes]:
Suggests best “platform costumes” as there are now a “great number of women’s clubs of all sorts and types, and numerous chairmen and speakers who appear on their platforms.” Choose a longer skirt and not too tight because “when you sit down, it will ride up, and there are few sights less attractive than a skirt strained at a line just below the knees, above all too-prominent legs (even well-shaped ones).”
From 1938: “Authority May be Expressed By Soft Voice”: “Radio and Talkies have awakened the world to the magic of really fine speaking voices….Children instinctively obey the voice that says firmly and quietly, ‘Do it’ – without depending on shouting, wheedling, or begging to get anything done.”
“Lucky First Born” – Doctor studied 1,210 biographical records in Who’s Who in America only to reach the conclusion that first born children do better in life than the last born. The relationship breaks down, however, for families larger than five or six…Nevertheless the data do show that the advantage of the first born lies primarily in better health and that this advantage is primarily attributable to the vigor of the mother….”
“Parents Should learn To Allow For ‘Margins’ in Home”
Using Economics theory: parable suggest that parents should accept that human conduct is based on chances and risk; they should allow for a margin of error (1939)
p. 82 – “Encourage your Children to Learn By Heart” : Verses by Celia Thaxter, William Wordsworth, Ralph Waldo Emerson, George L. Banks, William Blake, Elizabeth Pullen, Christina Rosetti, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ernest Rhys
p. 154-“It Isn’t Always The Child”
Who needs to be disciplined!
Sometimes – and frequently, too – the whole explanation of misbehavior lies in the domineering, nagging, unsympathetic, or nervous parent.”
[pages late in scrapbook seem to deal with subjects of young mothering; supports theory that she pasted throughout the book, then returned with later pastings to fill in gaps on pages]
“Your Baby and Mine” by Myrtle Meyer Eldred
Insert: column, Your Child and Mine, by Angelo Patri:
On children’s tendency to blame another and ways to teach them that “he and he only is responsible for what he does.”
[Wiki definition: Angelo Patri. His real Italian surname was Petraglia and he was born in Piaggine (salerno). Patri came to the United States in the 1880s. He gained a B.A. at the College of the City of New York in 1897, and an M.A. at Columbia University in 1904. A schoolteacher in New York from 1898 to 1908, he was the first Italian-born American to become a school principal in the United States. In attempting to engage the student with tasks that went beyond book learning, he was influenced by the writings of John Dewey. From 1908 to 1913 he was Principal of Public School No. 4, and in 1913 he became Principal of Public School 45, Bronx, New York.He wrote a syndicated column, Our Children, on child psychology for newspapers and magazines.]