Sunday, July 26, 2009

26 July 1955 “Ledgers and Stale Bread”

ledger 50s 1 This image shows a woman using a ledger. This ledger was used in the 1930s-1950s as a cross-reference to the index to the earnings records of Social Security beneficiaries. No computer here, just careful human knowledge.

I have lately become excited about the idea of getting an old ledger book to keep meticulous records of my household. I picture myself in my ‘new’ old kitchen in our antique house come fall, the old book open to a bright new yellow page with all those lines and promise!

This got me thinking about how much technology can help but also hurt us on a personal level. I know when the calculators became available the ‘old-timers’ thought is horrible that people would not have to learn their sums. Certainly there was much scoffing, but now I think upon it there is a kernel of truth in their criticism.

For instance, hubby and I were talking about the silliness of GPS this morning. They are becoming normal and des rigueur in cars and phones. This not only takes ones eyes of the road (though I am sure it is lauded as a way to keep your eyes on the road and not a map) it is just another onion skin layer of the continuing process of dumb-ing us down. Yes, technology is good and does indeed help us, but if we are not careful it can create idiots as well. Reading a map will become as normal as using a dial home phone. Does it, though, indeed help us?

Well, certainly one could argue less trees to make maps, except that the cost of a map must be cheaper to a consumer than a GPS and it will not break. I think it is another example of American Car Company gimmicks. Here are some more electronics to break and need repair in your car. How about a reliable fuel efficient care without computer chips so the average person could, if they choose, fix it themselves. WE are so far removed from the things that serve us on a daily basis we are truly becoming mindless, I feel.

Now, back to the ledger. Those who know me will wonder at MY being excited for such a thing. I have, for most of my life, certainly been more of an “grasshopper” than an “ant”. Yet, another large change in my life from this year and my project is that desire for accountability and responsibility.

A friend of mine just recently told me how mad and upset she was because the “bank screwed her”. In what way, I asked. “Well,”said she, “I had a check that did not get cashed until a month after I wrote it, so I was overdrawn and got a huge fee”. She went on to tell me how unfair it is and how this and that was not her fault. Normally, I would have just accepted her story and moved on, and on the surface I did, for I do not want any personal battles such as this, as I sometimes feel myself alienating myself from my friends because of my new found ideals. I do not want to be the recovered alcoholic who has to go about telling everyone to stop drinking and having fun because look how good it is for me! But, I digress, back to the story. My friend, very much in her heart, believes that all these outside sources were set up to cause her grief and take advantage of her. When the honest truth was that had she merely wrote down the check and balanced her budget based on it having been cashed, she would not have erred. Yet, it would not be conceivable as her fault. I know to some of you this may sound obvious, but I think there are many people out there who live in such a world. This friend said to me, “well I do my banking online” which came to mean, as I asked, that she looks up her balance for that day and goes on that without accounting for checks she has written. So, here again, I see our reliance on technology making us idiots and harmful to ourselves.

I have made many money errors of my own so I would not be the thrower of stones at glass houses, but lately, this year 1955, has made me realize how to distance myself from too much reliance on technology (other than in a very practical helpful way such as now) and to be more accountable for my daily activities down to my change in my purses bottom to the amount of flour I use a day. These need not be seen as OCD or silly, though I know some would think so, but in fact are part of the control over your own life.

I laugh to myself much more nowadays when I hear people claim that a 195o’s housewife is a woman trapped in a cage, mindless and brain washed, suffered to the whims of her master and family. I have come to find out the actual freedom of a homemaker and the ability and power she wields. Perhaps, I am learning, that over all these years none have stood upon soap boxes brandishing their spatulas and calling all those to hear her plea, was because one was content and busy at home. All that a homemaker must have and use to make her career a success is so all encompassing and can be very fulfilling, that who has time to listen to or complain about how they are viewed. Now, of course, I find myself very easily pulled into the quiet confident contentment of the home, but I must, I tell myself, keep the spirit to rally alive. Because, I really feel now more than ever in history, we need to make it more apparent the joy and reality of being a homemaking for upcoming generations. I am finding it more realistic to be a one income family more now than before. I used to think, “Oh, in the old days things were cheaper” well in some cases they were more expensive, but by not being lead into the idea of buying things already made for you cheap they weren’t lured into the need to have two incomes to keep buying all the things that are less expensive!

I would love that new generations could be made to see the joy and happiness in homemaking. This is the time when many minority groups are being given their voice and being shown as proud individuals, certainly then the time is ripe to proclaim the joy and pride of the homemaker. To gain a certainly respectability to it, though those of old did not cry for such a thing, I feel if we do not now try for it then we may lose many wonderful future homemakers. Do you not agree? Though we can find ourselves, we homemakers, easily lulled into quiet contentment, we do need to make it more apparent to others the joy there in and that they too can do what it is we do. That they do not have to be suffered to the lie of consumerism and the need of two incomes.

We do not make a lot of money. We may be land rich in our two properties, but we have to pay taxes upkeep etc on them. We are very hardworking money saving middle class. There are many out there who most likely make much more than do we who feel the need to have two incomes.

I know I had a comment a while back from someone who with her spouse makes a six figure a year income and wondered if she could leave her job to become a stay at home mother. I was really shocked, for surely someone with such income could quite easily do so. But, I do not know their personal spending habits. Things like going to Starbucks, eating out twice a week, shopping for clothes, buying packaged ready made more expensive foods, these all add up but do not HAVE to be the masters of our lived. We have one income, my husbands and it is not grand by any means. In fact he took a pay cut when he left his job in the city after our move back here to the Cape. You simply adjust and find that many of the things that you ‘need’ to do like go out and eat and shop and spend, you don’t need to do. However, if they are important to you, then by all means keep going in the same vein. But, I really feel there are many people out there in their 20s-40s who spend in a way that hinders them from the freedom of a one income household. The joy and ease of a life that has one person handle the money/housework/food while the other provides the actual capital to pay and buy is such a smoother running engine than two incomes.

Now, if you earn enough with two to have other things done for you and you can still save, by all means. There was a time when my hubby worked and I owned a shop and we had a housekeeper who came in. I even toyed with the idea of hiring someone to cook once or twice a week for the week. If you can afford it at the time, but honestly, even then, had I had the knowledge and skills now, I would have done more of my own and saved more money.

It is all relative how we live. If you need to buy clothes, eat out often, go to bars, and generally spend a lot a week, then the frugality of homemaking may seem like a prison to you. However, if you are of the temperament that enjoys time alone, likes to be creative and use and grow new talents then you may be wasting yourself in that office or career. If you have a spouse who wouldn’t mind keeping the job, you may find his increasing happiness and yours when there is a clean house, clean close hot meals around. When the time together is easy as it depends upon only one persons work schedule. There is a lot of joy in such a set up for both parties even the one working. When one is allowed to just focus on work the stress of the office seems less, that is what we have found at least. Of course, everyone is different.

All of this from thinking about my future ledger book! Honestly, with my friend I just felt, here she is trapped by her own inability to see her own responsibility. She is truly a prisoner of the world in which we live. No accountability may seem easy, but it robs us of our control and dignity and really the joy of MAKING our lives rather than just LIVING it.

betty paige I love betty paige and I am glad we celebrate her free spirit and look as a value of beuaty we would like to recreate, but I think we should also celebrate, in our womanhood, the homemaker.homemaker Certainly, we all love and enjoy the beauty of those in show business or high society and in the pages of glamour magazines, but not all of us will or really want to be them. So, perhaps if we also talk about and celebrate those women who really made up the history of womankind, we can turn others on to their legacy. While it may feel nice to look pretty and movie star like for others to admire us, we must also try to cultivate those things that make us feel strong and proud of ourselves and your size, height, age, hair color doesn’t matter when you are judging yourself upon your skills and ability to learn and grow. Sometimes I feel we women sell ourselves short. I really feel today in the modern world women are doing a disservice to their own history by trying to forget and discount the true value and power the homemaker has always had. Only, she never stood up for herself, because maybe she was having such a good time she never thought to. Only those that felt trapped and sad, the noisy wheel, felt the need to shout and rail against the ‘tyranny of the home’. So, as we go along enjoy and quietly reveling in our homemaking, lets help new generations realize their true woman’s history and to celebrate their skills and mind as much as their fashion and glamour.

In my way I have begun to think how much I would love to take this year and with more research make a book about  that very fact. The honest to goodness woman’s history. It seems the very topic of the strong women which make up our pasts don’t get as much attention as those that were in the spotlight. I have really begun to consider this, only I wonder who would read it? What do any of you think. Do you feel there is a place needed in the world for such a book? Would it be helpful and hopeful?

Now, to the practical side. I have mentioned before that I found an old book that had been in my family from 1908. It is entitles “House Hold Discoveries and Mrs. Curtis’ Cook Book.” Certainly old fashioned for a 1955 wife like myself, but it would have been what my fictional mother would have grew up with as a young child in the 1900’s and my fictional grandmother would have used it as sure as I would my 1950s versions of homemaking manuals.

There is an interesting chapter entitled “Stale Bread”. Upon reading it I again find that as I travel further back in time the ideals and practices are all there for one to live a less wasteful and more ‘green’ life.  Here is the opening paragraph:

A careful housewife plans to keep in stock the smallest amount possible of stale bread, and of that stock not a morsel is consigned to the garbage pail. There is economy in adopting the English fashion of bread cutting, placing the loaf on a wooden trencher with a keen knife, and cutting at the table each slice as it is required.

The idea of cutting only as needing. Certainly, not as easy as ‘sliced bread’ but here another example of something being made easier for us turning into something that becomes wasteful and in the end more costly to us and the world.  It goes on:

Look carefully to the stale-bread remains of each day. Keep a wire basket, set in a tin pan in the pantry, to recieve all scraps left on plates, toast crusts,  or morsels from the bread jar. Never put them in a covered pail or jar; they will mold.

There are then following many recipes to use stale bread. No waste.

I am always amazed, as I go on with this project, how much I waste. Now, whenever I am done with a jar or tin foil I stop and think, maybe I should wash it for preserves and fold it up to use again, just because I can buy it for a dollar at the store, I can save a dollar if I reuse it! Simple, I know, but honestly, these thoughts were not there a year ago. Then I come across things like this with stale bread. I usually give our old bread to the chickens and it ends up back in our food with their eggs, but there are some wonderful recipes in here. I wonder, too, if the fictional me would have sampled them from my mother who would have grown up with it and would I still use some of the knowledge now? I don’t know but the real me which is also the fictional me thinks I may start trying.

There is one interesting bit in this chapter about basically a form of breakfast ceral. 1900 cornflakes Now, I know that cornflakes and other things are now available in 1908 for the housewife, but being new they would certianly not just discount what they had been doing and say, “Okay from here on out its only cornflakes for you”. For example they mention this interesting item that I had not heard of called ‘rusk’.

If there are children in the family who like “Rusk”, the old-fashioned New England name for browned crumbs sprinkled into cold milk, reserve the coarser crumbs for this purpose. Sift through a fine sieve, and the crumbs, no larger than cornmeal, may be put away to be used for crumbing purposes. Save the rusk the same way, keeping it always uncovered. If the air is not allowed free circulation into the can the crumbs will spoil. When the rusk is used, heat it slightly in the oven. After croquettes have been crumbed, scrape together all the find crumbs left on the board and sift, returning what is dry to the can.

Somehow this makes me sadkids at mcdonalds

and this happy    kid eating breakfast 30s

You may have seen in an old post I made chicken croquettes and they were so wonderful, and here it is telling you when you ‘crumb’ anything, from fried chicken to what have you, save the crumbs. Simple and yet the concept of keeping an open container of such leftovers has never occurred to me. Of course a year ago I had never made a croquette in my life.

There is another mention of a sort of  ‘cereal’ called “White-Bread Brewis” here is the recipe:

Heat a pint of milk in a double boiler. Stir into it enough bits of stale wheat bread to absorb all the nil,. Season with a little butter and salt. IT should not be pasty or sloppy, but should be a light, dry porridge. It is a favorite with children, especially if served on a small, pretty saucer and dotted with bits of bright jelly. Serve hot.

I have not tried this, but want to. It might make another good dish to introduce to my morning breakfasts. Can you imagine it made from homemade bread with a dollop of homemade jam on it all piping hot? YUM!

Here is a recipe I would like to try:

Bread Croquettes

2 cupfuls stale bread crumbs,

1 cupful hot milk

Grated rind 1 lemon

1/2 cupful currants

1/2 teaspoonful cinnamon,

Yolks 2 eggs

Boil the bread crumbs for two minutes in the hot milk. Add teh lemon, currants, cinnamon, and remove from the fire.Beat in the yolks of the eggs. Cool, form into croquettes, crumb, and fry in hot fat.

Doesn’t it sound good and what a good low cost meal and also good for vegetarians (as long as they eat eggs).

I am going to be sharing more of this book in the future. There is even a chapter entitled, “Cereal Left-Overs”. So, I suppose “waste not want not” should definitely be stitched into the mind of the homemaker. I think these skills would have been called upon by my fictional mother in the depression when I was young to help stretch the food budget and therefore would be very alive in my mind and kitchen, don’t you?

Until later, then, happy homemaking.


  1. It's nice to see that you're back to posting. I think you touch on some good issues with being a homemaker and letting go of the out of reach dreams, but something that I think happened to my mothers generation was being a homemaker and letting yourself go. Giving up on who you are because you are at home and you have a household to look after. Not wearing the pretty housedress and instead relying on tracksuits.

    I think there needs to be a balance between the two. At least I would strive for that if I could afford to be a single wage household.

  2. I agree with that angel. Somehow I do think it ties back into accountability and that means to yourself. SO, if you are at home and not a movie star, you still look in the mirror and think, "I am still someone, my path is as important and I have others as well as myself to look good for" What is funny now, post psychology, is that we need to do this and tell ourselves this to grow, the 1950s homemaker mostly did it because you just did it. Out of respect for others you made yourself look nice. You certainly couldn't expect your daughter to care about her hair and appearance if you did not, so you did it, nor you wouldn't want your husband and sons to be slobs in themselves nor their environment, so you kept the house clean and expected their reaction in kind, dirty clothes in hamper, towels on racks clean clothes put away, beds made, hair brushed, clothes and body clean. Now it seems as if somehow that is militant or old fashioned, but it seems to take so much MORE effort to be slovenly and have to always be trying to catch up then just going along and being clean and well dressed and proud. I don't want to blame the babyboomers, but sometimes I Feel like they were spoiled and didn't want to 'clean up their rooms or after themselves' and that was a lot behind the hippy 'freedom' and now we have generations of people who live in relative squallor compared to the past. Silly, really.

  3. I've learned so much from this post. I like to see pictures of homemakers of the past and read about how they handled things. Thank you so much for writing this.

  4. I think, in a way, 50's housewives WERE trapped in a cage. They were TOLD that their lives were spent biding their time till they were finally married and had a home to run. But now, after all that we have learned and been through, I don't think people look down on those who CHOOSE to be housewives...but these days it is A CHOICE. I hope what you learn from your project is that with the world being what it is...women being able to make their choices based on what is best for them can do things to live frugally, dress femininely, and keep a clean house as your job; BUT you can also take advantage of modern day conveniences and past lessons learned to make your life as full and gratifying as you matter what the year, where you live, or who you know.
    I think a modern girl can still run a home and look pretty in jeans and a's all about personal choices; unlike it was in 1955.
    ...I think, but maybe I'm wrong?

  5. I think, jen, that you might be wrong, I hate to say that, but the more I research and discover the more I realize the the 'trap or cage' of a 1955 housewife is merely our view of it today from our preconcieved notion of what it is to be 'free and modern' and I think the very basis of what I have come to find is that many of what we see today as free and easy is in fact more of the cage. That is just my opinion of course. I know you don't really subscribe to the homemaking mindset and you are dear to bother reading my blog, as you are my friend IRL, as they say, so I hope you won't take it wrong from my point of view. I feel that withouth looking back, not ignoring the present of course, but without a knowledge of the past instead of making our own futures, I feel it is being made for us through the guise of 'entertainment' on tv and such that actually is a tool to conform and contort our ideas of what we should or should not do, including how to be green, in a very real and more controlling cage-like way than was ever done in 1955. That is my two and half cents on the whole.

  6. I agree with you totally! You are very brave to be so pro-housewife in this modern age. We have raised a well-rounded, prosperous family on one income.It can be done and is a peaceful, fun, joyful way to live. I totally recommend it. As I adore reading your blog I know I would love to have any book you wrote. From, Linda

  7. Wow, thanks linda what a wonderful compliment. I have been told I should consider it and the more I think about this year the more the idea comes to me as a way to 'raise the flag' to honor our apron revolution and to proclaim a true part of history that is so wrought by women. I think it is an area that needs further study and certainly needs to be lauded and applauded.

  8. Yes we should not waste food. There are millions who do not get a square meal a day. Your blog is very nice. The images are very beautiful. God is Great. Best wishes.

  9. Great case in point with our friend Mahmood there. I followed his link and it is to a site that is selling anti-aging wrinkle cream and yet his 'comment' which I am sure is what he is paid 1 dollar an hour to do in India speaks of god and starving children. These are the things I do NOT like about the modern world with technology.

  10. Fabulous post! I often find that modern life is getting too complicated in an effort to become more manageable. People don't really know how to do things by themselves without the gadgets anymore, which is quite sad. Hopefully you still know if the gadget leads you astray.

    I love the look of ledgers so I completely understand. A beautifully bound book with tons of columns. When you look at old ledgers the penmanship alone is worth admiring.

  11. Well, I think SOME women may have felt trapped at home in the 50's. The societal pressure to stay home after the war and make a nice family life was probably quite strong. While the majority embraced it there had to be some who "went home" out of expectations. Then there must have been some women who dreamed of being a housewife during the war years only to finally get to be one and not enjoy it- a classic case of be careful what you wish for. I also think much of the "ideal housewife" in the 50's was an image developed by advertisers, much as it is today.

    So why do I love your blog so much? Because I choose to be a housewife. It works for us and I enjoy it. I can't give my family what it needs and enjoy them if I also work in a job outside my home. I've tried it and we all suffered.

    Your point about how we as a society view the 50's housewife with the perspective of the decades after the 1950's is a good one. It seems either we idealize her or are embarrassed and shamed by her. When really the housewife never went away. Someone still ran the home, generally the woman, whether she was working outside the home and had full time help or not.

    Regarding the pictures of the kids at Mc Donalds versus the boy eating at home, reading- I love the contrast.

    Good luck with your ledger. I think it's a great idea.


  12. S-that is just it, as well. I hope I don't come off as if I want ALL women to stay home and never have careers, that is definitely NOT what I am saying. But, I do feel that many women/girls who would make GREAT homemakers are not necessarily shown it as an option. I, too, have worked out of the home. I have done everything from buyer at antique store, PA for a crazy artist, Barista, to shop owner and I have never felt as right or content as anything as I do homemaking. It certainly, like anything, is not for everyone.
    I think what is very modern, however, is that because we do live in an age of instant technology/response/information that the loudest wheel often gets the grease. Certainly, there were women who felt 'trapped' in 1955 as a homemaker, I just feel it is only their voice we have heard. I heard of a movie, which I am going to see after this year, with Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet as a couple in 1955 who are artsyesque and they move to the suburbs and how it is so stifling and destroys them. Certainly, this may have happened and it is good entertainment, but on that same street, I Bet there were many more houses of happy families and content relationships. I understand the entertainment value, but in a time when many young poeple probably don't really know the difference between reality and tv (esp. with REALITY TV) such portrayals can set down in a persons head what it truly was. So, I really do belive there should be more info and support for those of us who do homemaking and those who would like to go into it as a career.
    I suppose when I rant I may come off as some aproned dictator wanting to throw women in the kitchen, a baby on their hip and a spatula in their hand and make them 'get to work', but that is the opposite of what I actually want. I do not want someone NOT suited to staying at home to be home, that is silly, but I want there to be realized that such an opportunity CAN exist and that simply a single income home is not only good (in some cases) for the sanity of the couple but also for the pocketbook and definitely for the environment.

  13. Dear 50s Gal,

    I must agree with you on all points. I have been a homemaker for 16+ years. I drive my husband to the train and pick him up in the evening each workday. It is so sad to see the very few women who are there to pick their commuters dressed so very sloppily - short shorts, t shirts and the aforementioned track suits are the norm. I actually dress to go to the train station whenever possible - I figure that after a day at work my Honey needs someone to be thrilled to see him!

    I have to say that I have felt so alone until finding your site. There are so few homemakers in my community and those that are here are only here until their children are school age.


  14. Mrs. J- It does really seem to be that many areas do have 'lonely' homemakers. I know I should like to get in touch with more in my own area and maybe will once I am settled in the 'new' house.
    I tend to agree that though some can say, "we can look cute in jeans" I don't think it is bad to have jeans, but I think the idea of 'cute' today is somewhat harmful in that it is about portraying ourselves younger. I think the pride of looking owner would benefit more to feel good about their age and bodies. Such stores as 'forever 21' seem to give us the notion that we should, indeed, be forever 21, yet that is impossible. I think, and I know it doesn't make me popular, that to look good more often is good for you and others and I do NOT think track suits and jeans do make you look good in the way I mean. Of course, anyone should be allowed to wear what they choose, but question is when we reach for the jeans, what is behind our reason. Many may say comfort, but I find a breezy skirt more comfortable than heavy denim encasing my legs. SO, I merely want people to question why they choose and do the things they do and always question so that we can remain active members of our own lives and not just mindless sheep following the consumer/entertainment god. I can't help but be passionate about things, I fear it is just my nature.

  15. Jen said:

    I don't think people look down on those who CHOOSE to be housewives...but these days it is A CHOICE.

    I must gently disagree with this. I am a SAHW w/o children and I've read several articles declaring women who make the choice I have, to be "pathetic, lazy moochers" and that we're contributing nothing to society. It's like they believe if you're not pursuing a career then you are a traitor to your gender.

    So while yes we have the choice, most of mainstream society looks down on us because of our choice.

  16. I do agree with you that women who choose to be homemakers need to stand up and enlighten others that it is a valid lifestyle choice.

    The whole women's lib movement was about giving women the equality and the ability to choose how they wanted to live their lives, for those who did not want to be homemakers....but I think they went too far because now, it's come to be seen as a bad thing for a women to do that. She's seen as lazy, not wanting to work hard, or lacking confidence or motivation to have a career. In giving women the ability to choose, her right to choose to be a homemaker was taken away from her. Women today, I think, are pressured to "have it all", spouse, kids, in that order. And if they don't want it all, they're seen as ambition-less. Certainly, being a homemaker wouldn't be for you say everyone is different and if we all had the same mindset, it'd be a pretty boring world. But for those that would choose that path, they should be able to do so without being looked down on in pity.

    As for food waste, I remember reading in one of my Anne of Green Gables novels (set in the early 1900's) where one character was gossiping about another, basically calling her a bad homemaker because she had so much waste in her kitchen,lol. It used to be a point of pride in days gone by for a woman to run her household as efficiently as possible. Even though the book is fiction, I'm pretty sure it captures the correct mindset of the time since it was written in the same era that the characters lived in.

  17. Great blog as always 50s gal. I do want to submit a clarification though, as I was the commenter with the 6 figure income household. We only earn that much with both of us working, and in fact, I earn more than my husband. Should I stop working, our income would be cut by more than half, and we live in a fairly high cost of living city for his job. It is that point that concerns my husband, not us living on a 6 figure income. But your advice is sound- we are working to save as much as we can before any children enter the picture, and we are working diligently now to form the thrifty and sensible habits now, vs. scrambling to get them in place at the last minute! I am excited and eager to be a stay at home mother, and he fully supports it...we are just making sure that we are financially prepared as much as we can be before that happens. And I do think that there is always a period of anxiety and adjustment whenever one person in the partnership starts shouldering the breadwinning responsibility 100%...I don't blame him for being nervous about it regardless of how much money we have in the savings account. Thanks for your blog though, there hasn't been a single post yet that I haven't learned something new or useful!

  18. Mrs. F-Well, without your needing to tell us how much you would be bringing in with just your husband working, I certainly think you are in a good position. You can now decide how many children you would like. Then, having set aside or set aside a system to feed into that for the child/children education. Would they go to a private prep school as well as university and if so, what are the costs. As those are important to start even BEFORE the child is born. Then, based on what you like for entertainment or making a list of things you NOW think you could NOT do without, such a list would be very telling (I love lists!) as you could go through them and maybe have a laugh when you think, "Wow, we really thought we needed that, funny" or "Yes, that is very important let's earmark that". And so, if you live in a city that is costly, and I know how that can be, you need to decide can you still afford that city house on one income, if not, how could you live outside the city but still on say a subway line so your child will have the benefit of museums and possibly good schools as well as hubby's work. I know these are all very obvious things, but again I really think just sitting down and writing things down really does make a great way to plan and see what you can or can't do. I think many people would see with 'cutting the fat' off their budget, they could really live a better lifestyle even if it means giving up on some trips or extras and then find ways to replace those things. So, really that's my advice, for what it is worth. I know hubby and I are always considering our future and the best plans. We have even begun, lately, the talk of more realistic hard-line plan for his eventual retirement. He is 33 and this is definitely not too early to do so.

  19. I have to chime in here. My grandmother was one of 3 girls. My great-aunt and I would be the same age should I be my age now in 1955. She never had any children, worked out of the home her entire life and lived a VERY interesting life. She was a waitress, chef, cab driver (in Chicago!?!?!?), a secretary, knew Al Capone, and had an illicet affair with a congressman. Still, after all her adventures, about 6 months before she died, I asked her if she had any regrets. Her response? "I wish I could have been like your grandma and stayed home and had some kids"!!!

    My grandma stayed home while my grandad worked, she raised 4 children, volunteered with the PTA, church work, girl scouts, boy scouts and such. She only worked once out of the home in her life. In the late 60's she worked behind the lunch counter at Woolworth's because she had overspent for Christmas and my grandad told her she had to pay off her Sears charge herself. She was one of the most contented and happy people I have ever known in my life. I asked her one time if she regretted anything and she said she wished she could have had more children. (Medical reasons stopped her).

    NEITHER of these ladies had a 'mother' to learn from. My great-grandma died 2 days after giving birth to my grandma. Point: I think it all depends on circumstance and personality. What is good for one is not what would work for another. I know my aunt said she wished she could haved stayed home, but I believe that she wouldn't have been happy. She was far too adventurous. My grandma would never have been happy living in the city, going out all the time, working a full-time job and not being a mom.

    As far as the "ideal 50's housewife" we need to think about that. "IDEAL"....something that we wish to attain, but doesn't exist in reality. I do have to agree that the spoiled "baby-boomer" generation (not all, but many of them) have ruined the concept of homemaking as a choice of career. They have deemed us who stay at home as lazy creatures who do nothing but sit around all day watching TV and eating, giving nothing to the world. Ironically, most SAHM I know are WAY busier than their working counterparts. What are they doing??? Cleaning, managing the money, taking care of the kids, laundry, volunteering, watching the working moms kids, helping at school, helping with church functions, planning school parties, etc.

    Somewhere there needs to be a line of repect drawn between the paid workers and the household workers.

    Isn't it funny that everything a housewife does now used to take a staff of 5-10 employees in the victorian times to accomplish...but we are lazy do nothings.....

  20. Lori-Wonderfully well put. It is true, as well, that despite our few modern convienances such as washer/dryer, dish washer etc we really run homes that would have had at least one extra helper let alone the fact that your daughters were EXPECTED to help and learn. I think honestly todays homemakers really do have quite a load and yet say your job is homemaking and watch the eyes roll. You know they are picturing you sitting watching Oprah and Soaps eating ice cream and trashy novels all day. Silly, isn't it, that in a time of PC ideals many groups are finally (thank goodness) being respected, but the homemaker is probably being more looked down upon. WE shall change that ladies!

  21. chiming in a bit late to say i agree as well. women who are at home work just as hard or harder(w/more joy b/c it's for those they love, i think!) than their outside working counterparts. i couldn't wait to give up my job and get home to keep house and take care of my husband. and neither could he!! i know this is the job i was born to do. but i do know that there are those who are unhappy at home. i wonder if it is b/c they are truly unsuited to do so, or if they have bought the "party line" and feel shortchanged???
    also, on the subject of waste and stale bread, my parents often remark how good stale cornbread is as cereal...they used to take the leftover cornbread from dinner, and save it for breakfast crumbled into cold milk with sugar. never tried it (there's never any leftover!!), but sounds interesting..

  22. I'm excited by your words about 'keeping meticulous records of my household'. I wonder how one goes about doing this? You have had business experience among other things. I'd like to run that part of my house as efficiently and thoroughly as a business would have to.. I already have for years kept written entries in pretty notebooks recording every single docket(receipt)that we have each day but to correlate all this and make it 'work' mystifies me. We have a budget where every fortnight we set out money for our bills and expenses but to have it 'balanced' and to be able to see at glance what's going on with our expenditure.. I'd love to see your plan.(Without your persoanl information of course.) Rhonda Jean on her living simply down---to---earth blogspot gives good details but I still don't really know how to 'wrap up' all my written details. Thanks so much for all your inspiration!! From Linda

  23. Linda-I will be learning as I go and will gladly show how I have tried to itemize it. It will be helpful as it will allow me to run a 'tight ship' and treat my household like a business and stay in the black!

  24. If I can make a small suggestion...I have carried a small (3x5) index card in my purse for years. While I am a cash person, I hate to hold onto my receipts, so whenever I have an expense I mark it on my little card. I also keep a card in my wallet with a "skeleton" of my budget so that I can be accountable to keeping on track.

    For example - grocery budget per week is $150 - so I write $150 at the top of the budget card and as I spend I detract from the total.

    The "receipt card" records all the little expenses that I have from week to week - prescriptions, gasoline, cards, pet food, etc.

    I hope this helps. ~Mrs.J~

  25. From 50's gal:

    "I hope I don't come off as if I want ALL women to stay home and never have careers, that is definitely NOT what I am saying. But, I do feel that many women/girls who would make GREAT homemakers are not necessarily shown it as an option."

    Thanks for clarifying. And I agree with you. I think many of us "SAHM" are "housewives" out of default after trying to work but finding corporations to be not so family friendly and affordable high quality childcare rare. So we're running our homes and families with little education in the skills required and not many mentors to emulate. Which is why your blog and others are so interesting- and really necessary for those of us who'd rather learn than just hire a housekeeper.

    From Lorie:

    "I hope I don't come off as if I want ALL women to stay home and never have careers, that is definitely NOT what I am saying. But, I do feel that many women/girls who would make GREAT homemakers are not necessarily shown it as an option."

    I think in a misguided attempt to give women more options the past generation negated the whole concept home management- which any mother or wife, working outside the home or not, knows is untrue. It's really frustrating for those of us who enjoy our role as a housewife. I agree with your comment about the misconceptions of what a housewife does. Yes, we have more freedom in our schedule (based on our children's schedule, if we're also mothers) but being self-directed is much harder than just waiting for directions.

    Regarding the budgeting- do you happen to have handy the 1955 money conversion to 2009 current money value? I'm working on a little budget something myself. :)


  26. The conversion is roughtly $1.00 1955 is equal to $7.00 now. So, if you see an advert for a dress in a 1955 publication/magazine, it would be roughly $70.00 today.
    I like the index card idea, very nice.

  27. I meant to say if you saw an advert for a 10 dollar dress it would be 70 dollars today.

  28. I guess, after reading some (yes, only some...there are only so many hours in the day!) I would just like to say that I think, despite what society says, it IS a choice to be a housewife. And just as it is a choice to be, say, an exotic dancer, you will have people who agree with your life-style and those who do not. But it is your choice and you need to own it and be proud of it regardless. In that respect, I think 'what society thinks' is just that... another opinion. One which should not affect your life or cause you embarrassment over your CHOICES. SOCIETY could not function properly if everyone did the same job...and that's a fact!
    I am proud to be the bread winner of our family right now...but I was also perfectly happy letting hubby work more when I went back to school.
    And so, as I know none of you take offense in what I say, I would never be offended by a difference in opinion from others. That's life (I won't attempt the French spelling!)

  29. Jen-we are not actually disputing rather or not one has a choice to be a homemaker, but in fact are saying that it is indeed IMPORTANT what society as a whole things about various things because it drives choices young people make. When things are viewed negatively, as you say an exotic dancer, it is harder to choose that lifestyle. So, while such a choice is harder being a homemaker and running a good solid half of the 'business' of marriage is truly more successful, or can be, with someone proud of their spot. So, if there is someone, a young girl, who might make a wonderful homemaker but does not get to even see it as an option, as it is not really seen as such today, that person may find themselves chasing careers and jobs that will unfulfill them when they would have been happy and successful at home. So, I really belive to always resign oneseld to "Oh, well, everyone just does what they want no one makes anyone do anything we're all free" is in fact the very opposite of how our socitey is today. We are lead to believe it is so, but in this case, which my project deals with specifically, homemaking, how it is viewed by future generations IS important. I am not saying women should not do or have careers, but the scope of my project and this blog is about what it is to BE a homemaker and its misconceptions and history. So, within that framework I feel very strongly that a casual atitude of 'oh whatever' is not helpful within this scope. Homemaking as it was IS a dying art and it is too bad because what it means to run a home successfully is really a path to happiness, good solid savings, positive living environment and I honestly believe one of the main corner stones of what we actually do NEED in the GREEN movement. So, no offence, but as you say we each view thins differently, but I also know you personally and know you have a more 'go with the flow let life just happen' atitude, and I feel what I am finding is to be more active and focused in our choice in life is what my project is beginning to be about. So, really, just different atitudes towards living, really. And again, no where in my blog or any of the comments has anyone touted the need for all people to have one job. We are however saying that it is indeed important for homemaking to be viewed positively and that it should not be a career paralleled with exotic dancing which is a very specific niche role job while homemaking should really be the backbone of a good well thought out ecnomy producing new generation so people who are self-sufficient and strong and sure of their place in the world and a greener world can only be had when we learn and know how to do more for ourselves rather you are a homemaker or the executive of a corporation. That is my two and half cents.

  30. 50'sgal: I have to continue your thoughts here as I read them. Not only is homemaking the backbone of this world, I believe wholeheartedly that our world if suffering severly because homemaking and motherhod in general have been veiwed in such negative ways in recent years. I have seen it time and time again.

    I have a special needs child. I wont go into details, but it is nothing severe, just needs a little extra help here and there. Anyways, his first two years of school were HELL. I am not kidding. He would have problems and they would call me daily to come and get him at school. The interesting thing is, when we had meetings about him, they would make snide comments about how he didn't go to pre-school (which we just couldn't afford) or hadn't been in daycare (which I, personally, dislike with a passion).

    My point here, they believed that my son's problems we the fault of poor parenting choices because I didn't raise my child like they had raised theirs. We moved to a new district and he now gets treated wonderfully and gets all the help we could want.

    These women veiwed my choice of being a sahm with contempt and arrogance. They saw me as some lazy wench who lets my kid run wild and doesn't deal with him, and I don't have a job so I must be useless. And we must be trash because I nor my hubby have college degrees. All of this judgmental behavior hurt my son, and I have had a hard time forgiving it. I will, someday, at least I pray to.

    Yes, we do have our choices as to careers, lifestyles, car color and hair length, etc. However, alot of our choices are modified by life its self. No, I didn't finish college. I ran out of funds. No, I don't have a "career". I believed staying home with my children was more important. Yes, we suffer financially in some ways from this, but it is a choice we made and do not regret. I will say this....

    I was a bank teller for nearly 10 years before I married and had kids. I wouldn't trade my absolute worst (kids have the flu, house is a mess, money is tight) kind of day for the very best day working out. Why??? Because I am in charge of my life and day. I don't have to satisfy people and their crazy rules and wants. The only one I have to please is me, and my family. And believe me, I would much rather have my son come through explaining his latest toy creation or deal with the kid fighting or what have you any time.

    This probably doesn't make much sense...but I am tired. Thanks for the vent anyways. :)

  31. Lorie- Your post makes sense, but maybe I'm just tired enough to get it! (It's been a trying day for me- nothing catastrophic, just the day to day mommy thing takes it's toll after a while.)

    Please try to forgive those horrid women. A grudge will never make them understand you and will only eat away at your heart. I'm glad you were able to change school districts and your son is getting the attention he needs and deserves.


  32. Lori-I second what "S" has said. And we do what is good for ourselves and our family and that is right. I, obviously, agree that really many people don't consider homemaking a career, up until 6 months ago I know I never did!
    I think it is true that even if people think poorly or not at all of such a career people can still do it BUT I really feel that many WON'T becase of the way it is percieved. I mean today woman can do anything and that is great and I want that to continue but it is odd and a shame that one of the main careers of womanhood now has to be sort of looked down upon. I really do feel we are, in some way, turning our back and our nose up at our history as women. BEFORE we had the freedom to really choose (though there were times when women ran businesses and estates and managed things men did in the ancient past as well)the world continued and was made to what it is today and woman played a 50% role in that. I cannot understand how modern people can look back at their ancestors who ran their homes and families with pride (yes some felt trapped, but many feel trapped today in the job market endless pointless job after another)and feel that they can just label them as slaves or stupid.
    Hilary Clinton once replied, "Well, what do you want me to do, stay home and make cookies?" which, quite honestly, is hurtful. We are careful and PC about our words and the way we depict minorites. Yet, we treat homemakers as if they are invisible, unfeeling or downright stupid. I just feel that there can be no 'Woman's studies' without the acceptance and reality of what our history truly was. The abilites to make and care for home and child and husband are hard and challenging as is war. And, certainly, even the building of cities and forming of communities were heavily influenced by women. Perhaps, as I said, many homemakers usually find such contentment that they don't ever bother to stand up and say, "Well, that isn't right I work just as hard and smart as you" but since I am so new to it, I can't but help wnat to get on my soapbox now and again.

  33. I am a 68 year old homemaker and have been one my entire adult life; it was my choice for my life. During my girlhood in the 1940's, I saw competent skillful women manage homes, raise children, and make a MAJOR contribution to their neighborhoods, commnities, and nations (worldwide). It is my personal opinion that it is not the life for every woman; it is a life you have to believe in and have respect for. I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked if I ever had a "real job". There are many careers that a woman who has the skills, abilities, and passions for should definitely pursue. Also, in general, I have come to beleive not everyone (male or female) should necessarily be married or be a parent. I love your blog and it is true pleasure to read about your journey. My very best wishes to you as you go on this journey of discovery. Dianne

  34. Dianne-what an honor to recieve a comment from the 'real thing'. I salute you and your generation for your contribution to womankind! It is true, homemaking, nor wife, nor mother, is for everyone. I am glad that we live in a time when a woman can be a brain surgeon a senator as well as a homemaker. I do hope, however, that we 'younger' generation could start raising the bar and the appeal of homemkaing. I feel there may be many young ladies out there who may never get the chance to even choose it. If one is only thrust in to the role randomly, how would you know it was right for you. Thank you again.

  35. Dianne--would you please start a blog and share your life experience with us, enabling us to ask questions?

    I, for one, would be reading what you have to say with a notebook in hand to take notes!

  36. I second that, roxanne. In fact, wouldn't it be nice if at university and h.s. there were older homemakers who could be 'professors' to teach the education of the home! We, as women, have such figures as the women who stayed home and ran their house and raised their kids, and all that knowledge just fades away, we need to be taught and to record and to praise our foremothers and celebrate and learn from their knowledge, I fear we women are letting our history slip away from us.

  37. I appreciate the kind comments regarding my posting and I think this blog is the perfect forum for those interested in learning about basic homemaking skills and how life was lived in other decades. I first linked to this blog because of the title; my very favorite year in my life was 1955. I have been so impressed by our blog hostess/moderator and everyone who is so enthusiatic about the subjects discussed here. Just to impart a little advice to all those on this journey, do NOT expect to be PERFECT. It doesn't happen; you will just frustrate yourselves and want to give up. Also, do not expect to be MASTER of everything. At the same time, don't be intimidated or underestimate yourself. If you want something done, learn all about it, then do as much as you can by yourself and get help for the rest. If you can afford to hire a professional, fine, at least you will have the knowledge to be certain it is done properly. Being a good manager sometimes means knowing how to delegate, compensate, and adapt. Learn your strengths and weaknesses and become competent in the areas of your strengths. This experience is very much a part of your personal life journey. To give you two examples: I am not a great cook and never will be, but I put great effort into the quality of fruit, vegetables or meat I purchase for the simple cooking I do. My grandmother could sew a button on and that was the extent of her sewing ability; but she was superb at crocheting. She could tat or crochet very fine lace for pillow cases, create intricate doilies,afghans, and even crocheted (very large hook) rag carpets for her kitchen. When she wanted a slipcover or drapes she commissioned her sister in law to make them for her. Or with some other small sewing job she might offer to crochet something in return. She managed by adapting and compensating. She didn't bake bread (she may have when she was young) but she knew the best bakery to get made from scratch freshly baked bread to go with her super delicious homemade soup. Care and effort on her part. However this same woman,by herself, dug the trench for the water line hookup to the small home she and my grandfather were in the process of building when World War II broke out and EVERYONE went to work in the local factory that was retooled to build tanks. Everyone was working round the clock and she had to do it herself if it was going to get done. This is one of the women who was a role model for me. I was so pleased to read 50's gal post about her fence. That was my Gram in a new generation of women. Reading that gave me a great deal of pleasure. I was never afraid to tackle any job connected with a home; if someone else could do it, why couldn't I? Quite often the bottom line was if I wanted something I had to take responsibility for making it happen. As a child and as an adult, I have always lived within the confines of a modest income and sometimes that meant taking responbility for just getting the job done yourself. My frame of reference for running a house and thereby laying the foundation for creating a home is very different. I sincerely wish I could gather all of you together, hop in a time machine (hopefully the best bakers among us would bring along some cookies,brownies, or even scones), and be your tour guide for a week of observation of typical middle class-working class homes and their neighborhood in the 1940's. Ditto for 1955. You can't even imagine what a different world it was. Please keep in mind there really is a sisterhood to all of this and it is a job that has achievement and builds self respect. My very best wishes to all. Dianne

  38. Dianne--I LOVE what you said. Thank you for the encouragement not to try to create an ideal but to put forth our best effort as we take care of our own situations.

    Could you elaborate on your comment that "My frame of reference for running a house and thereby laying a very different"...?

    Now, how are we going to get that time machine up and running? I'm not a good cook, so I'll have to volunteer to help in another way...

  39. Thank you Dianne your words do inspire. I think, though I like to try eveything, sometimes I am too hard on myself when I do not do thinks perfectly. I have a great case in point story that I wanted to share with all of you concerning some baked goods I made for my hubby to bring to work the other day, but too busy with yard sale prep to tell you know. I will post about it this week, remind me if I forget. It helps to be humbled in the kitchen (or anywhere really) sometimes to keep your perspective.
    Thanks again to all of you wonderful commenters. I really do feel ,as Dianne put it, a sisterhood with all of you. Together, we are a strong force and can support and help and entertain each other with our ideas and stories, now back to work for me!

  40. Oh, and Dianne, I am sure I speak for all of us when I ask, WHY was 1955 your Favorite year?!

  41. Hello again, I will do my best to answer Roxanne's question about when I referred to my "frame of reference". First, it would probably help to know that I was a child who liked being with adults. Fortunately for me, I had many women in my life who liked my company. Perhaps they understood how much I respected and admired them and wanted to be just like them when I grew up.
    They never had the attitude that I should "stay out of the way" or talked down to me. This gave me a front row seat to these women's work thus giving me a more involved "frame of reference" that I would otherwise have had. In the 1950's I took Home Economics courses in eighth and ninth grade that were quite extensive. Each of those years I took a semester of cooking and one of sewing. There was more in-depth training available to women of my generation to enable you to take on the job of being a homemaker.Cooking class involved everything from learning how to clean a stove to defrosting a refrigerator (they weren't self defrosting; it had to be done manually), to how to clean and wax a kitchen floor. We learned all the basic cooking and baking techniques. Basics like how to "cut in" the shortening in pastry and how to tie up a roast. We learned how to properly set a table, fold a napkin, and good table manners. We learned all the various silverware utensils: dinner forks,salad forks dessert forks,seafood forks, dinner knives, primary butter dish knives, individual butter knives,teaspoons, soup spoons, English style dessert spoons, pickle forks and a whole assortment of serving pieces, even that little springy thing for escargot. and THEN we actually did a lot of cooking and baking. You get the idea. The sewing class was every bit as involved. You were taught thoroughly all about your machine. We had to learn all about fabric. There were little samples of muslin, percale,linen, organdy, dimity,batiste,chambray,seersucker,corduroy,twill ,velvet,cotton velveteen,and probably others I've forgotten. We had to take a written test identifying them. We learned a variety of seams(flat felt-French,etc), how to make a buttonhole by hand,how to do a bound buttonhole, and a machine buttonhole (with an attachment). Plus the usual like putting in a zipper,blind hemming,ladder stitch, etc. We learned to do tailor tacks,use tailor chalk and THEN we made clothes. Sorry if this became too rambling. I have a very high opinion of all who comment on this special blog, and once again offer my best wishes to each of you. Dianne

  42. To 50's gal and all: I will be very glad to tell you why 1955 was my favorite year. I was in high school in 1955 and it seemed liked a period of time when everything was exactly as it should be. Have you ever experienced that? While 1955 actually straddled two school years, they were both great. I loved my teachers, my classes, and had some wonderful times with my friends. I had my favorite teacher for homeroom and English class. We were studying Chaucer, lots of Shakespeare, the Globe theater, and English poets and their poems. I loved every minute of it. Perhaps if I share a favorite weekend it will help you understand. My girlfriend and I had planned a special weekend with me spending Friday and Saturday night there. I always loved being at her home and to this day it remains one of my favorite houses. It was a large two story house with a lot craftsman style. The living room was dark green with a great deal of crisp white woodwork,a white mantel, and white craftsman style build in bookcases with glass doors. The comfortable sofa and chairs were slipcovered in a softly muted large floral print. It was our plan to take the bus downtown on Saturday morning to buy matching outfits. We had each saved $2.98 to buy gray corduroy bermuda shorts and pink knee socks (probably about $.59). It was one of those beautiful October days when the sky was a perfect blue with fluffy (cumulus) clouds. We got home and changed into our matching outfits: pink sweaters, gray corduroy bermuda shorts (they had a very different cut than shorts today), pink knee socks, and penny loafers. After lunch, we headed off (walking) to the neighbor soda fountain for dessert. Two happy teenaagers getting a strawberry ice cream cone and a vanilla fountain Pepsi. When we got home her father was finished with his Saturday chores and offered to teach us how to waltz. He was a distinguished looking man, silver hair and also a silver gray mustache. He had a beautiful speaking voice. A record was put on and we took many turns waltzing around that attractive living room with this gentle man. Of course we were so pleased we had gotten these special outfits to wear on this beautiful October day. That night we attended a party (we did not wear our great outfits, we were dressed up) and that gallant man escorted us to the family car to drop us off at the party. This October 2009, it will be 54 years ago that two excited high school girls spent an absolutely perfect Saturday afternoon waltzing around a living room with a distinguished gentleman. By 1965 that world didn't exist any more; it was as obselete as the dinasaur. I do not mean any disrespect to those who love the 1960's and the bright,happy colors of that time. Most likely teenagers today wouldn't have a clue how to understand that day, and might even ridicule it. But for me, my heart belongs in 1955 when I wore full skirts with crinolines that rustled and swished when I walked and could enjoy a day like that October Saturday. That day is firmly fixed in my Happy Place Memories. Best wishes to all and thank you for reading about one of my favorite days and hope it helps you understand why I love 1955. Dianne

  43. I wrote a lovely post in response to you, Dianne, and my compute went down and I lost it. So here goes again:

    Thank you so very much. I feel as though I have been blessed to look back into your life to an amazingly beautiful day. You brought a tear to my eye. It just reaffirmed to me that I am lucky, for my parents shunned the world of the 60's and raised us in the same fashion that they had been raised (they are about your age). I would have loved to have been a young lady in the mid 50's. I also was lucky enough to have women who enjoyed teaching me and sharing about how things were done. I frequently catch myself doing things the way my grandma showed me. Thanks again for the gift of sharing your memories.

    PS - you should pull together your memories into a memoir and publish it. You have a definite gift when it comes to the written word!

  44. Diane, what a wonderful day! I absolutely loved it. The matching outfits, with knee socks! How perfect can you get? And dancing with your friend's father. Just sweet.

    Thanks for sharing. You are probably a bit younger than my mother (she graduated from college in 1958) and while she shared some wonderful stories with me I wasn't old enough to really appreciate them while she was alive.


  45. I am still with you! But have been on holiday for three weeks and is trying to catch up on everything. VERY busy at work and at home, we are celebrating son and DH’s birthdays this coming weekend, so we have a thousand things to do this week. I will write you a mail with a few photos soon about my holiday and other things going on in my life.

    Great idea moving to your vintage house, but won’t you miss that darling cupboard you made and your kitchen garden? ;) You have to start all over again – is there a garden at the old house? I love the idea that Gussie is living with you, must be nice to have a friend living with you. :) I look very much forward to seeing photos of your “new” home.

    I am not an opponent of new technology, mostly I love it, but I chose very critical what I need. You can buy so many stupid electrical things you will never use. I’ve just bought an outdoor spa and DO we love it! :) DH and I spend some quality time in it at night and the teenagers love to “party” in it. :) And I also love my GPS since I am a “geography mongol” (I get lost everywhere), but I hardly never look on the screen, I only listen to the voice orders. I NEVER answer my cell phone when driving either. Before I got a GPS I printed out guidances from the internet and every time I stopped at red I learned the next three steps by heart – much more dangerous, and I drove the wrong way many times, very irritating. I think I’ve mentioned it before – I love the fifties but also love to live in the present and choose the best from the past. :)

    I want to tell you what I’ve learned from your blog - to spend less! I’ve always been frugal in a way that nothing is tossed, everything gets a second chance – food is stored in boxes in the fridge/freezer, shoes are taken to the shoemaker (I don’t think many does this now-a-days), clothes are mended/repaired/sewn. It is so natural for son that “mummy repairs this for me”, no other mums do these kinds of thing. We renovate/repair everything from our old house, car and furniture. But I’m really considering what I spend my money on and that is good since my salary in my new job is much lower than in my previous job. I think I am filled up with so many things that I often think “I can live without it”, but DH and my biggest problem is to resist a bargain. I’ve told him that we don’t need it just because it is discounted. We’re still working on it. ;)

    You know I would love to be a homemaker, my new job is GREAT, but my heart is in the “homemaker business”. In fact I am a homemaker – that is AFTER I come home from my full time job, therefore I am always busy. I don’t know anybody who irons so much as I do. :) And I hardly ever watch TV and we don’t own any electronic games, I only spend a little time on the internet – i.e. reading your blog. I stayed at home for two months after I got fired from my previous job and did I LOVE it! But I’m sure VAT and especially taxes are different in Denmark than in the US. I’ve said to DH if only he could double his income then I’d stay at home and do all the housework, but he cannot, although he would love me to stay at home. In fact I cannot think of any homemakers I know here in the present time. If we should live from one income we should move to a teeny-tiny moulded apartment in the dark end of the city, we could not afford the smallest car (we have three now including my vintage car), I don’t even think we could afford going by bus. That would not be worth it! But I love the way your blog makes me think. Keep up the good posts and good luck on moving.


  46. i have so enjoyed reading these memories and thoughts. what a lovely little group we have!!

  47. Hear, hear for the house wife! It's a hard job, but I love it.

  48. I would love to read that book! :)

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