Sunday, January 17, 2010

17 January 1956 “Am I a Working Girl Now or a Committee Woman? Welcome to our HOME TOWN!”

woman at typewriter I have, of late, begun to wonder: am I a working girl in 1956 or is it that I now am so busy with my ‘committee work’?committeewomen copy

What really got me thinking about this, was one of our dear reader’s comments:

It seems your role in the 50’s project has changed. Originally, I found your blog entries to be a running journal highlighting how your 1955 self made her way through the day to day life of a 1950’s homemaker. With the creation of your new website (Which is Really Swell!), I think you have become more of a “Working girl” in a Mid-Century context. I see you becoming more of a columnist a kin to Julia Child, Emily Post, or even at times “Dear Abby”. Providing us, your readers, with reflections, how-to’s and advise. I think that in a 50’s context you would be spending part of your time working at your typewriter (computer) providing your daily article for the newspaper (your website and Blog). I guess one of the advantages is that you don’t have an editor breathing down your neck or “revising” your column. keep up the good work!

So, I began to think, in the context of 1956 (which quite honestly is where I seem to be spending most of my time!) would I be a childless homemaker that would, indeed, be doing some secretarial work part time? Of course, I am not actually getting paid and I do not have to leave the house for this work.

EmilyPost julia child While I would love to think myself akin to Julia Child, Emily Post, or “Dear Abby”, it is true I have no ‘editors’(though I sorely need them, I am sure!).

That got me thinking about a woman such as me, at my age, childless, firmly in the middle class in 1956. I most likely would be very ‘busy’ with committee work. Without a child to care for and my house under control (thanks to that entire year in 1955! Though it would have actually been an overall part of my education through my life, but I digress)I would most likely be very busy with unpaid committee work. So, my ramblings here at my ‘typewriter’, even my new site could very will be a ‘newsletter’ for the club or committees upon which I would most definitely sit.

I had wanted this year (1956) to be about community. I had originally seen that as going out into my own community and joining the historical society, garden club, etc (which may still happen) but now I see I am expanding on the community of the digital.

This has made me look again at my project. Though I have started with the premise that I could travel between 1956 and 2010, I have to say my little sojourns into the modern world instantly leave me feeling empty, sad, and rather depressed. No wonder Prozac was invented! And, yes, I know my 1956 is not REALLY 1956, but it is a world where the TV and modern ‘news’ does not exist. Modern books and magazines also are not around and my wardrobe, chores and concerns are rather 1956. Even my study and research, daily, for the site and blog is obviously 1956 and earlier.

One of the reasons I had wanted to include my ‘time machine’ scenario in this year’s project was so that I could see and hopefully show you that we can cherry pick the good from the past and make a better present and therefore affect the future. And, for all intents and purposes, I shall like to use the compare contrast of the two decades to help make points of change and awareness of what is happening in our modern world, but quite honestly 1956 is so much more comfortable.

tashatudor This lead me to think again about Tasha Tudor. ( I know, I am really taking you down a road, but bear with me I do arrive somewhere.) She, disillusioned by her own time, chose to live in the 1840s, the early Victorian really pre-industrial world. She even had children and I don’t know if that was selfish of her. But, she did it. However, did it keep her from experiencing a true whole life? I don’t know. I don’t think so.

However, when she was living this way it was actually the 1950’s. It was probably easier to ‘disconnect’ yourself from the modern world then. For, you merely unplugged the phone, did not buy a refrigerator, and no TV and suddenly you were antiquated. Today, even for me to merely travel to 1955, there are so many things, microwaves, cell phones, computers (which I obviously did not do without!) endless TV channels, so much connected ‘plugged in’ media, it is not as simple a process. If Tasha Tudor went to the local market (which she would have had, we do not and really only have chains) she would not see people walking about with phones in their ears, iPod ear buds, blue tooth etc.

So, do I want to unplug myself? Not entirely, as I want to be a part of all of your lives (as long as you want me to be, that is) and to grow my site, which in all honesty is really just this blog expanded into a community with all the layers of living of which I can think. Yet, I don’t want to be OF the modern world. That is to say, I don’t want to watch modern TV. I have tried the first week to see what I could see to discuss here, but I just couldn’t do it. For selfish reasons it made me ill and sad. So, it is literally disconnected. Modern news: I just heard of the Haiti disaster and then hubby told me how all the people and organizations that are donating to help mostly are doing it digitally, obviously, so all those credit card/debit card transactions on line to aid them are giving a HUGE profit to the credit card companies. They could waive the fees in lieu of helping Haiti as well, but why, no one bothers to really understand how the economy or the world works, so they just sit back and take in more profits at the loss of others! (As a former business owner, not sure if any of you know this, but when someone buys something from you with a credit card , visa and MasterCard take a percentage of every sale from the business and American express takes an even higher percentage. So the small business is hurt even more by this as every thing he sells a percentage of it right away goes to the company from your money. Yet large corporations, such as Wal-Mart, have the clout to have almost no percentages and sometimes none, so as to be included in the corporate growth. Another way the middle class and new business is hurt by the corporate sector! So using cash makes another statement that you are HELPING the small business man to keep all the profit from the product and not just give a percentage away to a credit card company. That, in itself, is an entire post!)

Well, back to my original point: I don’t know where I fit, really. I want to stay in 1950’s. In fact, I may continue to make this year more about 1956 with the news and things I am learning, but by adding the ‘extra’ committee work of my website. And really, then it is as if all of you are a part of  my ‘club meetings’ that I am making the newsletter (website) for, or you are my local towns people who are reading my articles (blog) in the daily local newspaper.

That is when I start to feel better. As if, amongst the chaos and overt evil (for I know not how else to describe it!)of the world, to think in some way I am living in my own version of 1950’s with all of you in my ‘digital home town’ where we can meet for coffee, you can read my ramblings in the ‘local paper’ and we can discuss important issues as well as beauty tips and decorating and everything under the sun at our ‘club meetings’ (the website with its forum and now comments on each page so we can share and discuss the subject matter in it instead of it just being a dead page of information.)

This, too, makes me again feel I have some control over my life. I cannot stop Monsanto from owning seeds and living cell structures, nor stopping them from creating ‘Terminator Seeds’ that destroy themselves after the first harvest so local farmers cannot harvest their own seed but MUST buy seed again from them. I cannot walk in front of the construction of yet another Wal-Mart nor stop the hoards as they mindlessly flock to buy plastic cups emblazoned with WWF images or groceries and products that they don’t care why they are so cheap. I cannot go to the corporations that don’t care that they pay third world children 3 cents a shirt, as they work 17 hour days sewing logos of Football teams Or print Britney Spears logos across them. I cannot go down to the headquarters of FOX news and ask them how they can look at the world every day and lie and contort the truth for their own pockets while they watch their own country slowly evolve into one large corporate run dictator ship.

I am but one small little homemaker, here in a small town USA trying to keep her home clean and neat, make her family and friends happy and in the bargain myself. But, if I can, through my small efforts, make a place-this imaginary digital HOME TOWN that we can, all of us, belong to-then I feel like that is a valid life. That is a way to feel I am plugged into the world and yet not only selfishly  fulfilling my own needs to hide away in a time that protects me from the misery of my own present. It can be a way to find solace and comfort in the words and love and communication with all of you dear things in our HOME TOWN here, and know that we are, at least amongst ourselves, keeping some of the truth and beauty of simple life alive. And even if we only influence one or two young people, if they can continue on, as long as the world is free enough to voice our opinion and choose what we buy and how we live, then our little Revolution can live on. And that, I feel ,is a good project indeed.

So, I hope you all are happy enough to continue to follow me along into this crazy journey. I love what we have built thus far and know we can do more. It can be, really, a safe place for all of us to escape to. And, you never know, you may one day look around and see the TV is no longer there, the house is clean and de-cluttered, your family is happily chatting about happy things whilst eating your meal at the dining room table. And you will know, yes, this is life. This is joy and happiness. This is why it is important that I teach my children and care about the world I live in. And the silliness of the newest and latest clothes, what is going to be on the new ‘Fall Schedule’ on TV, and the latest celebrity or reality scandal is will seem a silly dream from which you have awoke.

 downtown3 So, welcome to our TOWN and I hope you get a chance to stop by our committee meetings sometimes, or catch my ‘article’ in the local paper, or just stop by for a chat or drop a line. I am proud and happy, no matter what the date on the calendar says, to be amongst you all in this great town of ours.Gilchrist's1950'stowndancewomenatpicnic copy

 Search The Apron Revolution