Reruns. We all love them, don’t we? Well, I am hoping that some of you do because that is what is going to happen on this blog. After some consideration, I have decided to rerun a series that I wrote on my previous blog. It was a series based on a 1948 Home Economics book that I found during one of my vintage shopping excursions. I adore this book. Although dated in some content, it is spot on for much of today’s living as well as it’s intended 1948 audience. I hope you will enjoy this series.
(the following was originally written February 7, 2011)
OK, here’s the deal. I am thinking of doing another series. My head has swum with ideas and thoughts for sometime that I feel need to be formulated and expressed for no other reason than to clear my head. I love, love, LOVE reading blogs. My favorites are about minimizing, frugality and incorporating tangible style into my life. Check out my blogroll and you will get what I mean. I am constantly inspired through my reading of these blogs to try to continue to better my life. Not through obtaining more “stuff” or subscribing to “quick fixes”. But by focusing on the simple and meaningful things that are already a part of my life. And by sharing what I have with others. This is how I choose to be “rich”.
One constant theme I take away from all my reading is that there is a virtual community (at least in my blogosphere) yearning for a return of style and grace. I sense this even through minimalist blogs, not just French/Euro inspired/simple lifestyle blogs, as these people post about getting rid of, limiting their consumption of and learning to say “NON!” to the acquiring of more things, they are in effect saying “give me simple elegance…quality over quantity”.
Cupcake Caramel has recently talked about dignity…or the lack of it in the world… and she shares about how she spends her French Fridays (usually non-extravagantly) and what joy she has in doing so. How To Be Chic exudes her sense of style without being ostentatious–realizing oodles of money is not required to live a life of substance and quality. The Rich Life (on a budget)blog’s name really says it all about her approach to enjoying the simple pleasures life has to offer. The Savvy Life website is brimming with inspirational reading that lends itself to simple implementation in my life. All of these, and more, take me into a lovely, dignified, graceful world that just gives me the “warm fuzzies”. Then, I walk outside.
I do not live in a dignified, graceful or stylish world. Some of this may lend itself to location and the economic hardships many are facing today…I realize that my corner of the world is not necessarily the thumbnail sketch of an entire country (or other countries). But these should not be excuses for rude manners, slovenly dress and unkept homes. I don’t care if you are a millionaire or living on a meager income, style and grace can still be obtained and endorsed by the masses. What I observe really bothers me because I don’t understand why or how people can choose to live that way. I say this not with an air of “I think I am better” than someone else–it’s with a confused air of WHAT HAS HAPPENED?
When I look in history books, old magazines, even see vintage family photos, I see generations of people who seemed to really take pride in their appearance and their homes. They dressed with dignity and respect…even if they had to shop the Five and Dime or thrift stores. They kept their homes tidy…even if they were living in a trailer or renting. They realized that these things do matter–if for nothing else but their own self-esteem and welfare.
(both sets of grandparents came from humble origins. money didn’t influence style–they just had it)
So I am always thinking about what has caused the changes I see? I know it can’t be singled out by one thing, or two or a dozen. It has been gradual and there have been many contributing factors ( and I have theories, two of which were originally a part of this post but have been edited so as not to incite arguments). So how/why was life different prior to 1970? (I choose that year for a few reasons–it was the year I was born and there were some very significant life changing “movements” taking place then which I feel have had great impact on what I see today–and are the theories I choose not to delve into). Even though there were many problems in the world and with society even back then, why did they still dress so nice? Look so good? Behave a little better? Seemingly cared about themselves, their homes and others more so than people seem to today?
And here is my “fluff” answer. They were “taught” how to do these things. They were “taught” how to live with style and grace–the missing links of today. Young people were either instructed at home or in school on how to: dress, keep a budget, manage a home, cook a meal, balance a checkbook, develop manners. If it was not being done at home, it was being done through a “Home Economics” class in school.
Do schools even offer this anymore? If it is offered, there are so many college-bound prerequisites required any more that many choose to forgo such a class. I had it my Senior year of High School. Most of us took it for an easy “A” or as a time filler. It was our “blow off” class. Sad but true. However, it is the one class I remember being so much fun because not only did we learn how to cook a few things and sew an apron, we also learned the different cuts of meat, the workings of a sewing machine, the proper way to set the table and how to plan a FDA approved “Food Pyramid” dinner. We also made enough candy and sweets to keep the local dentists in a booming business that year.
But even my Home Ec class was nothing in comparison to what was offered to young people in 1948. I know this because I have a text-book published that year which was used to teach home economics to eager, malleable young minds. What is contained in this rather daunting volume (750 pages) will surprise you. And if this is what the young women, and possibly men, were learning to prepare their way in the world, well it is no wonder there was an air of class and style and dignity surrounding the generations prior to my own.
(the encyclopedia of knowledge)
Thus, my new series idea. By using “Your Home and You” by Carlotta Greer as my textbook, I am going to lead you in a course of home economics circa 1948. I will also quote from contemporary sources to see how “the rules” have changed. Together (I hope through your comments) we can compare what was taught then to what we know now (or to what we have been taught in our respective generations). And decide if any of these differences contribute to the lack of dignity, grace, style and just plain old common sense, we see today. I want it to be fun and interactive…and not taken too seriously.
(my artistic impression of old meets new)
Stay tuned for Lesson 1!