The actress who played June Clever died over the weekend and it got me thinking about domesticity. I love to say that word, domesticity. Anyways, a while back, my mom gave me her home economics text book from the 60’s. The first time I looked at it I was prepared to be offended over and over again but what it really was was a practical guide to being thrifty, clean, cooking nutritious meals, caring for one’s self, family and community. It was like a guide book for everyday life. There’s even sections on sewing buttons, canning fruit, managing your time and what colors to wear with what skin tone. We don’t teach our kids most of this stuff so well anymore. A quote from the first page, “Not only are your physical characteristics determined by your parents, but also many of your traits of character are acquired at home. A good home is built on love and kindness, forgiveness, unselfish giving, and sharing. In the family you learn to assume responsibility for your actions.” Well put Your Home and You Textbook from 1960.
I am pretty darn good at some domestic tasks; I can sew, I can cook, I can care for small children, I do however suck at laundry and keeping a really clean house. It’s not too bad but I have too many junk drawers and I’ve begun to notice that the doors are dirty. Who knew you have to clean doors?! I don’t look like June Clever did either. Most days I don’t get a shower, I am certainly not wearing a dress and pearls while vacuuming (let’s face it Jon usually does the vacuuming and he’s not wearing a dress and pearls either) and I’m not rushing to freshen my make up before Jon gets home from work expecting his slipper and paper. I live in a real house with too many art supplies, kids, a dog and a dusty husband who, get this, actually participates when he’s home. Milo’s even been into folding the laundry lately. Maybe he’ll take over and I’ll never have to match another sock!
Things are just plain not like Leave it to Beaver and probably weren’t even back then. My friend Jessica pointed out the other day that Valium use and teen pregnancy were at all time high in the 50’s.The glossy perfection of the 50’s has its appeal and because Tuesdays are now also for perfection, I’m more inclined to work myself up about my domestic shortcomings. I do however, like June, have a pretty sweet apron collection. I like my domestic world, it’s a good home and we try to be kind, forgiving, to share and to be responsible for our actions.