I woke up feeling fantastic after a peaceful night’s sleep. So of course the internet wasn’t working! One cannot have everything! This will be posted whenever the clouds part and the satellite finds its signal again.
Today’s photos are from a very special time in my life. My membership in the Future Homemakers of America taught me some valuable skills and helped me create life-long friendships. Our teacher became a true friend and mentor. The other girls in the group and in our homemaking classes showed me what it was like to belong. And for the most part they were the group that taught me how to be a girl. You have to remember that I was raised in the country with four brothers, miles and miles away from all but a handful of my classmates. We moved so much that I seldom became attached to anyone in particular, let alone a group. It wasn’t until we moved to Caddo, in the middle of the ninth grade, that I really encountered groups or cliques. (My high school class in California had 1,200 students; our groups consisted of those of us who went to eighth grade together and were trying to survive!)
At first I wasn’t accepted by any group at Caddo High School. I talked funny. I dressed differently. I had no clue what a Beatle was or what they did. I was too smart. I didn’t play sports. But I could cook and sew and write and sing. Those things eventually got me into several groups where I belonged. It was a great feeling.
Our task in FHA was to train for our future lives as women and homemakers. We learned to cook correctly. Having grown up with a couple of old-fashioned country cooks I had learned the “pinch of this-handful of that”, method of cooking. Home Ec. class taught me to read recipes and measure ingredients. (Not that my current cooking skills attest to any great achievements in that area.) We tested our skills by cooking for other groups, our parents, teachers, the school board and any other guinea pigs we could coerce.
My sewing skills were very basic until Mrs. Adkisson imposed her OCD charms on them. I think I must have worn out at least two seam rippers in her class! I made a tailored jacket that I swear I took apart more often that I put it together. But when it was finally approved by her demanding eye it was a thing of beauty that I was proud to wear. This rare photo of my high school bedroom was taken to show my new curtains, made as a Home Ec. assignment. (My photographic skills apparently didn’t develop until much later!)
We also learned about room design, money management, personal hygiene, child care, housecleaning, and a host of other things our mothers may or may not have mentioned. Mrs. Adkisson was very tactful about contradicting any skills or concepts we might have gained at home, but she always presented the best way to do things. She was also very discreet but factual when discussing dating and relationships with boys. She counseled each and every one of us to avoid early marriage, yet six of us ignored her and were married by graduation.
Our experiences in FHA also included field trips and public speaking opportunities. Many girls made their first trip to Oklahoma City because of FHA. We met girls from other regions. We dressed up in our finest outfits and spoke with passion about our projects.
Good times. I know that FHA has been renamed Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, but I hope they still teach the same values and skills that I learned.