I woke up this morning in the mood to clean. I know…I know…I’ll give you a moment to sit down and get over the shock. Make sure you are still sitting- I even used the little edging tool on the vacuum, turned the couch cushions, and dusted the mantel. Okay, breathe.
Although I was trained at an early age by a woman who should have owned stock in Clorox and I worked for four years as a very precise and professional housekeeper, I seldom bother with the “sparkling clean” approach in my own home because I always have at least ten other things I’d rather do than dust and scrub!
However, this morning’s bright sunshine revealed an obvious need for some cleaning, and since the winds outside are still strong enough to prevent some of my planned gardening tasks, I relented and attacked a few cobwebs and dust bunnies. I also cleaned the refrigerator, something I’ve put off for three weeks. I really do keep a pretty clean kitchen because I like clean food. And I usually clean my refrigerator every week or two at the most. Just distracted lately.
Ironic that I later found an interesting article in the Caddo paper about home economics training. The article, written in 1940, says that training in cooking and sewing was first introduced in public schools in 1870! In 1914 the Smith-Lever Act provided for teaching home economics in high school and college. The article I read this morning was especially entertaining because it listed the girls’ projects for the summer and one of them was “training my nephew”! I’d love to hear how that turned out!
I not only took home economics classes in high school, but was a member and officer of the Future Homemakers of America, now known as the FCCLA- Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America. Our group was one of the first in the area to allow boys to participate, and we gave them such grief! Our teacher was a sweet, dedicated young woman I’ve kept in touch with all of my life. She made her own clothes, ground her own flour, grew vegetables, raised a house full of children, cooked like a master chef, and later went on to a second career as a music teacher. She was, and still is, amazing! She was also exasperating when she expected us to do something! Since I already knew how to sew, she encouraged me to learn tailoring techniques. I made a wool plaid jacket one year and she made me undo and rematch the side seams three times until they were perfect!
Mrs. A also taught us a lot of things we hadn’t learned at home- precise measuring, table setting, napkin folding, flower arranging. Home Ec. Class was where homemaking was truly treated as an “art”. She also arranged for us to practice our skills by cooking for the school board members, hosting parties, appearing on television, and completing challenging projects.
Unfortunately there was a downside to the joys of home economics and of course that was cleaning. There was always cleaning! Bad enough that I was cleaning at home with my mother. I also had to clean at school! At least it was a task shared with others.
So…I have the training. I have the skills. I just don’t have the motivation to practice very often. I usually just muddle through the most necessary tasks. But today…mom would be proud!
(Photos are the FHA sub-district meeting, and an FHA meeting in OKC. Of course I made the pink suit!)