Good Old Days Newsletter
|In the Good Old Days||Antiques Corner||This Week in History|
What type of jobs opened up to women in the 1940s?
Dozens of cardboard egg cartons were stacked precariously all over the linoleum floor and the countertops of my Girl Scout leader's kitchen. All four burners of her stove were occupied by large, rumbling pots of boiling water. Her table was covered in newspaper, and on each chair perched a young and blissfully ignorant Girl Scout, mixing dyes that were supposed to create a marbled effect on the hard-boiled eggs that were coming her way shortly.
It was the day before Easter in 1973, and my scouting friends and I were supposed to fill the orders for unique, swirl-painted Easter eggs as a fundraiser for our troop. It was a simple idea put forth by our scoutmaster, who was somewhat artistic but, as it turned out, not a whiz in the kitchen. Add to that fact that she grossly underestimated the enthusiasm with which we girls gathered orders from time-crunched moms who were more than happy to contract out the egg-dyeing chores, and we had a recipe for disaster.
The dye didn't stick well to the eggs. We ran out of cartons and had to use grocery bags. Our project time inflated from the planned two-three hours to eight. And worst of all, the eggs were undercooked. When my mom came to get me, we loaded the eggs in the backseat of the car, and then she arbitrarily decided to crack and peel a sample, thus discovering the issue. Faced with an ethical dilemma as we prepared to drive around town and collect the $1 per dozen we charged for our creations, my mom came up with a clever solution. She pulled the other moms aside in consultation before we departed, and then we girls were instructed to declare the following as we handed over the cartons: "Thank you for your order and for helping our troop raise money for summer camp. Please use these eggs for hiding and not for eating. We haven't earned our cooking merit badges yet."
No one asked for a refund.'Til next time,
Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine
PS. Did you ever experience a very public recipe flop back when you were a novice cook? Were you able to make the best of it? We want to hear about it! Send a brief response to me at Editor@GoodOldDaysMagazine.com and it could appear in a future newsletter or in Good Old Days magazine! Here are several email responses from the Feb. 11, 2015, newsletter question: Do you recall flowers tended by your mother or grandmother long ago? Do you have favorite plants that remind you of your childhood?
Mary M. shared: "I remember spirea, roses and rhubarb, and I also remember getting out on the lawn on warm days and digging out dandelions by hand so that our lawn would look as lovely as the neighbors'. It must have paid off in a different way, as for four years I took 4-H gardening and received grand champion ribbons at the county fair, and blue and grand at state. I didn't like the book work that went along with it, but tending the crops paid off for years, as I had a good garden while my children were growing up."
Cindy V. replied: "When I was in grade school, maybe about fourth or fifth grade, I got up the nerve to walk home from school even though it was forbidden. I could easily beat the school bus home, so I just had to wait for it to come before I went into my house. On that walk I found a creek bed that was engulfed with deep purple sweet pea flowers. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. To this day they are my favorite flower, and the scent is beyond description!"
Karen S. said: "I am the least green-thumbed female from a long line of gardeners, but not from lack of trying. I remember the flower gardens of my great-grandmother. Though she died before I was born, the flowers she planted lived on in my grandmother's gardens. The ones I remember most were four o'clocks. My grandmother had them by the hundreds, it seemed. And they bloomed in a multitude of colors.
Over the years, my mother brought seeds from her mother's gardens in Florida to her own magnificent gardens (which occupied her entire backyard) in south Texas. The four o'clocks were just as profuse at my mom's as they were at my grandmother's. Three generations later, I brought four o'clock seeds from my mom's garden and planted them at my north Texas home. They appear every year, and I'm not famous for growing anything!"
Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.
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When men were sent off to fight in World War II, women were needed to take the industrial jobs vacated by the men. Women made parts for machines, were electronics technicians, worked in research labs, repaired airplanes, worked as riveters, painted war machines and much more.
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