Looking Back, and Forward

I have entertained myself during the last few dreary gray weeks by watching The 1940s House. I enjoyed it a great deal, and loved the practicality, and the attention to the truly important aspects of family, the glue of society, during that awful war experience. Life was shown to be very difficult for those who maintained domestic stability during that era. So many times I have heard balanced historians describing survival during “pioneering” or “unstable” social periods, to be centered around the ability of families or small social units to maintain the basic necessities of life… human connection, shelter, food, and clothing. Too often, I think, “history” focuses on the wealthy and the violent, ignoring the vital role played by the provision of basic human needs.

A delightful aspects of the series were the appearances of Marguerite Patten OBE (1915 – 2015), who was one of the consultants for the series.

“The Ministry Food Advice Division employed dieticians and many home economists, to help people throughout the country. Our role, for I was one of the food advisers, was to conduct cookery demonstrations and talks to show what interesting things could be made with the rationed and unrationed foods available.”
Marguerite Patten, Victory Cookbook: Nostalgic Food and Fact from 1940 – 1954, In association with Imperial War Museum, 2002 Edition, Forward.”

This book arrived on my doorstep a few months ago, and I am enjoying it. The first degree I studied for was Home Economics, with an emphasis on Food and Nutrition, three years. I loved it, and I taught Home Economics in the public school system in Ontario. So this book is right up my alley.

Two of the things I have been thinking about and researching, in relation to my interest in domestic science, are the head scarf, and aprons.

I’ve never worn head scarves, as my head has rejected them within minutes. I must have a very animated head, because not even hats will stay on properly, unless they are tied on. So you would think a head scarf would work right… nope. But Lyn, in the 1940s House series, is ever so briefly shown tying on a head scarf as she prepared to do housework. The technique was new to me; I was hooked. I had to try it! The only scarves I have are over 30 years old, and are 40 inches square, a little too large for the project I think. The result is supposed to have either a little bow top front, or the ends tucked in neatly. I can accomplish neither, and end up with a great wad of fabric just above my forehead. A smaller scarf is called for, something to think about.

Attila likes the look, and so do I. But the what I like most is that it stays on my head! And that it prevents my ever so cleverly errant hair from escaping into my eyes, my nose, and my mouth.


So, here I am with my great edifice on the top of my head, which should be a wee bow, but you get the drift. It is a project in process. Fair dues, I took over a dozen photos of myself before I finally settled on this one, I don’t consider myself to be photogenic, and only take selfies when I want to demonstrate something, I am a free model. Photos are great in that all the blemishes are sort of pixelated out, so I end up looking a lot younger than I do in real life! I get the same effect when I take off my glasses and look in the mirror; that is when I look most like the “myself” I had become so accustomed to seeing over the decades of adulthood. I do miss the way I used to look. Oh well, been there, done that, doing this now.

I made an apron some years ago, that I wear almost every day. I want to make another apron, but haven’t yet decided on the pattern. The closest I have come to a pattern that I think will work for me is a pattern for a doll apron. And, well, the pattern needs a few alterations if it is going fit me! I am thinking of making a “template” apron, from an old sheet, to see how I like it before committing valuable fabrics to the style.

Attila continues to spend his evenings working on the basement insulation project. It is coming along really, really well. The whole wall-with-exterior-exposed, has been framed, the insulation, the vapour barrier, and taping finished off. Just the drywall, and paint to go now for that section. Some of the drywall even got installed last night!

I am really looking forward to the completion of this project! Not because it is particularly intrusive, but so that I can begin to organize the storage in the basement. Organizing the basement has been on hold for 10 years now, four of those years we have actually lived here full time. We will be able to unpack the last boxes, and put things where we can easily find them.

The first drywall has been installed! Attila installed this last night. This is mold resistant drywall, because this is a basement application, and although the basement has no moisture issues now, the air is moist because it is a basement, where cool air settles and moisture condenses. We are painting the drywall white, which will make it area much brighter.

When we bought the house there were two dismal rooms down here. One was a bedroom, with a broken window, with a piece of plywood nailed over it. It had carpet over the concrete. Everything was covered with mold and mildew. The other room was a “rec room”, in similar condition to the bedroom. Everything smelled awful from the mold and mildew, and mice and chipmunk colonies that lived there.
That first year we removed the window in the basement, the one you see in the image, and Attila tore everything out, gutted the basement completely. It was all removed through the window opening, and thrown into the large rented dumpster. We also put a new roof on that first summer, so the large dumpster was full of debris from the house. The renovations had begun, and we are still at it, but not quite to so hard at it anymore, thank goodness.

Worldly

Weather

4°C
Date: 9:00 AM EST Wednesday 27 November 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 4.2°C
Dew point: 2.5°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: NE 24 gust 34 km/h
Visibility: 13 km

Wind warning in effect
Southwesterly wind with gusts near 90 km/h tonight.
Very strong southwesterly winds with gusts near 90 km/h are expected to develop early this evening as a sharp cold front blasts through. These damaging winds will persist into the overnight hours before before veering to the west and diminishing.
The highest wind gusts will be along exposed areas of the Lake Ontario shoreline.
Power outages are possible.
Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur. Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage. Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions due to high winds.

Quote

“My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?”
Charles M. Schulz
1922 – 2000

There are many cartoonists, that I read and wonder, “so?” I feel I’ve missed the point somehow. They must be using a set of experiences for a frame of reference, a set of experiences I did not have, and haven’t even observed.

BUT Charles M. Schulz is one of the cartoonists I actually “got”, there have been a few.

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10 Responses to Looking Back, and Forward

  1. Bex says:

    You are one cool DUDETTE!

  2. Bex, why thank you Ma’am! LOL
    I am enthralled with the head scarf idea, started thinking about making an apron with matching head scarves… kinda like playing dressup every day… I like it!

  3. Stubblejumpers Cafe says:

    I had just recently been wondering if we’d ever see a photo of you, and there it is! -Kate

  4. Kate, not usually my thing, selfies, but because I have a heightened sense of the ridiculous when it comes to personal appearance, this seemed appropriate.
    I am not the Queen of Fashion Crime, to be sure, but have enjoyed a rather rich experience in providing amusing visual shock to appreciative critics. I actually like the head scarf, just not with so much real estate just over my forehead. Carmen Miranda would be proud, lol.

  5. Teri says:

    Ah! Been a while since we had a picture. I’m liking what you’re trying with the scarf. It reminds me of headwear I’ve seen some women use. Found a video here, though I can’t vouch for it because it wouldn’t load on the tablet but the pics look similar to what you’re trying. https://youtu.be/ha6iXTrwzWg

    The drywall is looking good. You might look into a floor panel called Dricore for your floor. There is an insulated version that will make things even more cozy. They have it at Home Depot and the panels are inexpensive. We’re looking at using it in our downstairs.

    So many changes going on, with you, with the house. Moving forward. 🙂

  6. Thanks for the video Teri! I had been looking at vintage instructions, which didn’t go into a lot of detail. The video you posted was pretty interesting, the woman looked very beautiful and exotic in the way she tied the scarves, and used “head extensions”, I dont know what else to call them, coiled scarves on the top of her head to make a high style. That led me to look at other similar videos and I found one where she demonstrates the square scarf in the style I am trying for, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eE_nmpKt1Q, which is very close to the style I observed in The 1940s House videos.

    Great idea about the Dricore! I am not sure if we will finish the floor at all. We talk off and on about painting it, because the celiling is so low we are thinking that even the depth of flooring will impact our mobility down there.

  7. Margarett says:

    Hello to Maggie’s group! I am sufficiently full from our Thanksgiving day. We went to my youngest son’s home, and my DIL did a fantastic job. And she already has all 4 ( yes, 4 ) Christmas trees up. Since I am still officially recouping from last weeks back procedure, I haven’t done any holiday decorating yet. And, I may not be able to this year. My dadgummed ( Southern word) A-FIB is rearing it’s ugly head, I may not do a lot this year. Cardiologist said my worst issue will be over-doing. Do you know how difficult this is for my Type A personality??? Today was not without a hiccup though. My children’s Dad was here visiting. Now, my Jason had the shaved bald head look for many years. His hair was always so curley and untamed, he found the bald look easiest. Well, a couple of weeks ago, the Dad shaved his head….and, I swear, he looked just like my Jason. Jeremy and I both struggled…It seemed that we both just saw Jason the entire day. It was a very tough day. I so enjoyed the grandsons, food, and family…but, the minute Mike and I got into the car to come home, the dam broke….I sobbed…you know the kind of sobbing that comes from your gut? And then the snot? It was awful. Mike was so understanding, supportive, and immediately pored me a scotch when we got home. After about an hour, I got it together. My grief for Jason will always be here. I know this, and I know that I will be getting through this forever….never over it. Is the show you watched about the 1940’s House on Canadian TV? I am going to look for it on Netflix, Amazon, and our other streaming channels….surely I can find it.
    I am going to get me a piece of pecan pie, and read. It is cold (40) and raining….appropriate weather for my mood. I love the head scarf, and you look just as I imagined….wonderful, soulful eyes. Again, I will talk with you soon. Thanks for being a great listener.

  8. Margarett, the holidays are the time when we miss loved ones who have left us the most! “Gone but not forgotten” was not lightly phrased. Learning to live with the holes in ones life is surely a journey.
    The 1940s House was on Netflix. I find that programs show up on Netflix for a short period of time, then disappear, so when I find them I binge watch!

  9. Wow Teri, that is something! I hope they keep the old techonology intact, give tours, and keep trained staff… if the digital replacements are compromised, the city of Toronto could keep functioning!