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Home economics of yesteryear might cause depression

by Jim Morgan

A guy at dinner not so long ago was bemoaning the passing of “the good ol’ days.” He was a good bit older than me and no doubt wiser.I don’t think I really understood what he meant until I found an old hardback at a flea market bookstore that shed some light. You see, that guy at dinner was not only old enough to understand the term “king of his castle,” but to hear him describe it, to have actually reigned.When was the last time you heard the phrase, “the king of the castle?”Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?About the only time you might hear it now is when the remote falls on a channel showing an old rerun of “Leave it to Beaver” and “Father Knows Best,” or, on the weathered pages of the old textbook found at a flea market.

The book was published in the mid 1950s. It’s a home economics textbook and includes a section titled “Recommendations for a successful marriage.”According to the book, the goal of the wife “is to make the home a place of peace and order where your husband can look forward to returning to each and every day. Your efforts will make your husband feel as though he is, ‘king of the castle,’ and he will surely treat you as his queen.”Suggestions on how to be treated like a queen included:1. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has been with a lot of work-weary people. Be happy and attentive. His boring day may need a lift.2. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift, too.3. Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces, comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

4. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of washers, dryers and vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a smile and be glad to see him5. Some don’ts. Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he is late for dinner; count this as a minor concern compared with what he might have gone through during his day.6. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.7. Listen to him. You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.8. Make the evening his. Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to be home and to relax.

9. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious mealtime. This is a way of letting him know you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.Sounds more like mom was a lady in waiting rather than a queen, doesn’t it?I read those recommendations and couldn’t help but recall a scene from another long-forgotten sitcom where a husband walks through the door, collapses on the couch, looks at his wife and utters. “Beer, chicken, Flintstones.”When you hear candidates talk about a return to the values that made America great, which by the way are being uttered by candidates on both sides of the aisle, I sure hope that’s not the fantasy land they’re thinking of. Publisher Jim Morgan writes a Tuesday column. He can be reached at (970) 668-3998 or jmorgan@summitdaily.com.


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