Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Working toward my Masters in Domestic Arts.
Or, should that be: Working on my Mastery of Domestic Arts? I am old enough to remember when having a stay-at-home mom was the norm. What followed was anything but -- flower power, the Sexual Revolution, Women's Liberation, Empowerment, Entitlement and a few other "Ments" I've forgotten. Brown bread was "common" and "old-fashioned", while white bread (think Wonder Paste) was "IT". Convenience foods raised their ugly little heads (Morton's TV Dinners; Twinkies). Women could get out of the kitchen fast. Our family resisted more than most on my block. My mother knew how to sew and would pull out her little Singer when there was an event that called for a special dress. She knitted us sweaters and socks. She made our doll clothes. She baked our bread (every Tuesday, I would race home as fast as I could in order to get a slice of warm bread with butter), she packed our lunches, darned our socks, made all of our meals from scratch. Although we didn't live on a farm, we did live in a bland development in the middle of a very rural area, surrounded by farms. We got eggs and milk delivered, and our fresh turkey for Thanksgiving. I remember most dreamily, Charles Chips - great huge cans of crisp, salty potato chips that we took on our yearly Canadian adventure were delivered by the Charles Chips Man. I learned to knit from my mom and to sew in home economics (although I refused to baste out of principle - why sew something twice?). We learned to cook when our chins cleared the countertops, and took pride in ironing our father's shirts and our pillowcases. Beds were made with hospital corners and our washing was hung out on a line to dry. For me, all these things resonated with well-being. And, while I may have slipped off the wagon here and there, I have always continued to make my own, cook from scratch, knit, and sew. My favorite period was the back-to-the-earth-hippie period - I am a great fan of Mother Earth, the planet. The essence of that time has stayed with me and, in the last 8 years or so, has intensified. When I read all of the like-minded bloggers, it makes me feel that I am part of a very large, wonderful group who finds value in the "Domestic Arts". I think that today's domestic arts have expanded to include a more whole-istic approach to life - planting, cultivating and preserving your own food; raising livestock (chickens, dairy animals); creating a home that is self-sufficient, a little island unto itself (solar power, grey water systems, wind power). I like the direction in which I am presently traveling, not to mention my travelling companions.