Entertainment and Education
Life isn’t all work and no play, nor do we lack for social divertissement. I attend regularly a reading club, Home Demonstration Club, and a dramatic club which produces two plays a year. We play cards an evening or two a week, either at a neighbor’s home or our own, and we attend as many good shows, concerts and art exhibits as our finances and babies allow. There are frequent barbecues and picnics, and an occasional barn dance or school entertainment, most of them impromptu and real fun.
I find at these gatherings a number of women like myself, all doing their own homemaking and enjoying it. They are as a rule, healthy and intelligent wives and mothers. They drive their own cars, and are actively interested in many activities outside their homes. They are partners to their husbands in every sense of the word, and are helping to make it a success. Divorce? We never hear of it except in the daily papers. We haven’t enough leisure to feel ourselves mistreated or abused.
Perhaps men and women grow nearer and dearer to each other on a farm–I do not know,–but depending entirely on each other for companionship must make it true. Hardships draw people closer, I happen to know. The nearest I ever felt to my husband was during a terrific hailstorm that shattered every window, splintered the shutters, and crumpled the roof, as well as destroying every living and growing thing on our farm. We stood there, or rather crouched, behind the shelter of two inner walls and a mattress, each holding a terrified baby, and though not a word was exchanged–well, we were sharing both fear and courage.
We farmer folk who are standing by our land, are feeling a bit as the old-time pioneers must have felt. We hear a lot about farm relief and depression and low prices, and all of it is real enough. The past few years have held heartache and sacrifices. We have almost forgotten what money looks like, and would probably shy at a ten dollar bill as old dobbin shied at the threshing machine. Our products are exchanged for the few bare necessities we do have to buy, and often are inadequate. Once in a great while I save enough pennies for a new book or a new sheet of music, and how we do enjoy them,–reading them carefully so as not to lose one precious word, hoarding their bits of beauty and wisdom as we hoarded the pennies with which to buy them.
The wise farmer and his homemaker, if they are healthy and intelligent, are not going hungry, and we are glad that this going without has come to us while we are young. This isn’t a tale of hard times, but a story of a farmer’s wife, who is doing her best to make the old Homestead into a home worth having.
These perspectives were written by a woman in 1932, in the early years of the Great Depression. We’ll never know how she and her little family fared in the decade ahead of them, but with her attitude, I like to think they weathered the hardships pretty well.