Sunday, June 29, 2008

Day Five/Six: Donna Reed vs. Debra Barone

I realized that I do not own a table cloth and was most distraught about it. But since the week is almost over and I am the ever frugal housewife this item will not be purchased. DH has been trying to put the kibosh on the game. He has enlisted my help in installing the new appliances. I do find it interesting that the new appliances were finally purchased only during 50s week. For the evening of Day Four I made a quite tasty baked chicken meal if I do say so myself. When my Dearest returned home we of course greeted him as the man of the house should be greeted: with smiles, "Good Evening, Father" and a proper smooch. After we finished the main course, everyone helped me wash the dishes by hand. While I was away at the Women's Auxiliary meeting my wonderful husband began installing the new oven and microwave. I came home to an appliance warehouse. The next morning I lovingly cleaned up the entire house yet again and ironed everything I could get my now dishwater dry hands on. Last night I made a casserole (1950s style) and of course only linen napkins would do! The husband declared he was on strike from the dishes and started to bring in the new refrigerator. How lovely indeed! (I was expected to take my apron off to help and let the dishes sit in the sink for a couple of hours) This morning, the family was once again well fed and the husband departed to the office. I cleaned up the very large mess of dishes and tools from the previous evening's masculine fix -it activities. My sweet husband, now however has a cold so for tonight's meal only homemade chicken noodle soup would do. I am going to encourage him to rest on the couch with some tea and a book after dinner, I need him healthy you know.

A story from the past: While speaking to my mom last night about all my antics she told me a story from her childhood. When she was about 8 her family and aunts and uncle's families went up to my Great-grandparent's cabin in Wisconsin. All the men and boys would clear brush for a couple of hours and then play (football, swim, canoe, fish) while all of the women and girls continuously cooked and cleaned and did not get to swim or play. The cabin had a wood burning stove so cooking was a really big undertaking and with so many people to clean up after the meals the women (it being the very beginning of the 60s) decided that if the men would like to be fed again they would help out with cleaning and cooking. The ladies rolled up their sleeves and went on strike! After much deliberation in the men's huddle they decided to help. This was way before the days of fast food, easy one-step meals, and the men of that time did not cook. They decided it was best to help than have to do all that work by themselves. You see, I can do this experiment all day because I am choosing too, but when it comes to specific gender roles of the past and absolutely HAVING to do something because you are a women and this is how your day should be, it makes for some disgruntled ladies. Especially, when all the work that you are doing is deemed unimportant by society and taken for granted by your spouse. I have to see I am very pleased that the husband is helping me and it in fact home for dinner even though I was told last week that this would not be the case. I do not believe that my husband is a chauvinist, but that I too would love to come home to this type of environment. So am I a Debra Barone or a Donna Reed? This week I have been trying to be Mrs. Reed, but the more I think about it on a daily basis the real Jennie is most like the mom on The Christmas Story.

No comments: