Is Nervous Prostration a Necessity with the Modern Woman?

This is the fourth article in June of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Jun 26, 1904, and is a longer article on worrying.

School for Housewives – Is Nervous Prostration a Necessity with the Modern Woman?

“Don’t Let Yourself Go! To Cut the Slender Line of Will Power Is to Drift Out!”

New York doctors have been exercising their wits lately to account for the alarming prevalence of cerebro-spinal meningitis among the children in that city. The impression is strong that the disease is contagious. Some ask, “Is there a cerebro-spinal meningitis germ?”

The student student of woman’s nature and ways is tempted to set on foot a like inquiry anent the fashionable malady of nervous prostration. Once in a while a man is threatened with it. Once in several whiles he becomes to kill himself to get rid of the horror. When the family of nerves – great and small – unites against the will, life to the masculine mind is not worth living.

For this, I take it, is what nervous prostration means – a general insurrection of the nervous system and the dethronement and banishment of the ruler God set over it – the Will.

No woman is ashamed of the rebellion. A physician called it yesterday, in my hearing, “the fashionable fad of women who have time to pamper whims.” A plain-spoken business man, when asked what one grievously afflicted woman, whose “prostration” was town talk, needed to bring about a cure, ripped out: “A steady regimen of washtub!”

The brutal prescription was based upon the fact that washerwomen and laborers’ wives, who must cook, wash, iron and “do” generally for their families, do not have nervous prostration. The luxury is as far beyond their reach as a summer at Carlsbad or a winter on the Nile. When our toiler is “tried to death” and “that worried that she feels as if she could fly,” she has the name of being “cross and ugly-tempered.” When she cries stormily over the washboard she gets no sympathy. “Just let her have it out, and she’ll’’ come ‘round all right!” say her nearest of kin and dearest of heart.

A PREVENTIVE

And since the clothes must be out on the line and dinner be cooked before “he” comes in at noon, and there is nobody but herself to do these things, she “has it out,” and keeps the traces taut.

Necessity, in her case, braces the will to hold its own against the mutinous crew.

When the sufferer is not a fashionable puppet, jaded by the murderous round of “functions” and the demand upon invention and ingenuity made necessary by the effort to keep up with richer competitors for social distinction, but a conscientious, refined woman, wife and mother, or artist, or author, or editor, or minister’s wife, who succumbs piteously to the load laid upon her by duty and circumstances – where is the fault?

I could furnish a list of a score and more, at a minute’s notice, nervous wrecks, crying by the hour and the week like homesick babies; sleepless by night and smileless by day; travellers in the care of trained nurses on land and sea, dwelling in the dead calm of sanitariums and rest cures, forbidden to hold communication with friends and kindred until the belligerent nerves return to their allegiance.

They are “smitten of God and afflicted,” say those who love them; “cumberers of the earth,” say well people with well-balanced systems. The suffering is real and intense, whatever may have been the original cause. And the long list grows longer daily and yearly.

May I offer a single suggestion as to a possible preventive as the result of careful and compassionate examination of the fearful scourge of home and society? In every case of which I have any knowledge there came what may be called a crucial stage, when the tortured nerves broke the bounds of reason and defied the will. In plainer terms, the woman “let herself go.”

Every reader who has known the agony of a long-continued nervous strain will comprehend what I mean. She wanted to cry, and she gave way to hysterical weeping. She “felt (as some of us feel a dozen times a week) as if she must scream!” and she screamed. In short – she gave up the fight, and the enemy took possession.

One more screw upon the willpower, one desperate last stand for liberty, and the Rubicon would have been safely passed.

Suffer one of a hundred illustrations of the truth of my position – one the memory of which has tided me over many a crisis in my own history.

A busy woman was pronounced a hopeless invalid by physicians and friends. There was no talk of hypochondria. Repeated hemorrhages had sapped strength; crushing sorrow and unremitting toil had lowered her nervous forces to a minimum.

For weeks she had struggled to rise in the morning and go about her daily tasks, fighting bravely against debility, depression and the terrible, nameless sensation of drifting out into a sea of nothingness, which may not be strange one morning. A night of horrible insomnia left her as faint of will as of body. When her husband came to her bedside with the usual inquiry as to how she felt, she answered that she could not rise.

THE REMEDY

“I have let go! I shall drift out, and make an end of it!” she ended, mournfully calm.

He was a sensible man, and to sense he added tact. “I know it is asking much of you to wish you to try to live a little longer,” he said. “I say nothing of the inconvenience to myself and the elder children that would come from your death. But there is Bob! He’s your only boy, and just 3 years old, you know. If you could make up your mind to live long enough to see him through college it would be a great thing for him. He’ll go to the devil without his mother!”

The mother lay still for a long minute, her eyes apparently fixed upon the all. In reality, she was seeing Bob – motherless baby, schoolboy, college-lad, impulsive, headstrong, clever for evil or for good – going wrong without the balance wheel, the sure anchor of her love. Presently she said softly – still gazing into the air – “Send my maid to me; I am going to get up!”

She lived to see Bob graduated. She is living still, in a hale old age, and her children call her blessed. That minute-and-a-half decided the current of their lives with hers.

Dropping from the pathetic to the ridiculous – he was a shred carter who stuffed a handful of dirt into the mouth of his balky horse – to give him a new idea!

To return to my homely prescription for the nerve-worn and weary – DON’T LET YOURSELF GO! TO CUT THE SLENDER LINE OF WILL POWER IS TO DRIFT OUT!

Marion Harland

Glove Cleaning: A New Occupation for Women

This is the third article in June of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Jun 19, 1904, and is an article on female occupation.

School for Housewives – Glove Cleaning: A New Occupation for Women

Among the many new avocations undertaken by the clever modern woman, when suddenly thrown upon her on resources, is that of professional glove cleaner.

It is work that any girl of average intelligence can do, and for which there is always good demand.

A trade is usually obtained by cleaning gloves for one’s wealthy friends, gradually widening the circle among mutual acquaintances and the outside world.

The glove cleaner calls once a week o once a fortnight, according to arrangement, at the house of the customer.

She goes armed with a small work case, which contains all the furnishings necessary for repairing torn kid, and with a bottle of some good liquid cleaner.

An expert worker gives the following rules for the work:

The fluid is poured into a large bowl, and two pairs are cleaned at a time, using enough to cover the gloves well.

Wash the cleaner pair first, treating them just as if washing with water.

Rub one glove with the other, with special attention to the seams.

Have a little cloth for scrubbing spots.

Clean the fingers by dipping them into the fluid, then rubbing hard on a clean towel.

Wooden glove hands in the different sizes are invaluable for this work.

The gloves should be dried by squeezing, not wringing.

Before hanging out to dry inflate with a bellows. Dry in the wind.

Be careful, if your cleaning fluid contains any explosive, not to use it near a light.

Marion Harland

A Simple Summer Dessert – by the French Method

This is the second article in June of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Jun 12, 1904, and is a recipe.

School for Housewives – A Simple Summer Dessert – by the French Method

Here is a little cooking school lesson in pictures, given by a French pastry cook – a pâtissier.

The subject is a dainty summer dessert which can be varied from month to month by employing the different fruits as those come into season.

The pastry, if well made, is not unwholesome, and stewed fruit is unquestionably more appetizing served in these pretty shells than ungarnished in a dish or bowl.

To make the puff paste, use exactly equal parts of flour and butter, a little water and a pinch of salt.

Sieve the flour, preferably upon a marble-topped table. By stirring with the fingers in the centre of the heap thus formed, make a hollow ring of the flour as shown in the illustration. Have this ring equally thick and wide all around. Now put the salt and water into the hollow formed by the ring; melt the salt; stir in the flour a little at a time.

When the mixture has begun to thicken, stir in the rest of the flour as rapidly as possible.

Using both hands, roll the paste away from you upon the table. Now gather it together and work it with the base of the thumb, pushing it away from you in small pieces, little by little.

Sprinkle the table with flour, make a ball of the paste, pat the top down a little to make it lose some of the elasticity acquired in the working, and let it stand for a moment.

Now for the butter. Dust the surface of a clean towel with flour, place the butter on this. Fold the edges of the cloth over the top and bear down it to soften the butter, this movement several times from different sides, giving the batter a square shape.

Take the ball of paste which lies in front of you on the table, sprinkled with flour; flatten out into a square, put the butter on this and fold it in tightly as shown in the picture.

Sprinkle the table once more with flour, hold the paste in the hand at some height and dash it down upon the table. Take the roller gently roll out the embryo crust in a forward direction, using moderate force and proceeding without jerks, which last are sure to create unevenness in the crust.

Roll out very thin. Fold over a third part in a forward direction and bring another third over toward you.

Turn the paste half way around, that is to say, let the side which is at your left hand come directly in front of you. Take the roller, roll out once more and again fold it in the same way. Flour a baking board, a dish or a pie plate, put the paste on it, and set aside in a cool place for fifteen minutes.

Roll out and fold over twice; then allow it to stand another quarter of an hour.

Roll out in circular shape and place on a round plate or dish. In the middle pour four generous spoonfuls of the fruit as for any tart.

Spread out the rest of the paste which remains intact. Place this upon the foundation piece on which the fruit is spread; cut it by pressing down the ring and passing the point of the knife all around. Brush over with raw egg, indent a trifle with the point of the knife and bake forty minutes.

When finished dust with the finest of powdered sugar, and put back into the oven for a moment in order that the sugar may melt. Remove at once from the pan on which it is cooked, or it will taste of the metal.

Marion Harland

Dainty Table Furnishings Give a Flavor to Home Cooking

This is the first article in June of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on Jun 5, 1904, and is an article on dining room furniture.

School for Housewives – Dainty Table Furnishings Give a Flavor to Home Cooking

It requires so little in the way of painstaking to produce a dainty, welled take, that there is little excuse for the slovenly board to which the average family is asked to sit down.

Does the average house mother realize how easy it is to keep the home table looking as well groomed as that of a fashionable cafe?

An occasional polishing will keep the table top bright and fresh. If centrepiece and doylies are substituted for the cloth at luncheon and any informal meal, the table linen can always be crisp and spotless without appalling increase in the laundry bill. Flowers, during a large portion of the year, may be had for the gathering, and even during the winter a flowering pot in a pretty jardiniere entails no great extravagance.

Today’s illustrations suggest a few of the little elegances hat may be applied to the breakfast, luncheon or dinner at home.

Artificial light is not considered requisite for breakfast, therefore the candlesticks, which may very correctly appear for luncheon, are not employed for this meal.

The ideal breakfast menu commences with fruit of some sort, and, as every fruit course calls for finger bowls, this little nicety should be observed at every home table. Have the bowls standing on the place plates with a doylie between when the breakfast arrives. They are lifted and placed at one side before beginning the repast, as shown in the illustrations.

The napkin is seldom now folded around a roll upon the place plate, as used to be the custom. It is laid at one side of the plate in the position indicated by the photograph.

It adds much to the daintiness of the household board to have the glass and silver prettily arranged as if for a more formal repast, with replenishments for each succeeding course.

Marion Harland

A New Glass for Serving Grape Fruit and the Various Fruit Mixtures Comes Just in Time for the Warm Weather Luncheon Table

This is the fourth article in May of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on May 29, 1904, and is an article a fruit glass.

School for Housewives – A New Glass for Serving Grape Fruit and the Various Fruit Mixtures Comes Just in Time for the Warm Weather Luncheon Table

A new glass for serving grape fruit, salad and kindred appetizers is going to be a boon to more than one housewife this summer.

For the sensible first course of fruit is no longer limited to hotels and fashionable cafes, where trained chefs are well aware of its appetizing, refreshing qualities.

The housekeeper who keeps abreast of things has adopted the idea for the home table. Instead of a hot soup or shell fish, the languid appetite is quickened by a mixture of fruits in season, palatably chilled with perhaps a taste of wine as flavoring.

The new glasses for serving these fruit mixtures come in various styles. Perhaps the most convenient among them is one in the shape of a tall goblet of cut or tinted glass having a small handleless bowl to match. The mixture is filled into the bowl, which is set in the goblet and packed in with shaved ice, so as to come just to the upper rim of the glass.

Of course all manner of dainty finishes are possible. Maraschino cherries, strawberries and hothouse grapes may be dotted over the surface of the preparation, and for state occasions a narrow ribbon can be tied around the glass, as shown in the picture.

The several methods of preparing grapefruit are pretty generally known and appreciated.

For a delicious fruit salpicon now served at the Waldorf use the following recipe:

Make such a selection of fruits as is desired. Pulp cut from halves of grapefruit, maraschino cherries, cut in halves, brandied peaches, cut in pieces, orange pulp, and slices of banana afford a choice. Chill thoroughly, then sprinkle lightly with sugar, and dispose in grapefruit glasses packed around with shaved ice.

Marion Harland

Where Some Women Fail as Home Makers

This is the third article in May of the School for Housewives 1904 series published on May 22, 1904, and is an article on homemaking.

School for Housewives – Where Some Women Fail as Home Makers

Photographs Taken Especially for This Newspaper Illustrating Some of the Things Which Do and Don’t Make the Home Happy

You understand why so many marriages “prove unhappy” and why so many husbands are promptly “disillusioned” when you see some women in their household attire.

The little photographic sermonette preached today, unhappily for our homes, requires no elucidation here.

“Gaze first on this picture, then on that.”

We all know the type.

She invariably wears a wrapper – or, at best, a soiled kimono with bedraggled petticoat – and she is morally certain to have a limited number of curl papers aureoling her brow.

The visitor who drops in for an afternoon call catches a flying glimpse of her as she scurries through the hall for a two minutes’ grooming in the bedroom.

Or the maid is out, and she herself comes to the door pinning on a collar all awry and struggling with a coiffure that threatens momentarily to escape from the anchorage of three wire hairpins.

If she were one of these sorely burdened creatures who do their own housework with half a dozen little ones to be tended and red and amused withal, your sympathy would be readier.

But in nine cases out of ten she is nothing of the kind. Mrs. June Bride, with at least one servant to do her bidding, and almost without cares, is as great a sinner in this respect as anyone.

Indeed, it is frequently the struggling sister, from whom one would naturally expect least, who presents the most creditable appearance indoors.

It is she, too, who manages to slip on a pretty bodice every night before coming to the dinner table.

The material may be cheap, and as for the flowers – they were culled from the window garden, costing nothing – but you see the picture that she makes across the table. Is it any wonder that the dinner tastes delicious!

Occasionally, too she wears “the company smile” at home. She of the wrapper-and-curl-paper type is apt to keep this charming possession laid away with her best dress for visiting purposes only.

Marion Harland

Update and Travel

It has been a very busy few weeks at my job and so I haven’t had much time to devote to my blog recently.

In order to let off some steam I decided to take a trip up north to Mowat to stay at the family farm.

My primary goal during this trip is an attempt to find my grand uncle’s grave and get a photograph of his headstone.

Anton Masiowski was born to my great-grandparents John Masiowski and Anastasia Kotlarchuk on Oct 10, 1906. He was their second born child in Canada. Anton was described as a sickly child and died on Oct 11, 1925 at the tender age of 19. I have it in my mind that he drowned in the river however I might be mixing up the cause of death with someone else.

I dug up somewhere, my memory alludes me exactly where from, that Anton was buried north of North Lake School No. 1431 (NW-11-29-18-W1), at SW-14-29-18-W1. I always thought he was buried by his lonesome, however recent research would indicate that his grave is likely in the Fork River Roman Catholic Cemetery. In all honestly I’m not sure why they named it after ‘Fork River’ as the cemetery’s location is actually closer to Oak Brae but I suppose Oak Brae might have already established a Roman Catholic cemetery.

Previously, I was under the belief that the Fork River Roman Catholic Cemetery was located across the river of the Fork River Cemetery, just before Fork River on Route 20, as this is where a number of my family members are buried who were Roman Catholics. I stand corrected. I suppose this is simply the burial spot for Roman Catholics within the Fork River Cemetery at SW-25-29-19-W1.

Now that I’ve hopefully located the correct coordinates of the Fork River Roman Catholic Cemetery I will be able to take photographs of not just Anton’s grave but of other family members who were buried there as well.

My only concern is whether vandals or time might have destroyed the graves at this cemetery such as what occurred at the Fork River Cemetery. I have better hopes as it’s on a quieter roadway and is away from the river where it’s less likely to flood or be damaged by ice.