December 17, 2017

Old-Fashioned Girls by Ann Van De Water

What was one of my daughters’ favorite activities this summer?  Going to the beach in South Carolina? Yes!  Visiting family we only get to see once or twice a year?  Absolutely!  Going to two waterparks?  Definitely.  Having sleepovers with friends?  Yes, again.

Learning to sew?  Right at the top of the list!  An old-fashioned skill that many girls and women of earlier generations loathed learning, such as Calpurnia Tate in the highly acclaimed Newberry Honor Book, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, a delightful historical novel I recommend for adults as well as children 5th grade and older.   

Sewing is one skill I never learned.  My mother said she learned basic sewing, but never had the patience for it.  The mother of a friend feels guilty she never taught her own daughters to sew.  Another friend, who is in her early sixties, said when she was growing up in Boston , every Friday afternoon following lunch until the end of the school day, the boys had shop class and the girls had Home Economics.  Consequently,my friend is a good seamstress and her husband, who also went to a Boston public school during the same time period, is quite the Mr. Fix-It.  (My friend also said that although she learned to cook, she never learned to like cooking.)

I think it’s great that kids can make things that I would normally buy at Target.  My dining room now looks like I’m operating a sweatshop.  My girls have sewn purses of various sizes and shapes, table runners, doll clothes, tote bags, sachets, jewelry bags, and are looking forward to some new projects.  They learned to iron too!  Now if I can get them to wash floors, clean bathrooms, do laundry and grocery shop, I may be completely outsourced.  Let’s hope so.

Ann is a former English teacher who is now a stay-at-home Mom of 9 year old twin girls.


old-fashioned girls

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