Vintage Moms–Never Out-of-Style

Happy Mother’s Day, vintage moms.  Mother’s Day brings to mind mother and grandmother in floral aprons.  Appreciation for vintage mom has returned–the traditional mom/housewife who cooks from scratch, cleans her own house, does her own laundry,  sews a stitch and tends a garden.  Her skills are not out dated or old-fashioned.  She is just what we need for the now.  The new mom is self-sustaining.

Mother's household chores

My grandmother experienced the Great Depression.  She told me that those living in the country fared better than those in the cities because farm families were self-sustaining.  They had large gardens and kept livestock.  Grandmother made her own bricks of waxy-yellow soap from lard and lye until I was in high school.  She kept chickens in the back yard of their small town bungalow into her 80’s.  Her garden supplied enough vegetables and fruit to keep her family well-fed all winter.  Canning jars filled her pantry.  Beautiful pies cooled on the counter and twin loaves of fresh bread sat on the table.

If another severe economic depression hits, how well do you think the average family will do today?  If modern conveniences are no longer available or so expensive they are out of reach, can typical housewives make do with the basics?  I want to do more than survive; I want to thrive.

1950's kitchen with mom and daughter

Modern conveniences are wonderful, but I don’t want to become dependent on them.  I was born in 1949 and remember when we purchased our first television.  After that, nothing was the same.  Our days were charted by favorite programs like Maverick and Ed Sullivan.  The test pattern buzzed on Saturday morning as we waited for The Lone Ranger and cartoons.

Are the Millennials tiring of hearing about how different it was in the 50’s?  I think we keep saying it because we aren’t sure just how stable things are now and we want the younger generation to be prepared.

How different is daily life from my middle class childhood?  When the first fast-food drive in opened in town, we thought it was a treat to buy 10 cent hamburgers and French fries in little paper pockets.  Now there are three or four fast food chains at every intersection. There were few restaurants other than in hotels or country clubs.  How things have changed.  On Friday evenings, my husband and I have a hard time deciding from a long list of eateries.  Rarely did families in the 50’s eat out; it was an extravagance.  It may be again.

b4ca89b50e36c964e744cafee6c6ec2bWhite apronWell, if the good times quit rolling, I’ll don the apron and follow in grandma’s footsteps as best I can.   Challenges make us stronger.  I think common sense and creativity will also go a long way.  The old adage is still true:  Use it up. Wear it out.  Make it do.  Do without….or make it yourself.



About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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