Saturday, May 13th 1995 was fast approaching and I was running out of time. I had a deadline! My daughter Amy’s best friend Joanne was getting married in Alliston Ontario on that day and I needed to prepare a speech to help the couple to be launch a successful marriage. I was stumped for words which for me is rare.
I resorted to asking my coworkers for ideas. A woman whose name I can’t remember came into work the next day with a Home Economics text book from the 1950’s. She loaned the book to me suggesting I consider writing a speech on “How to be a good wife” I excerpted the following from the book.
HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE
Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before to have a delicious meal on table. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
Prepare yourself. Take fifteen minutes to rest so that you wi1l be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking He has been with a lot of work weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.
Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip around the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.
Prepare the children . Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.
Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him.
Some don’ts. Don’t greet him with problems and complaints. Don’t complain if he is late for dinner . Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest that he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.
Listen to him. You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first. Make the evening his. Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other pleasant entertainment. Instead try understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to unwind and relax.
The goal. Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax in body and spirit.
I simple read the text from the book without revision and presented it as advice to the young bride. The “speech” was received well and received gales of laughter.
One of the side notes to the speech is that several of the older women at the reception came up to me afterwards and explained that this is what they had been taught as young women oh so many years ago.
My comment today is. What happened to the good old days when men were men and women weren’t trying to be?
As a further aside. I went back and checked the usenet groups of yesteryear and found my posting to “rec.humor” in May of 1995.